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February 26, 2016

CrossFit Open 16.1 Recap and Tips

Written by Damect Dominguez

The 2016 CrossFit Games season kicked off last night with the announcement of 16.1 at NorCal CrossFit in Santa Clara, California. In fact, Dave Castro (Director of the CrossFit Games), who normally accompanies the athletes at the live announcement in person, provided the details of the workout via video link from CrossFit Jotun in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As Games athletes Emily Abbott and Chyna Cho stood and listened, accompanied by CrossFitters Scott McCoy and Joanna Prado-Pacheco (two employees from Western Digital Corporation), Castro revealed the details of 16.1.


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 burpees
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 95 lb.

Women lunge 65 lb.

To the surprise of many, the first workout of the 2016 Open introduced a movement that has never been done in the Open: overhead walking lunges. The floor at NorCal CrossFit was taped in 5-ft increments to represent the starting point an athlete must return to if they were to drop the bar or miss a rep during their 25-ft lunge. Cho, Abbott and McCoy prepared themselves to perform the workout as prescribed, while Prado-Pacheco elected to perform the scaled option, which looks like this:

16.1 Scaled

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 burpees
25-ft. front rack walking lunge
8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 45 lb.

Women lunge 35 lb.

At the sound of, ‘3, 2, 1, GO!’, the athletes sprung into motion, and the 2016 Open was officially underway. Through the first 10 minutes, Cho and Abbott matched each other rep for rep, as Prado-Pacheco and McCoy battled valiantly on. But then, Cho missed a lunge, asher knee failed to make contact with the ground. Cho had to return to the start of the 5-ft increment, and the door was open for Abbott to take advantage. And take advantage she did, as the former collegiate basketball player continued to chip away at the workload with a steady yet consistent pace. It wasn’t until the 15-minute mark that we started to see signs of fatigue in Cho and Abbott, who began to break up their chest-to-bar pull-ups and spend more time resting between lunges and burpees. As the clock approached the 20-minute mark, all the athletes on the floor made a huge effort to accrue as many reps as they could. As time expired, all the athletes collapsed to the floor as the fans in attendance cheered their names.

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16.1 Live Announcement Results:
Abbott: 290 reps
Cho: 279 reps
McCoy: 143 reps
Prado-Pacheco: 162 reps (scaled)

During the cool down show, CrossFit’s partner Airrosti announced that any affiliate owner and coaches can receive treatment at no cost. Log on to to find out more information on their new program.

Rules to be aware of
The CrossFit Games site states that “prior to starting this workout, each athlete will need to mark a starting point on the floor, measure out 25 feet and make another mark on the floor at the finishing point. Additionally, intermediate marks must be made at every 5-foot interval, each of which represents 1 rep of the lunge.” Many athletes and coaches have already expressed concerns about the logistics of having 25-ft lanes in their box—especially those smaller affiliates located in cities where space is at a premium. Having athletes lunge for a distance instead of in one spot makes the workout more balanced, as taller athletes will struggle with the burpees and chest-to-bar pull-ups, but make up ground in the lunges. However, in the video submission standards for the workout, it states, “If the 25-foot lunge area cannot be seen in the frame, athletes will be permitted to lunge back and forth in a smaller area, so long as the 5-foot intervals can still be clearly seen.” That might alleviate some spacing problems, albeit that the athletes will have to turn every 5-ft and go back the other way until they lunge 25 total feet.

Each overhead lunge must start with the weight overhead, feet together, and the athlete standing tall. As they lunge, the trailing knee must make contact with the ground at the bottom of each lunge, and the weight must remain overhead for the duration of the rep. The rep ends with the weight still overhead, with the athlete standing tall with the hips and knees fully extended. You don’t have to stop with both feet together if you are looking to move straight into the next rep—but both legs must be fully extended before you step through at the top. Don’t forget, you have to alternate feet for each rep, and if you drop the bar, the bar comes into contact with the head or the body, or your knee fails to make contact with the ground, you have to start from the last 5-ft increment you crossed.

On the bar facing burpees, you must jump over the barbell from both feet and land on both feet. On the chest-to-bar pull-ups, the chest must clearly come into contact with the bar below the collarbone.

Tips for 16.1
-First and foremost, this is a long workout, so stay calm early and don’t burn out within the first 5 (or even 10) minutes. Find an appropriate pace that allows you to move the fastest, but rest the least. Don’t get rattled by what the athletes around you are doing—only you know what you’re capable of handling at different points in the workout, so there’s no use in abandoning your pace to try and match someone else’s only to find yourself gassed too early.

-If you know that you don’t have 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups fresh, than break them up right from round one. Your shoulders are going to take a beating in this workout, so you want to preserve them for as long as possible. Forcing yourself to string 8 C2Bs right off the bat could set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the workout if it’s not exactly a breeze for you. Besides, performing sets of 3, 2, 2 or 3,3,1 will only take a few extra seconds, but those extra seconds of rest will come in handy as time goes on.

-The lunges are key. Make sure you set the bar in the right position, which is going to be slightly (slightly) behind your head, shoulders blade squeezed together and pressing up into the bar to engage your traps to stabilize the bar. I’d advise clean and jerking the weight up every time, and using a grip that is slightly narrower than your snatch grip to save your shoulders from burning out too early. In addition, check your lunge stride. Obviously the wider the lunge the less steps you have to take to reach the 25-ft mark, but if you go too wide than that places more strain on your quads and hamstrings. Do a few practice rounds to find your optimal spacing that carries you right over the 25-ft mark every time. Finally, do whatever you can to not drop the bar once you start your lunges. The last thing you want is having to return to a 5-ft increment in the middle of this workout and literally retrace your steps.

-Burpee tip. Abbott employed a ‘step in step out’ approach to her burpees last night, which essentially means that every time she came off the ground, she’d land with one foot close to the bar, meaning that all she had to do was bring her other foot forward and jump. Compare that to Cho’s technique, which was to jump up with wide feet, take two small steps to the bar, then jump. It saves time and energy. Try to keep your chest low throughout as well—the only rules are that you make contact with your thighs and chest on the ground, and you jump and land with two feet.

-Minimize transition time by placing your bar as close to the pull-up bar as possible. Slow your pace in order to rest, not increase your transition time.

-Have fun! This is going to burn and will take some mental fortitude to stay in the game for the duration of the workout, but it’s the inaugural workout of the 2016 Open and you don’t want to start off on a bad foot by questioning your effort afterwards. It doesn’t always have to be fun, to be fun!

About Damect Dominguez

Co-founder of BoxLife Magazine. Author: Training Day: 400+ Workouts to Incorporate in Your Training.

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