18.2: Heavy Lifting, Open Style

You get two workouts in 12 minutes—18.2 and 18.2a—for the price of one!

Open Workout 18.2 starts with an ascending ladder of dumbbell front squats and bar-facing burpees that combine into a nastier-than-it-looks little couplet. The workout ends with 18.2a, a separately scored heavy barbell clean, the heaviest you can get with your remaining time.

After a short general warm-up, focus on the clean. Start with some PVC progressions, working into empty-barbell drills. Keep an eye on the CrossFit Training Instagram feed, as there will be a post with an option for a warm-up progression.

Build up to your opening lift and maybe even a little beyond. Concentrate on moving well. Don’t just go through the motions! The first clean after the couplet will feel heavier than it did during your warm-up—trust me on this! This means you should open with the heaviest load that you are confident you can hit successfully.

Practice a few rounds of the couplet to get your footwork organized and find a nice tight setup for the dumbbells and barbell. My setup was so-so, and I will look to finesse it for my redo.

Also, have all your weights laid out in advance for your anticipated clean attempts. You should even ensure that you have the appropriate change plates available for last-minute fine-tuning or that extra little bonus in case you get into it and surprise yourself.

Executing the Couplet
For pacing, I recommend maintaining a deliberate pace through the beginning rounds and then trying to increase momentum in rounds 6 through 10. Smooth and crisp transitions, especially during the early low-rep rounds, are key. And be sure to mentally prepare for things to get harder as you progress. This is absolutely one of those workouts you look at and think, “Hmm, not too bad,” and then you’re surprised by its bite.

For the front squats, clean the dumbbells up to the shoulders, but remember not to shortchange the initial full hip extension. You must start every rep from full extension at the top and then pass below parallel before standing back up fully. The faster you go, the more these will start to burn, especially in the later rounds. Stay steady anyway, and do your damnedest not to break them up.

Side note: I fooled around too much with the dumbbells on my shoulders, gripping and un-gripping. Grip is a minimal factor with this workout, so don’t worry too much about saving it. Just grab the dumbbells in a way that is expedient and comfortable.

About the burpees: There’s a new burpee standard for Rx’d athletes. You must do a two-footed jump back and a two-footed jump forward. These cannot look like lunges or lunge jumps, and the days of stepping into or out of the burpee are over. As per usual, the jump over the bar is also a two-footed jump.

Fundamentally, you’re trying to get the couplet finished in as little time as possible to: 1. Leave yourself time to recover for the cleans. 2. Get a great score. The couplet is scored independently and is a tiebreak in the likely event that you clean the same weight as another athlete.

But of course devastating yourself on the couplet is not smart. You do not want to be forced to take excess recovery and limit the time you need to get your best clean. This is the crux of the challenge in this workout.

The Clean
Your strategy for the clean will be determined, in large part, by how much time you anticipate having left after the couplet and how heavy you want to go.

Be sure you have a set load in mind that you would like to post for your score. If you know your PR, anticipate hitting that. Even have the change plates available for a bump up from there. Why not, right? Every year we amaze ourselves with our performances during the Open—be ready to amaze yourself!

Of note: The first lift following the couplet was noticeably harder than the heavier second lift. Because of this, I think making a slightly larger jump on the second lift could be smart, especially if you’re limited on time and might only get two or three lifts. My first lift was 165 lb., and my second was 170. Next time I will try a 10-lb. jump—from 165 lb. to 175—and likely be fine.


Workout 18.2

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 reps for time of:
Dumbbell squats
Bar-facing burpees

Men use 50-lb. dumbbells

WOMEN 35 lb Dumbells

Workout 18.2a

1-rep-max clean

Time cap: 12 minutes to complete 18.2 AND 18.2a

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