CrossFit Open 20.2 Strategy Guide

OPEN 20.2

Hey guys, welcome to week two of the Open! Hopefully everyone had a chance to complete 20.1 once or twice and walk away proud of their results. If you learned a thing or two about your ability to pace, 20.2 is the time to apply it!

For this workout we are looking at 20 minutes to complete as many rounds as possible of dumbbell thrusters, toes-to-bar, and double-unders. This is a very aerobic, grip intensive workout that will tax the core and require a steady pace.


  • 4 Dumbbell Thrusters (50/35)
  • 6 Toes-to-Bar
  • 24 Double-unders



Just as many athletes were hoping for something short and fast or heavy, Castro left us with no option but to get through 20 minutes of this AMRAP.  For advanced athletes, this is a pure test of conditioning. Others may find the double-unders and toes-to-bar technically challenging or run in to difficult with the weight of the dumbell thrusters. I spoke a lot about pacing last week, and 20.2 will require even more of a smooth and steady flow.




Dumbbell Thrusters


This movement is new to the Open and offers a nice alternative to the bar. Without resting the bar on your shoulders, the dumbbells should allow the chest to open up and proper breathing to occur.

The dumbbell weight will be heavy for many. Really try to use your hips to explode up out of the squat and shoot the weights to full lockout. Don’t waste time fatiguing the shoulders at the top but consider actively pulling the dumbbells down from the top once full extension of the knees, hips and arms is reached.

The dumbbells must begin on the floor at the start of each round. A squat clean into thruster in the first rep is permitted. Make sure your hip crease clearly passes below the bottom of the knees in the bottom position. Also, there is no re-dipping in the press (jerks) allowed.



Not a ton of reps per round here, but the cumulative grip and core fatigue will become taxing. I absolutely do not want to see any double kip dangles going on here. If you need to break them up, drop from the bar and quickly get back on it. I promise this is faster than flopping around, taxing your grip on the bar between reps.

On the first rep, ensure your feet are behind the bar to start.  If you like hand protection or need extra grip; choose one means of it. Grips and a taped bar together are NOT allowed in 20.2 but you may use either alone.



The key here is to remain calm and composed. It’s the same jumping speed as singles; you’re just spinning the rope faster. If double-unders aren’t your thing, consider breaking them into two sets, but try not to loose yourself and throw the rope across the room.  Regardless, set the rope down after each round with intent so it’s ready to go and not tangled up for the next round.

Check out these links for some great tips on DUs:

CFPB Double-under Tips!

WOD Prep Dominating Double-Unders!



If you are doing this early in the morning, it’s best to be done fasted. Make sure you get a solid meal with lean protein and complex carbs in the night before.


If you will be completing 20.2 later in the day, make sure you get a whole foods meal, including a small amount of lean protein and complex carbs, ideally 2-3 hours prior to your heat time.


Let’s start by getting the blood flowing throughout your body. I recommend 10-15 minutes of cardio at a steady pace that you could hold a conversation at. The rower is ideal, as it will promote and warm up hip extension, the leg drive needed for the thrusters and engage the lats for the TTB to come. Warming up the shoulder girdle, lats, legs and hips today will go a long way.



Grab a foam roller and lacrosse ball. Spend some time on your lats, shoulder girdle and rolling out your arches with the ball.

Next let’s get the shoulder girdle open. Start with PVC dislocates: 10 pass-throughs overhand, 10 underhand. Spend some time doing weighted arm circles with a light weight change plate as well.

Head over to the pull up bar and try 2×15 seconds of dead hang, then 2×10 scap pull ups, and lastly a set of 5-10 kip swings. It’s important to not spend too much time hanging on the bar and over tax your grip in the warmup.


Your upper body should be feeling better; on to the the lower.  Perform some walking groiner stretches, glute bridges, banded hip stretches. Try a couple sets alternating between heal walks and toe walks to really loosen up the calves and achilles.  

Sit in the bottom of a squat with a kettlebell and drive your knees out to open the hips. Next shift your weight on to the toes and stretch out the ankles and calves.

Some explosive hip drills should be performed as well. Perform two rounds of 5 each: tuck jumps, broad jumps, high jumps and squat jumps.

A couple sets of lightweight narrow grip overhead squats will also help create extra space and mobility in the shoulders and warm up the legs.

At this point you should be ready to jump into a few warm up rounds of 20.2, BUT FIRST I recommend taking about 10 minutes to build up to a heavy single squat clean thruster. This will benefit you through CNS potentation by increasing muscle fiber recruitment, as well as boosting  neural excitation.  It’s important that we only excite the CNS here and not fatigue it or a reverse effect will take place.

It’s now time to get setup for 20.2 and run through a few practice rounds. With as many rounds as there are, it’s important to setup in a linear fashion and keep each movement only a few steps away.

Perform 2 rounds of 20.2, rest 2-3 minutes and complete 2 more rounds.  Practice the pace you think you can maintain for 20 minutes and note your practice splits. Think about a pace you would hold for Cindy or a 5k run.

This should have gotten your heart primed and pumping nicely.  Try to finish the warm up about 5 minutes prior to your heat time.




Remember to stay calm and move smoothly.  Settle into your pace and rhythm the first 5 minutes and keep moving. You don’t want to be deep in the pain cave with 15 minutes left. Be mindful of your transition times and resist tensing up.

I really hope everyone kills this one on their first try! If not, 20.2 is definitely repeatable, as CNS fatigue should be low to moderate.

Remember to stay positive and appreciate how far you’ve come!


Now crush it like no other!


-Nick Alexander

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