Workout Routines

The Bodybuilding-Friendly CrossFit Open WOD

Try this tweak of a Crossfit games workout to boost your delts, lats, and abs.

The Bodybuilding-Friendly 18.1 CrossFit WOD
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine
Duration 20 min.
Exercises 3
Equipment Yes

Few televised sporting events are as inclusive as the CrossFit Games. Post high enough scores in the “Open” workouts at your local gym, and you can qualify for Regionals. Dominate Regionals, and you’re in the Games. On TV. In front of millions of viewers.

Simple in theory, tough as hell in practice. First of all, the Open workouts are historically ambitious. Every year, five new Open WODs are announced. Have a look at one of them for this year, 18.1:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:

  • 8 Toes-to-bars
  • 10 Dumbbell Hang Clean and Jerks (men: 50 lbs; women: 35 lbs)
  • Row (men: 14 calories burned; women: 12 calories burned)

Technically, anyone can do this workout, but very few people, even in-shape guys, will be hitting 12-plus rounds in the allotted time like elite-level CrossFitters. For many of us, 18.1 needs to be scaled back. While we’re at it, why not make the WOD more muscle-building-friendly for those who are into that whole “shredded physique” thing?

To achieve this, we called on Bill Shiffler, C.S.C.S., CF-L1, owner of CrossFit Renaissance in Philadelphia ( and a competitive amateur bodybuilder. In tweaking 18.1 for the M&F crowd, Shiffler swapped out toes-to-bars for cable crunches and the Concept2 rower for barbell rows, while increasing rep counts across the board to help stimulate more muscle growth.

“We’ve sliced and diced 18.1 into a rock-solid back, shoulders, and abs workout that you can knock out in 20 minutes,” Shiffler says. “The goal is to keep moving, but not necessarily at a super-high intensity—we’re bridging the gap between a traditional bodybuilding session and a CrossFit WOD.”

Use the workout below as a stand-alone workout or an additional abs-and-shoulder routine for the week.

Physique-Friendly 18.1 Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of the following circuit

Exercise 1

Cable Crunch You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Cable Crunch thumbnail
-- sets
20 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Hang Clean and Jerk You'll need: Barbell How to
Hang clean and jerk thumbnail
-- sets
20 reps
-- rest
Use dumbbells instead of barbell. Make sure its a moderately heavy weight-something you can get about 15 reps with when fresh.

Exercise 3

Barbell Bentover Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Row  thumbnail
-- sets
20 reps
-- rest