15.3 Crossfit Open Workout Strategies and Tips

Well we all knew it was coming but we weren’t sure how it was going to be unveiled…….MUSCLE UPS!!!!!  I think everyone could have guessed that when they were going to show up, they would be at the start of the workout.  I know that I have been hearing that around quite a bit lately.

For those of you that don’t have your Muscle Up yet, today just might be the day!!!  When else will you sit and fight for 14 minutes to get that beloved “1st MUSCLE UP!”.  So I say GO FOR IT!!!  If you don’t get it, then you can always do the scaled later and you haven’t lost anything.

We have seen these three movements together before (the ol’ 13.3 repeated workout) and even though the first thing everyone is thinking about are the Muscle Ups, the meat of this workout is the Wall Balls.  I’ll explain below……..

15.3……. the Workout:

14 minute AMRAP:

  • 7 reps Muscle Ups
  • 50 reps Wall Balls (20/14# @ 10/9′)
  • 100 reps Double Unders



We all know what our legs feel like after we do Karen (150 Wall Balls) and this is just a broken up version of that.  I’d say to get a compression band on you upper quad, high up into your hip and do some squats and the Samson Stretch/Couch Stretch.  You want to open that hip up so that you can drop down into that bottom squat position and not flog your low back.


Work a LaCross ball into your Rear Delt and Rhomboids.  This will allow for a more comfortable position with your arms during the Wall Balls and will hopefully take the stress off your shoulders during the Muscle Ups.  I would also use a compression band on your shoulder and work the internal and external rotation.  This will free up the shoulder so that you aren’t fighting any of your own tightness in the Double Unders and will allow for a better external position coming out of the dip.


Use a Compression Band and a LaCross Ball on your Upper and Lower Calves, Ankles and even the Anterior Tibialus (your front shin muscle).  This will help with the bounding in the Doubles.  You want to keep your quads out of the mix for the Doubles.


Muscle Ups:

You hopefully know by now what your maximum effort Muscle Up number is.  If you are up around 15-20, then you can afford to hit these unbroken.  If not, then you need to break them up.  You can get the first set unbroken since you are fresh, but after that, take the break.  The WORST THING YOU CAN DO is push to failure because then you are forced to wait for a long time to recover.  Even if you have to do singles, that may be better than trying to blast out 5, failing, then feeling the pressure to hurry and get it again and then failing again.  Don’t do it!

For those that do these unbroken, you are looking at about 30 seconds for this station.  If you break it up once then you are looking at 40-45 seconds.  If you break it up twice then you may be able to keep it around the same time because you are not fatigued.  Be VERY smart here.

You need to be able to start your swing from a full hang so if you can place a plate outside if the swing path then you can stand on then as you set your hands in whichever position you need (regular grip or false grip).  Once you set your hands, hang your feet and have straight arms then go for it.  Also, remember that you MUST go through a dip at the top.  They don’t want any of the MU’s when you kip right up into straight arms…….man I wish I could do that!!!

Wall Balls:

This will be the movement that will tax you more than either of the other three.  50 reps doesn’t sound like that many.  Ok well, it’s more than what we would want to do unbroken if we didn’t have to, so the object here is to work just long enough so that you are not CRUSHING yourself for the rest of the movements.

For the taller athletes, take a wider base so that when you drop into the bottom of the squat you stop right at parallel.  No sense traveling more distance that you need to.  For the shorter athletes, some of you may need to jump so make sure your feet are positioned to be in a good launching position out of the bottom.

For everyone, don’t make the wall ball heavier than it needs to be.  What I mean by this is catch the wall ball while you are standing rather than dropping to the bottom of the squat as you catch it.  The further the ball travels, the heavier it gets.  You can control the squat if you do it from a stop.  It will be just a touch slower but you should be able to get more reps out if it and be less tired.

Think about a smart break up number so that you can keep the rest time down.  You don’t want to get the heart rate up too high for too long.  Think 25/15/10, or 35/15, or even 10/10/10/10/10 if you can keep the rest to 5 seconds.  Figure each rep will be about 2 seconds or so.  Do the math before you go!

Double Unders:

YOU MUST STAY RELAXED!!!!  If you get too tight on these, you will crush your shoulders.  Stay relaxed.  Stay standing tall.  Use your calves to rebound and try to stay off your quads.  If you can hit 100 no problem, then this is your active rest station.  If you hit 50 regularly, then maybe take a break and reset at 50 to take the tension off.  If 30 is your number then take your breaks there.

These can get in your head if you aren’t careful.  No matter what happens, stay relaxed.  Take a second to close your eyes and take a breath.  Break the cycle of missed reps by forgetting about the misses and just relaxing.

And there you have it!  Once again, there is HUGE pacing component to this workout.  Be sure that you set that pace, not the leader board, not your training partner, not the crowd around you.  You heard both Julie Foucher and Lauren Brooks say that if they could have changed anything, it would have been to follow their own plan and not get lead into another person’s race.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!!  GO CRUSH IT!!!!  Oh and if your hands haven’t healed up yet from the pull-ups, give yourself an extra day! 🙂