Confused About the CrossFit Open 21.3 and 21.4 Workouts? Try This At-Home Version

David Morton, Andrew Tracey
·6-min read

Whether you’ve been taking part in the 2021 CrossFit Games Open, or just following along on Instagram or YouTube, the final, two-part workout released yesterday is full of roadblocks.

For the RX-hopeful athletes among us, in 21.3 there lurks 30 chest-to-bar pull-ups and, should you manage those, 30 bar muscle-ups as a reward.

21.4, which begins as soon as you finish 21.3 or hit the 15-minute time cap, tasks you with finding your max weight at a barbell complex of a deadlift, clean, power clean and jerk. To surmise, it’s really, mind-blowingly hard. That’s if you do have the requisite pull-up bar, barbell and bumper plates and the space to perform it all, alongside the gymnastic skills and barbell technique. Which, let’s be honest, the very vast majority of us do not.

Fortunately, for the first time, CrossFit has produced equipment-free versions of the Open workouts, so that anyone can take part at home with only access to a few odds and ends you can find around the house.

Less fortunately, however, the equipment-free adaptation still gets rough pretty quickly, with 30 handstand push-ups in 21.3 before a version of 21.4 in which you have to complete rounds of 20 pistol squats followed by, wait for it, 20 freestanding handstand shoulder taps. That’s right - not only do you have to be able to hold a freestanding handstand, you need to alternately take one hand off the floor to touch the opposite shoulder.

Men’s Health fitness editor Andrew Tracey presents your salvation, with a dumbbell version you can do at home. It scales up the weighted movements while removing the gymnastic hurdles so there are no barriers to completing all the work. You’ll be gassed, pumped and get the satisfaction of finishing that all but the best athletes would otherwise not experience. Go hard, breathe on your rest periods and enjoy putting your feet up for the rest of the weekend.

Men's Health 21.3 Workout

Work through the following three ‘chippers’ as quickly as possible while maintaining good form. Rest for 1 minute between each of the trios of movements


30 x Goblet Squats

Hold your dumbbell close to your chest (A). Sink your hips back and descend into a squat (B). Your elbows should come in between your knees at the bottom. Drive back up, tensing your glutes at the top. Repeat.

30 x Butterfly Sit-ups

With your legs bent and the soles of your feet together, lie with your hands behind your head (A). Tense your abs as you lift up, and touch your hands to your feet (B). Reverse the move, touching the floor behind your head on each rep.

30 x Dumbbell thrusters

Raise your dumbbells up to your shoulders and squat down, keeping your back straight and your chest up, until your thighs are beyond parallel to the ground (A). Stand back up explosively and, in one motion, press both of the dumbbells overhead to full lockout (B). Now, reverse the movement and repeat. Quickly.

Rest 1 min

30 x Goblet Squats

Hold your dumbbell close to your chest (A). Sink your hips back and descend into a squat (B). Your elbows should come in between your knees at the bottom. Drive back up, tensing your glutes at the top. Repeat.

30 x Dips

Jump onto a set of parallel bars (or chairs), locking out your arms (A). Bend at your elbows and lower your biceps to the bar (B). Press back up. Break the reps up as necessary, or sub in bench dips instead.

30 x Dumbbell thrusters

Raise your dumbbells up to your shoulders and squat down, keeping your back straight and your chest up, until your thighs are beyond parallel to the ground (A). Stand back up explosively and, in one motion, press both of the dumbbells overhead to full lockout (B). Now, reverse the movement and repeat. Quickly.

Rest 1 min

30 x Goblet Squats

Hold your dumbbell close to your chest (A). Sink your hips back and descend into a squat (B). Your elbows should come in between your knees at the bottom. Drive back up, tensing your glutes at the top. Repeat.

30 x Press-ups on dumbbells

Drop into a plank position with hands on your bells (A). With a controlled tempo, flex at the elbow, lowering your body until your chest touches the floor (B). Push back up explosively until your elbows are fully extended. (If you only have one ’bell, perform regular push-ups)

30 x Dumbbell thrusters

Raise your dumbbells up to your shoulders and squat down, keeping your back straight and your chest up, until your thighs are beyond parallel to the ground (A). Stand back up explosively and, in one motion, press both of the dumbbells overhead to full lockout (B). Now, reverse the movement and repeat. Quickly.

Rest 2 min

Men's Health 21.4 Workout

Set a timer for 5 minutes and work your way through as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following two movements, resting only as necessary to keep your form tight. But remember it’s only five minutes, so keep your foot on the gas…


20 x Alternating split squat jumps

Step one foot backward sinking into a deep lunge, with your rear knee lightly touching the floor (A). Explode upward, switching legs mid-air (B) to land in a lunge position with the opposite leg forward. Repeat the movement, alternating legs each rep.

20 x Alternating plank head taps

Assume a strong plank position with your wrists, elbows and shoulders in line. As ever, try to maintain a rigid structure from your ankles to your shoulders (A). Gently tap the side of your head with one hand (B), then the other. Alternate your hands with each rep. Then jump up for your active “rest”.

How to Watch the CrossFit Open 2021 Announcements

You can watch the CrossFit Open announcements online, with streams available on Games.CrossFit.com, the CrossFit Games Facebook page, on the CrossFit Games Twitch channel and the CrossFit Games YouTube channel.

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