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Crossfit Open 23.1: Predictions, Date, How to Prepare

CrossFit Games Season is upon us! With the 23.1 workout being released in just a little over a month and CrossFit athletes all over the country putting the final touches on their training, we decided to put together a guide to help athletes and CrossFit affiliates prepare for the upcoming competition.

Here’s our prediction for—and what you need to know about—CrossFit Open workout 23.1.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Workout Prediction

Let’s start with the fitness workout prediction and then break it down as we go. Here’s ours:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

6 Strict Handstand Push-ups*

9 Toes to Bar

12 Calories (Rower)

*Strict HSPU will be RX. The scaled version of the workout will include either kipping HSPU or push-ups off a standard bench press bench. Knees to elbows will be a proper sub for both the Scaled and Foundations version of this Open workout 23.1 prediction.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Clues

Keep an eye out on the CrossFit Games Instagram page for more clues. Last year, they dropped hints a few weeks ahead of time, including a Wordle-type puzzle for Open workout 22.1

Below we break down some clues about the workout and our rationale for the movement/format of 23.1.

Rationale for HSPU

Let’s start with our boldest prediction for the WOD. The last two seasons, the first CrossFit Open workout has included wall walks. CFHQ likes to toss out a difficult-but-doable gymnastics movement in the opening frame—likely to both separate the competition and encourage people to go for a PR. Super difficult movements typically come later, as a goose egg score during the first week isn’t really motivating.

That’s likely why HSPU have never been on week one. But that could change.

The competition gets tighter every year, and with the new format, there is only a three week period to find out who deserves to advance. There’s every chance that they could throw us straight into the fire, and HSPU would be a nice, logical step up from wall walks.

The RX version of the workout will include strict HSPU both for scoring purposes and because it’s a relatively low-rep set.

Rationale for Toes to Bar

Look at the history of the CrossFit Open, and you’ll see that four movements have been used in the double digits:

Toes to Bars

Double Unders

Chest to Bar Pull-Ups


Toes to bar have never not been a part of the CrossFit Open. They’ve been part of the competition eleven times. It makes sense, as you only need a pull-up bar and they are a great “separator” exercise for people who can’t string together reps under fatigue.

Toes to bar are a good complement to HSPU and will get two core gymnastics movements out of the way, opening the door for a potentially barbell-heavy week two.

Rationale for Calorie Row

With this prediction CrossFit WOD, it’s going to be hard to get a good score if you struggle with gymnastics. The row will balance things out with a bit of cardio but also give athletes with moderate strength and fitness levels time to recover for the next set of handstand push-ups.

We saw a pretty similar opening workout in 2018 that included toes to bar and rowing. (Continued below.)

Rationale for 15 Min-AMRAP

You have to go all the way back to 2018 to find an opening workout that wasn’t AMRAP 15 or time capped at 15 minutes. (By the way, that year the opening workout had toes to bar and calorie row in it, too.) So generally speaking, we feel pretty good saying the opening workout for CrossFit season will be a longer-ish metcon.

Historically, the opening workout has consisted of either two or three movements. 15.1 and 15.1a (performed together) was the last time more than three movements were used in the opening fitness workout.

That’s our prediction. We’ll see!

Crossfit Open 23.1 Announcement

The CrossFit Games season officially begins on February 16, 2023. Workouts are announced on Thursday and athletes have until Monday at 5pm to submit their scores.

If your affiliate doesn’t submit your scores by the deadline, there is no way to add your score back into the database. So if you want to do the workout multiple times to attempt the best score, it’s best to save the date for the announcement and plan to do your first workout that night! Here is a complete 2023 CrossFit Games guide about important dates, submission, age groups, registration and how to prepare.

Crossfit Open 23.1 Scaled

There are scaling options available for the community if the RX workouts aren’t an option given your fitness level. Last year, Adrian Bozman at CrossFit HQ released the “three tiers” to help athletes decide if they should go RX or scale the workout. Watch below:

Crossfit Open 23.1 Equipment List

Per usual, you’ll need access to most of the basic equipment you need to do the CrossFit Open. A jump rope, pull-up bar, barbell, dumbbells, box, wallball, and a wall are all likely going to be necessary to do the three workouts.

This year, you’ll have to train at a CrossFit affiliate for your scores to be validated. Submitting from home with a video is no longer an option, according to the NOBULL CrossFit Games Rulebook for 2023.

CrossFit Open 23.1 Strategy

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what the real workout is. But here’s a short breakdown of how you might tackle this prediction workout to help get the strategy juices flowing for February.

Here’s the WOD:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

And here’s how we’d set it up to get the best score:

1. Set Up Your Equipment to Maximize Flow

Transitions in this workout have to be lightning quick if you want to do well. The top score in the opening workout last year’s triplet by Victor Ljungdal was 390 reps. At 30 reps per round, Victor had to transition between movements a whopping 39 times during the workout.

Each round took him approximately 1:09. Had he transitioned a second slower than is absolutely necessary, he might have lost more than half a round on his score—which would have put him in third place.

Had he transitioned two seconds slower than necessary, he wouldn’t have even cracked the top ten. Move quickly and efficiently between movements!

2. Plan Your Strategy Around HSPU

Most Open workouts have a bottleneck exercise, and handstand push-ups are the bottleneck in this one. (Although you could argue the toes to bar might be a problem if you struggle with them.)

If you can’t hit six strict HSPU with ease—or know that you can do that once or twice, then will be resigned to single reps—break the sets up right from the jump.

It’s far better to lose a few seconds in the early rounds saving your shoulders than it is waiting 20 to 30 seconds because you’re completely fried later on. Sets of 3 and 3 will work just fine.

3. Be Intentional About Rower Strokes

Most people will use the rower to rest, and they should. You should, too. But you still have to be smart.

Row a single calorie on every stroke. If you don’t know how to do that, practice until you know what wattage/calories per hour (and at which SPM speed) you have to hit to pull a calorie every stroke. It’s possible at varying fitness levels and speeds if you practice.

Do this and you will beat people just as fit as you who aimlessly pull the rower and waste time/strokes because each pull isn’t one calorie recorded.

4. Use Your 22.1 Score to Inform Your Strategy

Yes, we’re talking about an imaginary workout. But no matter what comes up for 23.1, there’s a solid chance the format has been done before, if not the movements as well. Hell, sometimes they repeat workouts. If you did the 2022 Open, look back at your score and reflect on what went well and where you can improve.

Go back through the entire database and run a few of those workouts now to get mentally prepared for the Open. It sure can’t hurt!

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