CrossFit Open 19.4 Breakdown and Tips (and 3 minutes Rest!?)

3 minutes rest?! I don’t know what to do with my hands!

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CrossFit Open 19.4 is 3 rounds of 10 snatches (any type) at 65/95lb, 12 bar facing burpees, then 3 minutes rest. Then 3 rounds of 10 bar muscle ups, 12 bar facing burpees. 12 minute time cap.


This one is a shoulder burner, so you’ll want to have good strategies for saving the shoulders.

Most people are just going to be looking to get a good tie breaker score and/or getting some muscle ups.

Grip will play a factor if you plan on doing muscle ups!

Tie Breaker

If you aren’t close to getting a muscle up, this workout will be 3 rounds for time. If you are only going to get 1-5 muscle ups, the tie breaker time (the time you finish the first 3 rounds) will still play a large roll.  

Warm Up

Prior to the workout, you’ll want to make sure you are thoroughly warmed up so you can hit it at full speed from the get-go. Here is a good example:

Dynamic Warm up: 2 min easy row or airdyne. Then 3 sets of 10 kb swings, 10 push ups, 10 kip swings, 10 hollow rocks. Then 3 sets of 5 with the empty bar: straight leg deadlift, hang muscle snatch, behind the neck rack jerk

Mobility: Focus on shoulder mobility for snatches and big kips on the muscle ups. If you have time, work the posterior chain so you have an easier time getting down to the bar for the snatches

Skill: Spend some time practicing bar muscle ups. If you can do them, clean up your technique for maximum efficiency.


Most people will want to use a legit ‘power’ snatch and not a ‘muscle’ snatch. A muscle snatch is where you bring the bar up overhead without using a second ‘dip’ of the torso and lock out the arms.

This style is going to be faster if the weight is relatively light. That said, you’ll end up pressing out the bar much more than if you use a power snatch. Those press outs will wear your shoulders out much faster than doing a small ‘dip’ and catching with a true power snatch.

BUT… If you don’t plan on doing any muscle ups, AND the weight is light for you, you may consider muscle snatches. But for the vast majority of people, the slightly longer time it will take to do a power snatch will pay off in later rounds (and make the burpees a bit faster because your shoulders aren’t as blown up.

Using a slightly closer grip will save the grip strength on this one as well as keep you from bending over as far (which will add up over time). The grip should be about a hand span more narrow on each side.  Make sure to use a good hip ‘pop; to get the bar overhead and avoid that press out!

Go for big sets here unless the weight is really challenging and you know you’ll be doing singles at some point. If you can’t drop straight into the set of burpees, you will probably need to break these up more.

If you are linking these, make sure you are keeping the bar close to the body on the way down. Think about bringing the bar down right over the laces of your shoes. If the bar gets out in front, your timing will be off and you’ll put a lot more stress on your back!

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Bar Facing Burpees

They’ve brought back some of the old standards here. You are allowed to step up from the push up, and now you must jump with both feet, but a single-footed landing is okay!

To be honest, stepping up won’t be the ticket for most people looking for a good time on the first 3 rounds. BUT if you really want to save your shoulders for the second part, some stepping up might be a good idea.

This is also another chance to save the shoulders (for muscle ups and burpees later). Try to use as little ‘press’ as you can to get up so you can crank out reps faster later. You can do this by stepping up, or you could utilize more of a ‘rocking chair’ style of burpee. This style is where you arch you body (like a ‘Superman’) and rock forward onto your thighs and chest. Momentum is preserved as your lower legs come back down, and you’ll pop up into a knee push up much easier.

Bar Muscle Ups

If you’ve got muscle ups (even singles), you should have the chance to get quite a few on this workout. If you can link large sets, you’ll still want to break these up early so you can still do sets on the later rounds.

If you haven’t gotten one yet (but you are close), go as fast as possible on the first part for a good tie breaker. Then take your time and nail that first rep. If you fail, make sure you rest enough before your next attempt. Rushing attempts too close together is a recipe for not getting any.

Really focus on the ‘modified glide kip’ for more reps here. “Glide Kips” are not allowed since they require the feet to go above the bar. Modified Glide Kips are very similar, but the knees are bent slightly so that the heels stay low enough to keep it legit. 

