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CrossFit® Open WOD 16.5 Tips and Strategies Webinar Replay

Here’s the replay of the live webinar where Coach McG and McElroy break down strategy and tips for 16.5.


General Overview

This year 16.5 is a repeat of the infamous workout from 2 years ago, 14.5.

Workout 16.5


M 95 lb.     
F 65 lb.

The movements are simple but make no mistake, this workout is BRUTAL. The constant down-and-up is going to be a great test of your aerobic capacity and mental fortitude.

The key to this workout is to breathe and stick to a sustainable pace through the thrusters and especially the burpees.

There aren’t too many tricks here. And with no time cap, you’ve just gotta do the work and make it through to the end.


Try not to eat anything solid at least 2 hours before and try not to drink anything within the half-hour of starting. If you do, maybe have a garbage can or bucket ready to receive your offerings.

Warming Up

Your goal here is to open up your body to help with the thrusters (front rack, squat, press) and burpees (horizontal pressing) and to get your body prepared to do a lot of aerobic work.

Here’s our suggested warm-up:

10-15 Min on bike, rower, or jump rope.

Use this time to also do some light thrusters using an empty bar or training bar and a few normal burpees or no push up burpees

5 minutes mobility work.

Focus on hip flexion to open up the hips, bottom of squat holds, shoulder flexion and front rack stretches to help with the front rack and overhead shoulder stretches to help getting the bar overhead.

This would also be a good time to work on your belly breathing to warm up your diaphragm. Take big, full inhalations through the nose feeling the belly rise first before the chest. Then exhale by mouth by using pulling the belly inward to expel the air.

5-10 minutes of movement prep

Do a few air squats, overhead pressing with the bar and some horizontal pressing (a few regular push-ups work well here).

Then do

3 Sets:

3 Thrusters at workout weight

3 Bar Facing burpees

15% Row, Hard (90% effort)

Rest as needed.

Again the goal here is to get your heart rate up so your body is not in total shock once it gets to that first set of burpees. You want a nice breath going into this workout.

Pacing Strategies

Top tier athletes:

You’ve got to push on the thrusters. No breaking them up. Go at a speed you can go unbroken. The burpees are the workout. Go at a pace where you can keep moving.

Top 500:

Break the thrusters up right from the start for descending reps. 2 sets of 12 then 9 should work nicely here. If thrusters destroy you, try 3 sets of 7. Same as with top level athletes, you’ll need to pace the burpees in order to keep moving steadily.

Below 500:

For the rest of us, you’ll want to break up the thrusters into small, manageable sets. For the first 21, 6/5/5/5 will work. If you’re not well-conditioned, you may need to break them up further. Avoid hitting the wall on the thrusters, you may even make up time on the burpees and the later sets of the workout since the reps decrease.


Don’t wear a belt. It’s only going to hinder your breathing. If you have to wear a belt to squat the weight, you probably should scale the weight.

You may benefit from wearing lifters. Especially if you have tight ankles. They will allow you to get into a more upright position in the front squat and make the thruster easier.

Lastly, balls. You’re going to need them.

Cool Down

Spend some time cooling down after this one and celebrate that you made it through a tough set of workouts these past 5 weeks.

10 Minutes on the bike or rower at an easy pace to let the heart rate come back down

Stretch and roll your quads. They will likely be burnt.

Start sipping a post workout shake with whey protein and fast carbs (dextrose, gatorade) as soon as you can tolerate it while you cooldown.

One & Done or Repeat?

This is the last workout of the open so unless you’re on the borderline for a shot a Regionals, I would just say one and done.

You can probably see improvements a couple of days later but again, what is it worth to you? This is a nasty workout, so unless you’ve got a chance of going to the next level, just celebrate that it’s over and go have a drink with your friends.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed our webinars and summaries on the 2016 CrossFit® Open. We also hope you’ve enjoyed competing in the Open and testing your abilities. These workouts were tough, so give yourself props for making it all the way through. And if you didn’t do as well as you wanted, remember there’s a entire year of training ahead of you to make improvements.

If you’d like our help with preparing yourself for next year’s Open by getting stronger while working on your gymnastic skills and your conditioning, be sure to check out our Muscle Gain Challenge program.

You can also find a number of goal-specific training programs including our Aerobic Monster program which is designed to build your aerobic engine and improve your ability to pace breather workouts like this one

Check out our Aerobic Monster program and many others in Overtime Plus.

Take care!


Mike Bledsoe

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