CrossFit® Open 19.1: How to Finish Strong

February 22, 2019

Photocredit: WODprep


It’s here! The 2019 CrossFit Open is underway, with the first workout officially a very straightforward couplet. 19.1 is…

15-minute AMRAP
  • 19 Wall Balls (20/14 lbs) (Target 10’/9’)
  • 19 Calorie Row

While some of our shorter athletes might be out there shedding a few tears, fear not. Like all workouts, if you go into this with a strategic plan, you can tackle it. However, I won’t lie to you… this one is going to hurt just a little bit.

So before jumping into the workout, take some time to prepare yourself, and read through the following coaching pointers to ensure that you’re ready to take on 19.1 - Full full workout standards, visit

19.1 Strategy

The name of the game for this one is going to be pacing. While 15 minutes isn’t a lot of time across the span of your life, it can sure feel like a lot when it when it comes to the sport of CrossFit. Here are a few things to keep in mind:


Make sure that your rower is set up correctly ahead of time - it can’t hurt to practice your transition from the rower to your wall ball station. If you need to take a few seconds to breathe, don’t do it on the rower. Stand up, and head back to your wall ball station.

Workout Pacing:

This isn’t a workout you should just mosey on through. These 15 minutes are going to hurt a little bit, so set your mind right and start the workout with the plan of finishing at the same or even faster pace towards the end.

A good number to keep in mind is about 85% effort as a starting point, hold that for 12 minutes, then ramp up those last 2-3 minutes for a strong finish.

WOD Set-up:

It can’t hurt to try to get your rower near your wall ball target area to cut down on your transition time if gym space allows. When you are walking through your 19.1 movements, use chalk and mark on the floor where your feet should go for the wall balls. This will help you always head back to the exact same spot, and not stand too far away from the wall (or too close).  

19.1: The Movements

Wall Ball tips

  • Instead of keeping your hands up high for your entire set of wall balls, use a clearing stroke
    • Keep your squat natural - don’t shorten it, or try to do anything different than what you normally would.
    • Plan to keep your wall ball sets consistent. For example, 10/9 sets are way better than trying to go unbroken, burning out, and then having to drop too much smaller sets.  
    • If you struggle to get below parallel or tend to have squat issues, Olympic lifting shoes may be able to help you hit optimal squatting position.
    • If you feel yourself starting to burn out, trying jumping just slightly for each rep.
    Rowing tips
    • Find an ideal damper setting beforehand. If you know what drag factor is and want to find that, go for it. To keep it simple, I recommend rowing somewhere between 4 and 6, with women on the lower side.
    • Specifically for 19.1, think about keeping your hips ‘high’ as you sit on the rower. This will help make wall balls a bit easier.
    • Stroke should be this sequence: Knees, hips, arms
    • When finishing your pull, lean back just slightly - about 10 degrees. The row handle should be coming to just below your sternum, with extended knees, elbows in by your ribs.
    • Recovery should follow this sequence: Arms, hips, knees
    CrossFit Open 19.1: Masters
    Everyone's the same for this workout until we get to ages 55 and above. Here are your changes:
    • Men 55+: 20 lb wall ball, 9’ target*
    • Women 55+: 10 lb wall ball, 9’ foot target
    CrossFit Open 19.1: Scaled
    Again, everyone is going to be doing the same workout here, with a change in med ball weights.
    • Men: 14 lb wall ball, 10’ target
    • Women: 10 lb wall ball, 9’ target

    For full 19.1 workout standards and breakdown, check out the CrossFit website.

    Need to be brought up to speed on all of the changes made to the format of the 2019 CrossFit Games season? Check out this article.

    19.1: Full-Length Strategy Video here!

    Warm-up Recommendations:

    Sign up for WODprep’s Open Strategy Emails and you’ll get bonus warm-up and recovery videos delivered directly to your email inbox.

    This guest post from the CEO and Head Coach at WODprep, Ben is passionate about helping fitness athletes of all abilities get their competitive edge and learn new skills! He's currently living in Japan with his wife and two dogs, and whenever possible the two love to travel and explore new places around the world (and meet new WODprep athletes).