March 25, 2021
Nicole Carroll's Tips for Open Workouts 21.3 and 21.4

Here we are: the final workout (or is it workouts?) of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Open. 

Create a solid game plan and stick to it. 

Focus on how you’ll minimize rest during 21.3, and how you can prevent wasting time and having to make too many decisions during 21.4.  

Success in this one starts with the warm-up.

You’re going to go from light load and metabolic stress immediately into a heavy lift. You have to prepare for this in the warm-up. 

Get a feel for the lifting complex and grease the groove — especially for the clean and jerk. Warm up squat cleans, power cleans, and whatever kind of jerk you’ll be using in the workout. 

At a minimum, during the warm-up, you should hit the heaviest weight that you are 100 percent confident you can hit in the workout. 

You should set up for at least three lifts: 

  • One weight you can definitely hit.
  • One weight that is challenging but doable.
  • One weight that is a stretch, but you’ve got it on a good day, and maybe, just maybe, the magic of the Open will carry you through. 

Organize all your change plates and set them up nearby before you start.


The 1-minute rest allows you to catch your breath a bit in this one, but it is not long enough for a full recovery, so you’ll be managing your breathing throughout. In the face of this, you want to minimize total rest on the transitions and the movements. 

The front squats come right after the rest, and the thrusters are right before the rest so, unless this weight is heavy for you, mentally push through both and potentially go unbroken. 

The gymnastics movements are where most of us will need to be smart. The reps add up, and increase in complexity and strength demand. Unless you’re a gymnastics ninja, I recommend using small sets with short rests right out of the gate versus pushing into a deficit with big sets that could force longer rests as the workout progresses. 

For many, the workout will be over on the bar muscle-ups. Others will work to chip away at as many bar muscle-ups as they can within the time cap. If you get through the bar muscle-ups, push through that last set of thrusters because you may have some time to recover before you need to hit your first lift.  


When you get to 21.4, all of the muscles and movement patterns you will need for the lifting complex will be taxed and you will be breathing really, really hard.

I had to rest about 2:30 before my first lift and was still able to get three attempts in. By my second attempt, I started recovering a bit and felt good enough to go for it on the third attempt. 

I strongly recommend a power clean for the first clean, and a squat clean for the hang clean. If you have a split jerk, use it.  

This is the final workout of the 2021 Open and it’s a doozie! Give this one everything you’ve got! Thank you for joining us this year. 

Go get ‘em and good luck!