18.2 and 18.2A Strategy for a Higher Score

Whether you’ve already given it a shot, haven’t yet tried it or are already considering redoing it, these specific strategy tips will help you totally own Open workouts 18.2 and 18.2A.


Dumbbell Squats

crossfit open 18.2

First and foremost, remember you must lock out before beginning a rep. This means when you first pick up the dumbbells, you can’t ride them down to the bottom of the squat as a clean. Once they’re on your shoulders, start upright with straight legs before beginning. Otherwise, you risk a no-rep, and there’s no time for that.

There are a number of ways to hold the DBs on your shoulders, but here’s one thing we definitely suggest: tilt the dumbbells upward, so that more of the weight is falling back behind you. The reason for this is simple: the direction the weight is resting is the direction it will pull you toward. As you know, you want to keep your chest upright when you squat. This will help you breathe better, and it’s also safer. Therefore, you want the weight falling behind you, so it will pull you up. If this is uncomfortable for you, you should consider wearing wrist wraps for added support.

WODPrep offers another really helpful tip. “Keep a regular front rack full grip on the DBs in the beginning. Then switch to the ‘crease grip’ as the sets get longer,” they write on their blog. If you’re not yet familiar with the crease grip, they explain it in a recent YouTube video where they go over tips and strategy for the entire workout. (You can find the grip explanation specifically around 5:35.)



So many of us despise burpees; but we’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: burpees are awesome because half of the movement is falling down. Anyone can do that! Whatever you do, don’t. stop. moving. The worst thing you can do is stop.

Remember the new movement standards for burpees. If you’re doing this as Rx, you must keep your feet together — meaning they jump out at the same time, and jump back in at the same time. If you walk your feet out and in separately, this is considered scaled.

If you’re looking to do as little work as possible, remember to jump your feet back in as close to your hands as possible. This will make it easier to spring back up, and will also mean you don’t need to jump as far to get over the barbell.


Speaking of barbells, load yours with your starting weight. On that note, how do you even know what that weight is?! Noah Ohlsen started at around 60% of his one-rep max, so that’s one option. WODPrep offers more specifics. In their blog, they suggest warming up to around 80 or 90% of your 1RM before you start the workout. “We suggest hitting a weight heavier than your planned opening weight. Otherwise, your opening weight will feel overwhelming after the MetCon.” Whatever you work up to in your warm-up, they suggest taking your opening attempt at about 80 to 85% of that number.

Remember to be more modest with these numbers than you would otherwise. If you can regularly clean 90kg when you’re fresh, bear in mind you more than likely will not hit that after all those DB squats and burpees. Your legs will be too taxed. While the pros might add 20 pounds each jump, the rest of us should be more conservative. WODPrep makes a really good point here: “Don’t shy away from adding incremental (1lb / 2lb) plates. There will be A LOT of ties for lifts ending in a 0 or 5. Grab a slight edge by adding the smaller plates, chances are you won’t feel the difference.”

Lastly, protect your body! You will be fatigued and under stress. Talking to Ben Dziwulski, WODPrep’s founder, he said via email, “This is one of the few workouts where I recommend using a significant amount of workout gear to help you get a better score. Personally, I’ll be wearing Olympic lifting shoes, knee sleeves, and putting a belt on for the 1RM clean. If you’re not comfortable with wearing the OLY shoes for the burpees, then you can always change into them quickly after 18.2 as you get your heart rate down.”

We couldn’t agree more. Wearing gear — like a weightlifting belt and knee sleeves — will keep you safe and can easily add a few kilos to your lifts. As Ben mentioned, you might consider switching to weightlifting shoes if you have time. Otherwise, you can wear a versatile shoe that will get you through both workouts. And remember, you will always be rewarded for good form. Your cleans don’t need to be perfect, but the proper form will not only keep you safe, but you’ll lift more, too.

There’s so much to think about, and we want to make it easier. That’s why we collected everything you’ll need for 18.2 and 18.2A and put it all in one place. Shop with The WOD Life so you can get your best score yet! Express and international shipping available.

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