CrossFit Open Workout 14.5 – Tips and Suggestions

Well, burpees and thrusters were left on the list and that is what we got...with spice! You won't be saved by the will either finish or you will quit/scale the workout.

This blogpost will attempt to help you warm-up, consider some strategies for the workout and how to recover.

It seems so simple but for many of us plebs, this workout will be like a chipper...

Here are some earlier blogposts I wrote on Burpees and Thrusters.



The CrossFit Games Open Workout 14.5 details can be found at


MEN - includes Masters Men up to 54 years old
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
95-lb. thrusters

WOMEN - includes Masters Women up to 54 years old
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
65-lb. thrusters

MASTERS MEN - includes Masters Men 55+
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
65-lb. thrusters

MASTERS WOMEN - includes Masters Women 55+
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
45-lb. thrusters

This workout begins from the standing position with the barbell on the floor and the athlete standing tall. Using a ball, box or other object to check for proper depth is not allowed. Every second counts in this workout. Your score will the the time it takes to complete all 168 repetitions. There is no time cap for this workout.

This workout ends when the feet land on the other side of the bar on the final rep. Time will be recorded in full seconds. Do not round up. If you finish in 14:34.8, your score is 14:34.

• Barbell
• Plates to load to the appropriate weight for your division

* If you do not use standard size bumper plates on the barbell you will also need:
• A 9.5-inch high target to jump over on the burpees

** The official weight is in pounds. For your convenience, the minimum acceptable weights in kilograms are 43 kg for the Men and, 29 kg for the Women, 29 kg for the Masters Men, 20 kg for the Masters Women.

General Advice and Initial Thoughts

  1. This is going to hurt. Rich Froning did it in 8+mins. I am figuring that a lot of us plebs will be in this for 20mins or more.
  2. Thrusters - These are hard. The secret I think will be consistency and controlling that heart rate. Have a strategy and a Plan B and Plan C!
  3. Burpees - This is the mental part. If you can keep moving and have a good strategy, you can keep the total time down. In fact, it is HERE that Rich Froning caught up to Sam his burpee technique - every single one of them was great.
  4. Breathing - You must have a good strategy for when you will be breathing. I know it sounds silly, but if you don't breathe at the right times, you will hit that wall REALLY fast.
  5. I think at this stage, I will be happy if I can get the work done in 20mins. I did Kalsu at 95lbs last year - it took me 20:46 and that was WITHOUT the bar over burpees. So 100 burpees and 100 thrusters at 95lbs took me 20mins... but the format was different so I wonder what it will be like this time! Kalsu has got to be one of the worst (so read "best") WODs I have ever done...

Warm Up

Even though the workout looks like a sprint, you have to prepare for it like a medium-paced workout. Rich Froning got the work done in 8:26mins. I figure 20+mins for some. That still means that if you sprint out of the gates, you will have to slow down. The secret will be to hit a pace that allows you to maximise speed without having to resort to singles too soon. This is where your warm up can help.

  1. If you can, I am still a big believer of getting on that rower or airdyne for 5-15mins at a really easy pace. it will oil your joints up, get the motor running and the energy systems firing.
  2. Consider doing a warm up that is similar to this...
    • 3 rounds NOT for time of
      • 3 perfect form push ups - this is to start firing up the press up motion for your burpees.
      • 3 "pike" wall-walks - this is where you start your wall walk normally but only walk your hands halfway in. You then pike at your hips, bend your knees and get your hips over your shoulders. This is a great way to activate your shoulder stability system to increase your range-of-motion. Take it slowly as the goal is to control your shoulders in preparation for Thrusters and Burpees.
      • 6 goblet squats (8-16kg KB) - in prep for the Thrusters - focus on breathing each rep. Breath in at the top, breathe out once you have started to come up.
      • 6 push presses (8-16kg KB) - 3 each side in prep for the Thrusters - focus on breathing each rep. Breath in when in the front rack position, breathe out once you have started to press up.
  3. Once you have done that, you will need to get prepared for the Thrusters and Burpees. Start light (with the bar only) and work up to a set of 7 Thrusters at the Rx'd weight. This will only take a few mins.
  4. Play with your Burpee rhythm NOW...not during the workout. Read below for some suggested rhythms to try.
  5. This warm up should take between 15-30mins. Be ready to pull the trigger!


