The Heroic Guide to CrossFit Open Workout 16.5

The CrossFit Games Open Workout 16.5 is a brutal couplet of thrusters and burpees.

This workout is designed to make you suffer. Resign yourself to a simple fact: this is going to hurt.

Once you understand that, you can make smart decisions on your pacing and execution.

This article will tell you how to do your best. It’s up to you to embrace the suck.

CrossFit Open 16.5 Workout

Find the full workout and movement details on the official page for the 2016 Open Workouts. Here are the essentials:

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Men use 95lb / 43kg
Women use 65lb / 29kg

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:

Men use 65lb / 29kg
Women use 45lb / 20kg


How to Warm Up for CrossFit Open Workout 16.

Here is an excellent warm up from the guys at The Movement Fix that will get you prepped and ready to attack Open 16.5.

5 rounds:

  • 10 straight leg raises each leg
  • 5 downward dogs
  • 5 lateral lunges each leg
  • 5 front rack elbow raises
  • 3 thrusters (start with empty bar and add weight each round)

The Perfect Strategy for CrossFit Open Workout 16.5

What’s the best game plan heading into this couplet? Jacob Tsypkin from TZ Strength and Ben from Wodprep share their best insights.

Both coaches counsel managing your output and setting a solid pace from the beginning. Think about this like a 5k and not like a sprint. Start out controlled and then sprint at the end.


To get the best time, Jacob recommends doing your sets unbroken at a steady pace.

  • Perform the first third of the thrusters of each round at a controlled pace. Pause briefly at the top, control the bar to the shoulders and descend into the next rep.
  • For the last two thirds of the reps, bring the bar down straight from lockout, letting it come down faster and falling more quickly into the descent of the next rep.

If this weight is greater than 50% of your max push press then you’ll need to break up your sets. Ben recommends breaking your sets up as follows:

  • 21 = 12 + 9
  • 18 = 10 + 8
  • 15 = 8 + 7
  • 12 and below = unbroken


You’ll spend most of your time on burpees. Don’t let them slow you down. Jacob advises you to perform one burpee and then take one breath. As you land on the opposite side of the bar after completing a rep, take one controlled breath. Then descend into your next rep. If you can sustain this, you will be in good shape. If you can’t sustain this pace, watch the clock and give yourself 2-5s between each rep.


4 Movement Tactics for CrossFit Open Workout 16.5

What are some essential cues to keep in mind for each movement? Jacob and Ben share their best tactical tips.

Tactic #1 – Be Aggressive

Drive every rep of the Thruster hard with the legs and hips to save your shoulders for burpees.

Tactic #2 – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Don’t hold your breath on the Thrusters. Breath at the top after you lock out. This will also help you manage your pace.

Tactic #3 – Step Up Burpees

Execute step up burpees instead of jumping back into a squat. Hop down into the pushup portion. Then either step up or come to a knee and then step up. This will save your energy and help you sustain your pace.

Tactic #4 – Utilize The Spin Jump

Spin jump. As you jump over the bar, spin halfway or all the way in the air. Go into your next burpee rep when you land.

How to Recover from CrossFit Games Workout 16.5

Hitting 16.5 again? Want to bounce back for your Monday WOD? Here is a follow along yoga recovery from Stephanie Ring at Endure Yoga.

Good luck with 16.5!