If you look at this video from Trac’s gym, you’ll notice that his first rep has the legs low (not ideal). Then he gets his legs and hips much higher, making the movement much more efficient. You will also notice that on the first rep, he has to bend his arms to pull himself over the bar. In the later reps, his arms stay much straighter. It is good to think about pushing the bar away though the transition as your body goes into a solid ‘hollow’ position. In fact, the knees are actually moving toward the bar before an explosive hip opening movement that pops the body up over the pull up bar.

Keep in mind that you will not be allowed to place your forearm, elbow, or armpit on the bar to get up.  Only your hands can touch the bar. Some people who can’t do muscle ups yet, may still get a rep or two by doing a pull up and getting one arm over the bar, then getting the other arm over. It isn’t ‘good’, but it may still help some people get a rep or two!

Be careful with the dreaded ‘chicken wing’.  Doing one arm at a time, throwing that shoulder over, puts a lot of stress on the shoulder and comes with a big risk of injuring the shoulder. As in: “need surgery” type of risk. While some people may be comfortable with the risk in order to well in the Open, it should not be taken lightly and if people are trying to ‘rep’ this version out, they should know the risks completely (not good for your ‘regular’ CFer who is just doing this for fun, an extra challenge, and who has to go back to work the next day).


Try to stay moving during the rest. Walk around, maybe do some easy airdyne. Moving the joints will help the lymphatic system flush out the biproducts from exertion.

Practice deep nasal breathing. Try to get to where you can do 5-7 seconds in, a 5 second hold, then 5-7 seconds out, and a 5 second hold. The longer you can make the exhale the better. Exhaling slowly through the nose will help bring you heart rate down faster.


If you can’t do a bar muscle up (there is no chance), this workout is 3 rounds for time.  Make sure you do an aggressive warm up so you can come hot out of the gates right away. Move fast early on, but don’t go so fast you are missing the standards. Don’t be too concerned with saving your shoulders or you grip. Plan on pushing hard on that last round!

If you are planning on getting 1-10 muscle ups, you should still plan on hitting the first 3 rounds hard. It will give you a better tie breaker and you’ll have more time to get those muscle ups. Don’t get flustered if you miss a rep. Visualize success before each attempt. Try to only focus on one coaching cue each rep (trying to do 3 things at once will just confuse you). Watch the clock so you can pace your reps without trying to attempt them without adequate rest.

If you are planning on getting through the first round of muscle ups (or two), you may think about ‘gaming’ the first part a small amount and not going as hard as possible. You should in NO WAY go ‘slow’ on the first 3 rounds, but if you go 10-20 seconds slower and save your arms, you’ll have a much easier time on the second part.

If you plan on finishing (or getting close), you’ll want to be sure you push hard on the first part, but still save your shoulders where you can. Do a ‘large-ish’ set right after the 3 min rest, but plan on breaking them up fairly often. You can make up time on the burpees!

Shoes and Belt?

Don’t worry about wearing Oly shoes unless you REALLY need them for the snatches. The same thing goes for a belt. If you can’t snatch 30 reps at 65/95 (or the scaled loads) without a belt, you should do a lighter weight.


For people just doing the first 3 rounds (and if you might a small amount of muscle ups), a repeat isn’t a bad idea. Just make sure you aren’t rounding your back on the snatches so your back isn’t trashed. You’ll also want to talk to your coaches to find out if it is even allowed, and when a good time to do it is.

Even for people getting deep into the second part, a second attempt won’t disrupt your training too much. If you are someone who really needs to do well for scoring purposes, go right ahead (but see note above about talking to your coaches about it first).

Next Workouts

We can now eliminate 11 movements from what is likely to show up!

You now have one last week to work on the last few movements that might show up. Pull ups (maybe even strict), ring muscle ups, thrusters, box jumps, deadlifts,… maybe even a heavy lift as a 2 part workout!

Right after logging this one in the books, pick 1-2 of the movements above that you know you could benefit the most from. Spend some time working on those skills to help set you up for success on the last workout.

Have fun!



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