  1. Thrusters
    • Consistency is the key here. Set a pace that you can sustain no matter what round you are in.
    • Elite - I am thinking that you can do these basically unbroken if you set a consistent pace. You may need to do them in 2-3 sets if required but the sets get smaller so at least get your 21 done if it doesn't make you redline your heart rate...if it does, you may not be "elite"!!
    • Most People - I am thinking this workout is simply 3 lots of 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. From my Kalsu experience last year, I know I should be able to do sets of 5. So my plan A is to do 3 sets of 7, 3 sets of 6 and then try hang on for at least a set of 5 until the round of 6. Whilst it will feel easy at the start to have an early rest, I think it will pay off in the long run. Plan B will be sets of 3-5 with at least one of those rests in the front rack. Plan C will be sets of 2-3 but I hope I don't have to resort to this.
    • Beginners - I would suggest you break up your sets into 3-5s right from the start. When you rest, do NOT walk away from the bar but put it down, count to 3 and pick it up
    • Interesting points to note:
      • All the past and current champs on the announcement did their thrusters unbroken
      • Sometimes they paused at the top of rep. I think it is easier sometimes to take a breath here than in the front rack - your lungs are already pulled open! In the front rack, you have to breathe in WITH the weight of the bar adding to the exertion.
      • Rich Froning only varied his time from the top half of the workout to the bottom half by only 30secs. That is CONSISTENCY!
      • Breathing - if you want to gas out early, hold your breath and do as many reps as possible as fast as possible! You will hit the wall hard! I suggest that you take a breath in while in front rack and breathe out once you have started standing up from your front squat..finish breathing out at the top of the rep if you have to...then breathe in on the way back down into front rack and the front squat
  2. Burpees
    • Again, consistency is the key. If you can stay moving, your time will be much quicker
      1. The ideal burpee is to jump out and chest to the floor in one motion, jump up and in landing with both feet as close to the bar as you can, using the recoil from landing to jump straight over the bar. You then take 2 steps forward, turn around and repeat. This is how Rich Froning did it EVERY rep. Sam Briggs started this way but as she got tired, she did the same rhythm as the others did...
      2. The jump out, jump in, step, step, jump over the bar, step step, repeat. This is how the other 4 ended up doing their burpees. Watch the announcement video is slower. It was during the burpees that Rich was able to catch up to Sam Briggs. If you step in to the bar before you jump, you will lose time. To make up time, I suggest you jump in from your burpees and jump straight over the bar. If you need a rest, then is the time - AFTER you jumped over the bar!
      3. The final option is probably what you will end up seeing me do...step out, crawl in, stand up, jump over, repeat. Whilst it sounds inefficient (and it is compared to the ideal Burpee), it is a good way of keeping moving and keeping that heart rate at a steady state.
      • Breathing - Keep breathing. Holding your breath will retain CO2 which leads to your body getting to the point where it will stop you just so it can clear out the waste (panting). Standing around panting is a waste of time! Choose a pace that you can keep moving at

Cool Down:

  • I suspect it will be hard to do but if you can, start to move around
  • Again, I recommend long Skins/compression garments to help with the inevitable soreness
  • Spend 5-10mins of easy rowing or airdyne if you can. Walking is also ok but I really like the increased range of motion they make you go through
  • Stretch if you must...I guess it is the best time to do it.
  • If you feel tight somewhere, you have probably fatigued something that needs support - find it and activate it...I like single kettlebell work for that stimulus.
  • With 84 Thrusters, a lot of people will have sore backs because they don't have the hip range to get below parallel without a butt wink. Take those back pains seriously and get them checked, especially if you get any sciatica (pain or pins and needles down the leg)
  • If you are planning a repeat attempt at 14.5, plan your recovery well. Hydrate, eat right, get rid of the waste products through movement and deep breathing. Use compression garments and seek help from your team of coaches and health professionals...and if you don't have a "team", then just ask me questions!


This workout is going to hurt. It is total time for a set amount of work. Keep the pace on the thrusters and burpees consistent. The quicker you can get up from the ground and over the bar, the quicker your rate on the burpees and I think this is where you will make up the most amount of time.

Good luck this weekend and be safe!

I will have more articles coming very soon - preparation for Regionals as well as other topics of interest - subscribe by email at the top right of your screen! Thanks 🙂

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