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January 12, 2023

Crossfit Open 23.1 Workout Description, Strategies and How to Prepare

Written by Julien Raby

Update: The 23.1 Crossfit open workout is now live!

Here’s the workout that was released on 2/16/2023:

Complete as many reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

  • 60-calorie row
  • 50 toes-to-bars
  • 40 wall-ball shots
  • 30 cleans
  • 20 muscle-ups

 14-lb ball to 9-ft target, 95-lb cleans

20-lb ball to 10-ft target, 135-lb cleans

CrossFit Open 23.1 Strategy

Here are some tips to get the best time possible on CrossFit Open workout 23.1.

The Row Is Your “Cash In”

Saving 10 or 15 seconds on the row is not worth it. Especially if you push into the red. Simply aim to pull one calorie per stroke.

Unless you’re a world-class rower, 60 calories is going to take over 3 minutes no matter how you spin it. If you push it too hard, you’ll put yourself in a hole that’s hard to come back from. It’s a 14-minute workout, so don’t rush, but don’t take your time, either. 

Break the toes to bar early

50 ttb is a lot, and in my opinion, the trap of this workout. Unless you can do 40+ unbroken when fresh, break them early. Personally, I’ll go with quick sets of 5.

Steady Your Breath on Wall Balls

It’s hard to get your heart rate down during toes to bar because of the contraction of your abdominal muscles. You’ll likely go into wall balls feeling a little gassed with tight forearms and shoulders, but muscle through them anyway. Aim to smooth and steady out your breathing while you work through the wall ball shots. Ideally, do them unbroken or in big sets. Don’t waste time here.

Drop Your Cleans

Disclaimer: if you’re insanely strong, this might not apply.

For most athletes, doing quick singles will save your grip and keep your heart rate down. Yes, you’ll lose a few seconds. No, cleans and muscle ups don’t fatigue the same muscles. But if you can’t hold the rings because you blew your forearms out, stringing together MUs is going to be impossible.

If you think getting into the second round is possible for you, dropping the bar might not be an option. If you’re aiming to get as far through the muscle ups as you can, it’s probably a good idea.

Keep Chalk Close

Place chalk a few feet away, ideally somewhere you don’t have to bend over or climb around objects to get to. You’ll likely need to re-chalk a few times, so having it handy will save a few seconds.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Tips

Here are a few other tips to help maximize your score:

  • Place the rower next to a wall and pull-up bar, so you never have to take more than 1 or 2 steps to transition exercises.
  • Wear hand grips and simply take them off (but keep them on your wrists) if you don’t want to wear them for a movement. 
  • Keep your muscles loose during the row and wall balls. The tenser you are, the more energy you will waste.
  • Set a “chunk” goal before the workout for each movement. Aim to stick to it as best you can.
    • Toes to bar in chunks of 10 or 15
    • Wall balls in 2 chunks of 20
    • Muscle ups in chunks of 2-3
  • If you make it to the second round, go for broke! Even a few extra row calories can move you up the scoreboards significantly.

Good luck on 23.1! Check back next week for updates to our other workouts.

Here’s our original article and our prediction (which was fairly accurate by the way 🙂 )

CrossFit Games Season is upon us! With the 23.1 workout being released in just a little over a month and CrossFit athletes all over the country putting the final touches on their training, we decided to put together a guide to help athletes and CrossFit affiliates prepare for the upcoming competition.

Here’s our prediction for—and what you need to know about—CrossFit Open workout 23.1.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Workout Prediction

Let’s start with the fitness workout prediction and then break it down as we go. Here’s ours:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

  • 6 Strict Handstand Push-ups*
  • 9 Toes to Bar
  • 12 Calories (Rower)

*Strict HSPU will be RX. The scaled version of the workout will include either kipping HSPU or push-ups off a standard bench press bench. Knees to elbows will be a proper sub for both the Scaled and Foundations version of this Open workout 23.1 prediction.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Clues

Keep an eye out on the CrossFit Games Instagram page for more clues. Last year, they dropped hints a few weeks ahead of time, including a Wordle-type puzzle for Open workout 22.1

Below we break down some clues about the workout and our rationale for the movement/format of 23.1.

Rationale for HSPU

Let’s start with our boldest prediction for the WOD. The last two seasons, the first CrossFit Open workout has included wall walks. CFHQ likes to toss out a difficult-but-doable gymnastics movement in the opening frame—likely to both separate the competition and encourage people to go for a PR. Super difficult movements typically come later, as a goose egg score during the first week isn’t really motivating.

That’s likely why HSPU have never been on week one. But that could change.

The competition gets tighter every year, and with the new format, there is only a three week period to find out who deserves to advance. There’s every chance that they could throw us straight into the fire, and HSPU would be a nice, logical step up from wall walks.

The RX version of the workout will include strict HSPU both for scoring purposes and because it’s a relatively low-rep set.

