Written by Sarah Loogman 

Just like that, the CrossFit Open is upon us once again with a brutal couplet to start off 2017. With an ascending ladder of dumbbell snatches mixed in with burpees over the box, this is a mental mastermind’s dream and the hyper strategists nightmare. 17.1 is simple – just go.   


The ascending ladder of snatches may throw some athletes off and cause them to start off too quickly and struggle in the later rounds. Begin aggressively but then settle into a pace that you aim to maintain throughout the workout. 


Open up your hamstrings. This will be the lowest hanging fruit to optimize your movement in all aspects of this workout. Try to perform a few sets of burpees and snatches earlier in the day to practice your rhythm and pacing. Practice the points of movement below and try to determine the cadence at which you will perform the vent. Imagine yourself completing all of the reps at this pace. 


Keep things close and keep your body closer. There are nine transitions between the box and dumbbell, so make sure you minimize the distance between equipment. Also minimize the distance between you and the equipment in the exercises themselves. The dumbbell should stay between your feet for each rep and travel close to the body. Perform your burpees as close to the box as you possibly can. Also minimize your “wandering” if and while you rest. By the time you think you’re ready to go, you shouldn’t have to take a walk to get back to your workout. 

Movement: The Dumbbell Snatch 

Better athletes will have no trouble with this weight and even for “most,” this is not a weight that would constitute failure of reps. Moving efficiently through the bigger sets will be important to shave seconds and avoid lower back tightness and swelling mid workout. Make sure you are using a hip hinge pattern of movement to deliver the dumbbell overhead, more like a kettlebell swing than a conventional barbell snatch. Because of the great range of motion required to move a dumbbell from so close to the floor, the hamstrings and glutes should be carrying the load instead of the low back. Drive each rep back towards the heels to be able to “scoop” the weight back up in consecutive reps. Also practice switching the hands midair as you lower the bell back to the floor so that you are not pulling from a “dead stop” each time. This will allow you to string together consecutive reps with greater ease. 


Set the dumbbell back to your heels each time you set it down. This will allow you to hinge and “scoop” the dumbbell overhead into your next rep and move more quickly and efficiently.

Movement: Burpee Box Jump Over

You will already be bounding to jump up on the box so try a lunge, or step up, approach to come out of the burpee. Try to take as large of a step that you can so that you are closest to the box. Keep your forehead right at the box each time so that you can minimize the distance you travel for each repetition. Stay low as you jump over the box – you don’t have to open your hips so again, minimize the distance your body will be moving throughout the duration of the workout. 

Keep your head close to the box. This will minimize the distance you have to step or jump towards the box in order to get over it.
Try to stay in some form of a squat as you go over the box. This will keep you lower to your next burpee and save some time over the many reps.


Flatter and lighter shoes would be best, much like a common Nano or MetCon. A hex-head dumbbell may be preferable so that it doesn’t roll around during the workout. Otherwise, this workout is very simple and doesn’t necessitate you wearing every strap, belt and sleeve you have in your gym bag! 


The signature of CrossFit is intensity. Open workout 17.1 is every bit grassroots “CrossFit” as it could be and will come down to those who can suffer the hardest. Are you mentally strong enough to “go there”?