2021 CrossFit OPEN Strategy Guide 21.3 & 21.4

25 Mar

21.3/ 21.4


For total time:

15 front squats

30 toes-to-bars

15 thrusters

Then, rest 1 minute before continuing with:

15 front squats

30 chest-to-bar pull-ups

15 thrusters

Then, rest 1 minute before continuing with:

15 front squats 

30 bar muscle-ups

15 thrusters 

Workout 21.4 begins immediately upon completing or reaching the time cap for 21.3.

Men- 95 lb. for the front squats and thrusters

Women- 65 lb. for the front squats and thrusters

Time cap: 15 min.


Complete the following complex for max load:

1 deadlift

1 clean

1 hang clean

1 jerk

Time begins immediately following the completion of 21.3.

Time cap: 7 min.

Top Scores


Scott Panchik 7:57

Spencer Panchik 8:26

Saxon Panchik 8:28


Scott Panchik- 311lbs

Spencer Panchik- 265lbs

Saxon Panchik- 295lbs

Equipment/Set-Up Considerations

Simple set up here, but you want to keep it clean. There's not a lot of room for strategy here, as it is required that the barbell be 8 feet from the rig’s vertical plane. Be sure to go over all standards for measuring those lines. Even though these are quick hits of all movements and you have 1:00 rest between segments to set up for the next, keep the chalk bucket between the pullup bar and barbell in case you need to chalk up in transitions.

In addition, you know that one pullup bar in the gym that you love because of the height or because it has that little extra grip? That’s where you gotta set up. Also, don't just think 30’s for gymnastics. It’s 90 total reps, do what you gotta do to keep all the skin on your hands. If you’re using 2 or 3 finger grips, keep them in there for the barbell movements. You don’t need to turnover the barbell so don't waste time sliding fingers in and out.

Keep in mind that 21.4 starts immediately after 21.3. Keep all your lifting gear close: shoes, wrist wraps, belt, etc. If you normally tape up your thumbs, do so before 21.3. Fractional plates could make a huge difference in the leaderboard. If you have them, use them. Load a pair of 1 pounders before adding any additional weights to give you a 2lbs advantage over most of the field. Think about the weights that you want to hit beforehand and what combinations you need to make it happen. It's a lot tougher to add and subtract when you’re breathing hard!


General Warmup:

5 rounds @ warm up pace:

300m Row or 600m AB

10 Air Squats

50 Single Unders

5 T2B

Specific Prep:

10 min clock:

1 Deadlift

1 Clean

1 Hang Clean

1 Jerk

*Build to around 85-90% of the load you want to hit during 21.4

*no fails here; keep it clean 

*If you’re going to do power cleans, perform them here as well, if not stick to squat cleans

*These are the SAME as last week

 12 sec AB @ 97% / Hard Effort

-rest 3-4 min-

15 sec AB @ 95% / Hard Effort

-rest 3-5 min-

20 sec AB @ 92% / Tough Effort

-rest as needed-

*You want to get lactate circulating in the blood, so it should feel a little uncomfortable but able to perform all sets. DON’T blow it out. HARD, but not all out.

*Be smart here

2-3 sets @ game pace:

8 FS @ 65/95#

4-6 T2B/C2B/BMU*

8 Thrusters @ 65/95#

-rest 2-3 min-

*For the middle portion, pick whichever movement you want to practice beforehand

*Get a few touches here to practice the sequence of movements and practice the speed/cadence you want to hold during the workout

-rest as needed after you are done before moving on to the workout


  • Two part piece here with very different demands in fueling and energy systems. Those first 3 rounds are likely to require 1:00-2:00 of hard work. Even though there’s time in between them, 1:00 is not nearly enough to recover from high efforts for 1:00-2:00 durations. 21.3 will put you in a highly glycolytic state. Last few weeks we’ve recommended coming into the workouts in a fasted state, that’s even important this week. So definitely allow for 3-4 hours after your last meal before you hit this and make that primarily carbohydrates and lean protein. An easily digestible simple carbohydrate snack 30 minutes prior to warming up is also advised.
    Now, there’s room for strategy intra workout here. If you have an electrolyte or BCAA supplement that you are used to using, you’ll want to have it nearby. In the 1:00 rest between the first 3 sets as well as while you set up for 21.4, you may want to take a sip of that mix. A sip will be enough, as what we want is for the brain to register the sweet taste of it and signal for continued usage of blood glucose. A viable option for this is a sports drink diluted in water. 4 parts water to 1 part Gatorade will do the trick.


Without a doubt the biggest factor to determine strategy will be your proficiency in these gymnastics movements. As mentioned above, think 90 reps and realize that they get more complex every round. Grip will get taxed and you’ll need it for 21.4. The very elite will not be breaking much here. But for most, it’ll come down to strategizing the gymnastics movements and being disciplined and patient in the rounds of TTB and C2B to set yourself up for the bMU. That being said, for those who don’t expect to be hitting any bMU, you’ll want to get more aggressive up front considering fewer reps and a longer transition time between 21.3 and 21.4. The barbell will likely feel light, though reps will accumulate by that 3rd round. You definitely want to push a little here as far as hanging on to the barbell but you may want to pace those reps a little bit to regulate metabolic fatigue.

If there’s one thing that we learned from 15.1A it’s that weights feel a lot heavier after a heavy breathing piece that taxes grip. Plan for this by hitting an initial attempt at a light weight to get into your lifting groove. Something in the ballpark of 70-75% will get things rolling. Hit this first lift no more than 3:00 after completing 21.3. This weight will feel heavier than it usually does, but don't get intimidated by that. Plan for your second lift to be at the heaviest weight possible that you are 100% certain you will not miss. This will set you up nicely with a good score and should provide for enough time for a third attempt at a higher, riskier weight. Based on what we saw from the Panchiks, 85-90% of your max C&J is a solid number for the complex.

Re-Do Considerations

Repetition volume and loading here is what we’ve come to expect from the CF Open. Assuming you have prepared correctly for it, there should be no problem in taking two shots at this one. However, you’ll want to keep your hands in good shape to allow for this. Also, this is now the third and final week. Where do you sit on the leaderboard? Do you absolutely need to repeat to advance? If you feel like you’ve secured your spot in quarterfinals, it’s wise to pull back and avoid the extra intensity hit to put yourself in a good spot for the next phase. As noted in the strategy section, you want to plan 21.4 accordingly so that you secure a weight that you consider solid for yourself before swinging for a home run. That will make the decision to re-do a lot easier.

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