14 Tips To Get Your Best CrossFit Open Score – Part 1

With the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games Open upon us, we thought it would be good to give you some pointers to help you get the best score that you can.  Who better to give those tips than our very own 2x CrossFit Games competitor, Coach Perry.

Here’s a few thoughts that might help you get your best result – and don’t worry, none of these tips require more volume or intensity in your current training.

Strive for Zero Transitions 

A sure-fire way to improve your score.  You can strategize how to attack a set of wall balls or toes-to-bar, but how about actively planning for the transitions between those movements?  Reviewing video is really eye-opening.  It is truly stunning how much time is wasted by being lazy on a movement transition.  Many of my Open workout re-dos feature reducing transition times more than attacking the actual work differently.

A great example of how transitions really matter: 2016 Master’s Qualifier Event 3:


55 Double-Unders

15 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups

5  Hang Power Cleans 155#

At roughly 6 rounds of work, this workout contained 15 different transitions between movements.  Being a bit slow (say 2 seconds wasted) per transition results in about 30 seconds of idle time.  Think of how many reps, especially of DU’s, could be gained in that time.  The plan was to stay consistent with purposeful, tight transitions, between the 3 movements.  That WOD turned out to be my best Qualifier result for that particular year, even though I did all (90) C2Bs and the Hang Power Cleans as singles.

Carefully think through the equipment set-up.  For three different movements, you should form the smallest “triangle” possible, minimizing walking around time.  Just getting started on the next movement will give you a mental boost as well, even if you need to break up the work.

Fast Singles Are Your Friend

The example of that 2016 Masters Qualifier workout brings up another important tip – “Fast Singles are Your Friend”.  This works especially well for longer time domains.  Workouts with big chunks of bar movements like C2B, pull-ups, toes-to-bar, and even muscle ups come to mind here.  You know at some point you just are not going to be able to string together even small sets of reps – that’s ok, just go to fast singles.  Staying in motion = knocking out reps.

This tip has saved me over the years in many workouts.  If I can keep moving (and NOT stand around looking at the bar), things will work out just fine.  So the next time you are faced with a set of 50 toes-to-bar or 30 chest to bars, break up those reps into small sets early, and anticipate knocking out the last dozen or so reps as fast singles.

Small Sets and Helpful Mind Tricks

To this day I perform wall balls counting in my mind up to 5.  So 25 wall balls is 1,2,3,4,5, five times, even though I’m not stopping the work.  I’m tricking myself into doing “mini sets” of 5 wall balls, which just sounds easy.  Try this next time you have wall balls in a WOD.

In this same category is taking advantage of the Concept 2 Rower’s countdown capability for meters, when possible.  It sure is nice seeing that work melt away to zero.  Just ask one of the coaches how to set up this screen on the rower to try it for yourself.

Pace Yourself, Grasshopper

It goes without saying that you should try to avoid the typical mistake of starting a workout on fire, usually with a big first set of reps, only to inevitably crash and burn later.  This is easy to do as adrenaline is always high for an Open workout, and you probably watched a Games Athlete already crank out an amazing score on the live-cast.

So it takes some discipline and a little preplanning to get of to a smart, reasonable first few minutes of work.  I promise you will finish stronger and end up with a better score if you are careful with the start.  By the way, after countless competitive workouts, including in training, I still manage to fall victim to this “rookie” mistake!

Video training sessions and competitive WODs

Arguably the most important tip, since it applies to any training session, not just an Open WOD.  Range of motion, transition times, body language, it’s all there for you to evaluate.  All serious athletes across a wide range of sports make use of video analysis, and CrossFit is no different.

As you go and attack your next workout, keep these tips in mind and try to put some of them to use.