How To Warm Up For CrossFit Open WODs?

Why should I even warm-up?

The right warm-up will prepare you mentally and physically. It should also have a positive effect on the performance during the workout. Warm-ups may hurt your performance only if they are overdone (your body will get tired) or if they are not suited for the activity (like warming up different muscles).

Rules of correct CrossFit Open WOD warm-up

CrossFit Open WODs share a few similarities:
About 5-20 minutes long
Consist of at least 1 weighted and 1 non-weighted movement
Are more intense as there is usually less time to rest compared to class WODs

There are also a few rules that I follow when creating a warm-up.

The shorter the workout is, the longer the warm-up will be.
For example, you don’t need to warm for Murph, but you should have a very long warm-up before Fran or 1RM Snatch.

Warm-up with WOD specific movements or movements similar to these movements.
For example, focus your warm up to thrusters, push-ups, air squats if the WOD is about thrusters.

Don’t overdo warm-ups.
You really don’t need to stretch for 20 minutes, roll for 20 minutes and warm-up with a barbell for another 20 minutes before doing a WOD.

Knowing how the WOD looks like and following a few simple rules should help us create the general warm-up scheme that could be used before any CrossFit Open WOD.

Open 18.2 Strategy and Warm-Up (click here)

Open 18.1 Strategy and Warm-Up (click here)

How to warm-up for the CrossFit Open WOD?

0) Make a plan

Identify which movements you need to practice and set the strategy. To get the best time possible you should know how will you split the sets and follow that strategy from the beginning.

Also, write the rep schemes you are going to follow on the whiteboard and look at them during the WOD, it is worth especially in the WODs where reps are different each round, for example, 27-21-15-9 -> 10+9+8, 8+7+6, 6+5+4, 9.

1) Simple 3 round couplet

Start with a simple 3 round couplet of 2 movements with 10-15 reps of each exercise. The goal is to go through the workout at a slow pace, and you should feel fresh when you finish the warm-up WOD.

The first movement should be specific to the workout you will be doing. For example, if WOD has heavy cleans do the 15 Russian kettlebell swings or kettlebell SDHP.

The second movement should be multi-joint exercise like 15 cal row, 10 burpees, 10 med-ball squat cleans, 20 jumping jacks, etc.

2) Practice with low weight and low reps with movements from the WOD

The length of this part depends on how long the WOD is and how heavy it is.

Take a longer time to warm up if the WOD is 5-10 minutes long or if it consists of heavy movements, but if the WOD is about 20 minutes long or if you will build up to heavy weight in the WOD you can make this part short.

The goal is to practice movements that will be in the WOD but with light weights and with low reps.

The total volume of the reps should be low of up to 30-40 reps of each exercise with only sets of 1-5 reps.

For example, if WOD is Open 13.4 (7 min AMRAP 3-6-9-… C&J 135/95 lbs & TTB) go for about 10-15 minutes clean and jerk practice. Spend most of the time on 95 and 115 lbs but also try a few singles with 135 lbs with sets of 3-4 TTB in between the sets for a total of 30 clean and jerks and 30 TTB.

3) The WOD

Make sure your equipment is near each other so you can eliminate the transition times, that you use correct collars, so you don’t need to tighten them again during the WOD or that your chalk is near the barbell, so you don’t need to walk for it.

And just start whenever you are ready! Don’t start too quickly, keep decent pace during the WOD and push at the end.


Have a plan. Do quick 3 round couplet with movements similar to the WOD. Warm-up with movements from the WOD, low volume, lower weight. Have your equipment close to each other to eliminate transitions.

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Other types of warm-ups before the CrossFit workout

The classic CrossFit warm-up

This is the warm-up that was shared in the Journal on the official CrossFit site during the April 2003. The warm-up consists of 6 movements that will stretch and warm-up all your body parts while preparing you for any WOD that may come.

This is a great warm-up if you don’t have an idea how to warm-up correctly or if you want to get ready for multiple different movements.

3 Rounds of 10-15 reps of:

Samson stretch
Overhead squats
GHD sit-ups
Hip extensions

Caveman Training CrossFit warm-up

There are a few rules of a good warm-up on the Caveman’s site that I agree with:
A good warm-up is so important, not just for the body, but also for the mind
A good warm-up does not consist out of static holds, or exercises with heavy weight!
And a few things that you should avoid during warm-ups:
Fatiguing the muscles, you’re going to need during the main work to come
Running people into the ground before they’ve even started
Including static holds
Including exercises with heavy weights
Just warming up the upper-body for a lower-body dominant workout