15.1 – Tips and Performance

Posted by Ben Quinney on

It seems like only yesterday the 2014 CrossFit Games took over our lives for 5 days as we saw Rich Froning and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet lay claim to the throne of Fittest on Earth. Now, the 2015 Open season is here, and what a way to kick it all off! 15.1 has thrown a spanner in to the works that no one could have anticipated that has made me especially excited about this year’s Open. 

For most of us, this is what we’ve been training for over the past 12 months – the opportunity to throw down with the rest of the world and measure up against the best. For some of us, this is our first rodeo and we don’t really know what to expect or how we should approach each Open workout. For others, we’ve been here before… strategizing, seeing what others are posting, and waiting before we attempt the workout. Whether you’re a complete newbie to the CrossFit Open, or a season veteran, I’m here to share a few tips to maximise your score and jump a few spots on the leaderboard.

Warm Up

The shorter the workout, the longer the warm up. Take this approach in to every training session you do from here on out. A 9-minute workout means your warm up should take AT LEAST 20-minutes, but ideally 30. Mobilise and activate your muscles, get your heart rate up, and practise perfect movement patterns. Here is my recommended warm up to hit before tackling 15.1.


3x8 Banded Crab Walks
3x12 Banded Good Mornings
3x12 Broomstick Dislocates
3x15 Banded Face Pulls
3x10 Broomstick Behind The Neck Press

Increase Heart Rate

Row or AirDyne for 5-minutes, at an RPE of 6/10.

Practise Movement Patterns

2 rounds at an easy pace:

3x5 Knees To Elbows (rest 10-seconds b/w sets) OR 10 Kip Swings
10 Romanian Deadlifts 35/25
5 Power Snatches 35/25

Then, work up to 75% of 1RM Clean + Jerk

Toes To Bar

This workout is make or break on the Toes To Bar. Break these bad boys up, and break them up early. You have no place going unbroken if by Round 3 you can’t string any more together. Saving your grip in this workout is ESSENTIAL! Choose a break down strategy that will allow you to rest no longer than 5 or so seconds between each set (8/7, 5/5/5). Know your limits and stick to your strategy! The Bodyweight Ninjas may be able to hit higher numbers at the start of the workout, but for the majority of people I’d recommend smaller sets from the get go.


The weight here shouldn’t be an issue for most of us. Alternate grip and go unbroken. Don’t lose sight of technique just because it’s light. Efficiency here is of utmost importance! Keep your back tight, use your hips, and keep your forearms relaxed! While 50/34kg may not be heavy, move sloppy and you’ll notice that it feels more than 50kg, your grip will breakdown (try to not break these deadlifts up!), and your lower back will begin to take the load which spells disaster for the Snatches and Clean and Jerk.


Power Snatches are obviously the way to go here. The weight is light enough to throw it around a bit, however, your strategy here will depend on your body type. Barbell Beasts are going to hit these unbroken relatively easily throughout the whole 9-minutes. If you’re a Ninja, look at breaking these up early as well to save your grip, especially because you’ve got Toes To Bar next. Hit sets of 3/2 early on, then move to fast singles if you’re chewing through too much energy to Touch ‘n Go the reps – drop the bar, then pick it straight back up.

Clean + Jerk

You should know your 1RM. You should have warmed up to at least 75% of that prior to starting the workout. You know you have 6-minutes so give yourself about 1-minute to relax, let your heart rate come down and focus on your next lift. Your first attempt should be about 80% of your 1RM and work from there. Aim for 4-5 lifts, with about 50 seconds of rest between each attempt. Will you PR? Probably not. But hey, if you’ve got a good score on the board already it’s always fun to try!

Conclusion and General Tips

9-minutes is going to be a sprint, but be calm during your transitions, allowing yourself to have no more than 6-7 seconds rest before you’re back on the bar. If you’re breaking reps up, stay calm but never give yourself any more than 10-seconds rest before getting back to work. Find your redline and stay just below that point – save some fuel for the final 2-minutes – that’s where the magic happens! Finally, kick it in the ass and remember that even though you’re measuring yourself against the rest of the world, it’s still just you versus you.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment