CrossFit Open Workouts: The Modern Age (19-23)

At this point in time, even if you’ve never taken part in the CrossFit Open, you probably have a pretty good idea of what it is all about. This was especially true for CrossFitters who by 2019, had experienced their fair share of Opens!

However, the “Modern Age” CrossFit Opens have presented more than their fair share of twists and surprises. From Covid-era modifications to “choose your own adventure”-style workouts (not to mention a shortened Open schedule), today’s CrossFit Opens definitely provides enough intrigue to keep you on your toes!

Today, we’re going to discuss the CrossFit Open workouts for the 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 calendar years. You will then be required to do all of these workouts within 3 days of finishing the article.

(Sorry! I don’t make the rules!)

NOTE: we want to thank and for compiling the times. scores, and percentiles!

2019 CrossFit Open Workouts

The first edition of the “Modern Age’s” CrossFit Open enjoyed a format similar to those of previous years. A long, griding opening workout (comprised of accessible, uncomplicated movements) was followed by a repeat (19.2 and 16.2 are the same workout). The classic “thruster/chest-to-bar pull-up” WOD was turned up to “HARD!” mode with many half-dead athletes claiming that 19.5 was their hardest WOD ever.

One of the loftiest statements a CrossFitter can make!

CrossFit Open Workout 19.1

Equipment: Wall ball, Concept2 Rower

“Simple” enough (unless you happen to be, say, under 5’8″). These two exercises allow anyone with a Concept2 Rower, wall ball, and a high ceiling (that they don’t mind getting messed up!) to jump right into the open.

Your pacing and wall ball technique really need to be on point here and if you don’t actively work your legs into these movements, your arms are going to be dead ~5 minutes in.

I know from experience!

CrossFit Open Workout 19.2

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack, jump rope

This is one of the infamous “it’s a trap!” types of Open workouts. Everyone wants to do big sets on those toes-to-bars to get to that barbell as soon as possible.

…but hanging on to the pull-up bar for so long is hell on your forearms. Good luck trying to squat clean the heavier barbells when your grip is completely shot!

CrossFit Open Workout 19.3

Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box

The first of 2019 CrossFit Open workouts where a wrench was thrown into the system. As novel as the box step-ups were, the strict handstand push-ups are what really messes people up.

(well, some people. As a strict handstand push-up-phile, this workout is a dream come true!)

With fifty (50!) reps, this workout comes down to either “having” strict handstand push-ups…or not.

CrossFit Open Workout 19.4

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack

CrossFit HQ decided to throw some significant gymnastics work at us for a second straight week with this one. 30 bar muscle-ups under fatigue with the expectation to sprint through (why would they require that 3-minute rest, otherwise?)

If you can move fast and recover well, sprint through the first part (well…all of it, really). If not, keep a decent pace at the beginning, rest up, and go all out on part 2.

CrossFit Open Workout 19.5

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack

That Open announcement is almost hard to believe, isn’t it? I mean, those are the two GOATs, but those times are simply mind-blowing (I remember hearing about them before I saw the video and thinking someone was pulling my leg!)

For the vast majority of mere mortals, planned breaks is the way to go (ex. 11-11-11, 9-9-9, etc. on the thrusters). Just know that it is going to be a long, drawn out war.

2020 CrossFit Open Workouts

2020 was the last year of “nothing too fancy to see here” before things really got crazy in 2021. It was also the last time to date that the CrossFit Open took place in October and November.

As expected, there was a repeat (20.3/18.4) and a new movement (dumbbell thrusters), but the most interesting addition was undoubtedly the “choose your own adventure” style of the final workout.

CrossFit Open Workout 20.1

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates

Another one of those “simple” Open workouts that “anyone” can do…

Yeah…anyone, can do this workout…but the workout sucks for everyone!

I’ve tried this one a few times (3, to be exact) and have actually improved my score each time. As much as I’ve wanted to go unbroken on the snatches (technically ground-to-overheads, but snatches = much easier for me), but that just jacks my heartrate up too much. You don’t want to red-line somewhere in round 6 (or worse…round 3!)

CrossFit Open Workout 20.2

Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack, jump rope

A long, grinding workout for the second week in a row? Sadly, that’s exactly what CrossFit had in store with this one.

Point blank, you gotta be efficient with your double-unders for this one. If not, you either waste energy, particularly at the beginning or you start missing reps, particularly at the end.

Equipment set up is a thing in this workout, too. You really want to set stuff up in a way where you’re not moving more than a few feet to each new movement (unless you’re like me and you’re going to be resting a lot, anyways!)

CrossFit Open Workout 20.3

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates

The classic “repeat” workout. With this one, you get to do Diane…then a really hard version of Diane!

With such a short time cap (even the average “1%-er” doesn’t finish this one), you have to push the pace in order to get every rep possible. The Street Fighter 2 dizzy feeling you get after the first set of heavy deadlifts heading into the handstand walks might just derail any plans of doing this too fast.

CrossFit Open Workout 20.4

crossfit open workouts

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, plyo box

Watching the 2023 champ above, Adler would make you think that you should A. go touch-and-go on the box jumps B. not wear lifting shoes.

Wow…if only I was as fit and strong as the champ!

I think I can speak for most people in stating that just making it to the 5th barbell is a goal. If you have to do step-ups and down (which is allowed!) in lifting shoes to do so, then so be it!

CrossFit Open Workout 20.5

Equipment: Gymnastics rings, Concept2 rower, wall ball

This one is a lot of fun. Even if you’re not great at muscle-ups, you can split these into doubles (like I did) or, if you can’t do them at all, can have fun making the wall balls and rowing a sprint grind.

I only did this one once (thankfully) and left yuge sets (like, 60 at a time) of wall balls for myself.

Don’t be like me!

2021 CrossFit Open Workouts

This was the (first) “Covid CrossFit Open”. Things were drastically different than in years past! Not only was the Open shortened to 3 weeks, but even the Rx versions of the CrossFit Open workouts saw much more “accessible” movements (no barbells until week 3, no rowers at all).

Thankfully, the movements came back within a few years, even if the number of total weeks remained the same.

CrossFit Open Workout 21.1

Equipment: Jump rope

Wall walks, man!

If you’d spent any significant time in a CrossFit box prior to tackling this one, you probably had performed a wall walk or two at some point. However, movement standards for these were…variable at best. Having to learn the best movement pattern on the fly was what separated the best from…everyone else.

Also, with 550 double-unders in this one…yeah…I don’t even have to say it.

CrossFit Open Workout 21.2

Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box

This one has affectionately been referred to as “Spinal” over the years…and for good reason. As much as you might tell yourself “I’m totally going to keep good positioning on all 150 of those dumbbell snatches after doing a bunch burpee box-jump-overs when I’m really fatigued.”

Yeah…good luck with that.

This is one of those “just. keep. moving.” types of WODs. Don’t feel sorry for yourself!

CrossFit Open Workout 21.3

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar/rack

After the first two WODs in the 2021, limited-equipment Open, CrossFit HQ threw a bit of a curve with…like…a pretty involved workout. That is a lot of gymnastics and a lot of thrusters (with some free-standing front squats thrown in).

And the toughest part…when you finish up…you jump right into…

CrossFit Open Workout 21.4

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates

While probably not the most gnarly complex ever to grace a CrossFit workout, after holding on to a barbell and gripping up on the pull-up bar for ~15 minutes, this one certainly felt spicy. Obviously, those of us who needed the most time on the complex took the longest to finish (if we did!) 21.3.

CrossFit is mean like that sometimes!

2022 CrossFit Open Workouts

The 2022 Open wasn’t quite as “Covid-esque” as the previous year’s iteration, but still came off as a rather simplified version of the annual event. You could get by with just a barbell, a few plates, box, and dumbbell through the first couple of weeks and only needed to add a pull-up bar and jump rope to finish things off.

And this time, when they said “3 CrossFit Open workouts” they really meant 3 CrossFit Open Workouts!

CrossFit Open Workout 22.1

Equipment: Dumbbell, plyo box

This one combined elements of the first two workouts from the previous year with (the now ever-present) wall walks combining with dumbbell snatches and box jump overs. At this point, you’ve had at least a year to practice wall walks so…no excuses!

CrossFit Open Workout 22.2

Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates

What a sweet, sweet descending ladder of reps!

…just kinda sad that you have to go all the way up the ladder first!

This one is, arguably, an easier version of the first portion of 18.2 (depending on if your preferred torture is in the form of dumbbell squats and bar-facing burpees or deadlifts and bar-facing burpees) although the reps almost double.

Good thing you have 10 minutes this time!

CrossFit Open Workout 22.3

Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, jump rope, barbell, bumper plates

In the video above, Scott Tetlow clearly illustrates all of the things in CrossFit I am completely incapable of doing. That being said, from the chart above, his 4:07 finish time is…kinda in a league of its own!

Like some of the other increasing weight CrossFit Open workouts, it really helps to have a friend along to switch out the plates for you. I can assure you that the last thing you feel like doing after a bunch of bar muscle-ups and double-unders is “dig your own” thruster grave, depressingly adding those final 20 pounds to the bar for what feels like an endless set of 15 thrusters!

2023 CrossFit Open Workouts

We’ve finally made it to, what are at the time of this article’s publishing, the most recent CrossFit Open workouts. There were definitely some highs…and lows from these workouts with the introduction of the shuttle run as an Open movement and another iteration of the ever-changing strict handstand push-up standard.

For the third straight year, the Open only lasted for 3 weeks. Is this a format that will continue into the future?

CrossFit Open Workout 23.1

Equipment: Concept2 Rower, pull-up bar/rack, wall ball, barbell, bumper plates, gymnastics rings

Get used to watching Gospodin Khrennikov for a little bit. His incredible performances on the first two workouts of the 2023 CrossFit Open ensure that he gets a bit of attention here!

Those times above illustrate how the level of athletes, especially at the top of the sport, have improved over the last 10 years. Heck, my 194 reps, good for a top 5% finish back in the day doesn’t even crack the top 10 percent now!

One of the all-time greatest CrossFit benchmark workouts (and one of the most CrossFit of all CrossFit workouts), you owe yourself to give this one a try!

CrossFit Open Workout 23.2A&B

Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, barbell, bumper plates

After blessing us with a repeat of one of the greatest CrossFit Open workouts ever, we got goosed by 23.2A (and, by extension, 23.2B).

Shuttle runs…I mean…come on! The worst part? You really can’t sleep on these since they seem to be a new staple in CrossFit workouts everywhere!

A question to the readers: do you know anyone who actually performed a “basic” thruster during 23.2B? I feel like everyone just clustered the weight. Makes sense, though; “efficiency is king!”

CrossFit Open Workout 23.3

Equipment: Jump rope, barbell, bumper plates

Back in the day, the question with this one would have been “can you do strict handstand push-ups?” Nowadays, at least for men, the question with this one would have been “can you snatch 185 under fatigue?” Almost half of the Rx’d men who put their numbers up were able to get at least one strict handstand push-up!

If you’re one of those men who breezed through the handstand push-ups (like me!) who couldn’t hit the 185-pound snatch (…like me), you know what you need to work on at this point!

The Modern Age CrossFit Open: What’s Next?

As much as the CrossFit Open has evolved through the years, some things just always stay the same.

As an athlete, you gotta keep getting better (just look at how those times and scores have evolved over the years). You also have to be open to performing new (and, at times, nonsensical movements) on a short notice.

I guess these things are what makes the Open so “fun”!

Personally, I like the widely-available stats and scores and using these from Opens from the past to benchmark my own progress. With this in mind, I suggest performing one (or 10) of these Open workouts ASAP. You never know when you’ll need to use it as a data point for a future (repeated) Open WOD!

HWPO Programming was the best preparation for me going into the 2023 CrossFit Open. Check out our review of HWPO Flagship here!

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Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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