Rationale for Toes to Bar

Look at the history of the CrossFit Open, and you’ll see that four movements have been used in the double digits:

  • Toes to Bars
  • Double Unders
  • Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
  • Thrusters

Toes to bar have never not been a part of the CrossFit Open. They’ve been part of the competition eleven times. It makes sense, as you only need a pull-up bar and they are a great “separator” exercise for people who can’t string together reps under fatigue.

Toes to bar are a good complement to HSPU and will get two core gymnastics movements out of the way, opening the door for a potentially barbell-heavy week two.

Rationale for Calorie Row

With this prediction CrossFit WOD, it’s going to be hard to get a good score if you struggle with gymnastics. The row will balance things out with a bit of cardio but also give athletes with moderate strength and fitness levels time to recover for the next set of handstand push-ups.

We saw a pretty similar opening workout in 2018 that included toes to bar and rowing. (Continued below.)

Rationale for 15 Min-AMRAP

You have to go all the way back to 2018 to find an opening workout that wasn’t AMRAP 15 or time capped at 15 minutes. (By the way, that year the opening workout had toes to bar and calorie row in it, too.) So generally speaking, we feel pretty good saying the opening workout for CrossFit season will be a longer-ish metcon.

Historically, the opening workout has consisted of either two or three movements. 15.1 and 15.1a (performed together) was the last time more than three movements were used in the opening fitness workout.

That’s our prediction. We’ll see!

Crossfit Open 23.1 Announcement

The CrossFit Games season officially begins on February 16, 2023. Workouts are announced on Thursday and athletes have until Monday at 5pm to submit their scores.

If your affiliate doesn’t submit your scores by the deadline, there is no way to add your score back into the database. So if you want to do the workout multiple times to attempt the best score, it’s best to save the date for the announcement and plan to do your first workout that night! Here is a complete 2023 CrossFit Games guide about important dates, submission, age groups, registration and how to prepare.

Crossfit Open 23.1 Scaled

There are scaling options available for the community if the RX workouts aren’t an option given your fitness level. Last year, Adrian Bozman at CrossFit HQ released the “three tiers” to help athletes decide if they should go RX or scale the workout. Watch below:

Crossfit Open 23.1 Equipment List

Per usual, you’ll need access to most of the basic equipment you need to do the CrossFit Open. A jump rope, pull-up bar, barbell, dumbbells, box, wallball, and a wall are all likely going to be necessary to do the three workouts.

This year, you’ll have to train at a CrossFit affiliate for your scores to be validated. Submitting from home with a video is no longer an option, according to the NOBULL CrossFit Games Rulebook for 2023.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Strategy

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what the real workout is. But here’s a short breakdown of how you might tackle this prediction workout to help get the strategy juices flowing for February.

Here’s the WOD:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

And here’s how we’d set it up to get the best score:

1. Set Up Your Equipment to Maximize Flow

Transitions in this workout have to be lightning quick if you want to do well. The top score in the opening workout last year’s triplet by Victor Ljungdal was 390 reps. At 30 reps per round, Victor had to transition between movements a whopping 39 times during the workout.

Each round took him approximately 1:09. Had he transitioned a second slower than is absolutely necessary, he might have lost more than half a round on his score—which would have put him in third place.

Had he transitioned two seconds slower than necessary, he wouldn’t have even cracked the top ten. Move quickly and efficiently between movements!

2. Plan Your Strategy Around HSPU

Most Open workouts have a bottleneck exercise, and handstand push-ups are the bottleneck in this one. (Although you could argue the toes to bar might be a problem if you struggle with them.)

If you can’t hit six strict HSPU with ease—or know that you can do that once or twice, then will be resigned to single reps—break the sets up right from the jump.

It’s far better to lose a few seconds in the early rounds saving your shoulders than it is waiting 20 to 30 seconds because you’re completely fried later on. Sets of 3 and 3 will work just fine.

3. Be Intentional About Rower Strokes

Most people will use the rower to rest, and they should. You should, too. But you still have to be smart.

Row a single calorie on every stroke. If you don’t know how to do that, practice until you know what wattage/calories per hour (and at which SPM speed) you have to hit to pull a calorie every stroke. It’s possible at varying fitness levels and speeds if you practice.

Do this and you will beat people just as fit as you who aimlessly pull the rower and waste time/strokes because each pull isn’t one calorie recorded.

4. Use Your 22.1 Score to Inform Your Strategy

Yes, we’re talking about an imaginary workout. But no matter what comes up for 23.1, there’s a solid chance the format has been done before, if not the movements as well. Hell, sometimes they repeat workouts. If you did the 2022 Open, look back at your score and reflect on what went well and where you can improve.

Go back through the entire database and run a few of those workouts now to get mentally prepared for the Open. It sure can’t hurt!

About Julien Raby

My name is Julien Raby and I’m one of the owner of BoxLife. Here’s my background on LinkedIn if you want more info. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 7 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!