The CrossFit Open begins at the end of February, and we’ll be gearing up for it over the next six weeks. The Open is the event with the largest participation worldwide within the CrossFit community. It is the first stage of reaching The CrossFit Games, the annual tournament to determine the fittest in the world. In 2013, 138,000 CrossFitters signed up to test their fitness in five workouts over the course of five weeks. Workouts are judged or videotaped and submitted online for scores to be ranked. Since a very small percentage of participants will make it to Regionals, and even fewer to the Games, why do so many CrossFitters choose to participate?

The Open is not only a competition to get to the Games, it is a competition with oneself to measure progress. It is a chance to push yourself more than you would in an ordinary class, to define your strengths and weaknesses, to set new goals, to learn new skills, and to be held to the same standards and share the same experiences as some of the best athletes around the world. There are no qualifiers to participate–it is truly an open competition. And it’s a great way to build community with your fellow gym-mates.

That being said, would I recommend that everyone participate in the Open? Not necessarily. If you are currently dealing with any injuries, this may not be the time to really push and test your fitness. If you are brand new to CrossFit and not yet comfortable with many of the movements, again, maybe now’s the time to work on technique and consistency before adding intensity. If you choose to participate, be smart about it. Don’t hurt yourself for a few more reps in a workout, don’t spend your whole week resting so you can kill it on one 5 minute test, and don’t redo workouts multiple times to gain a couple reps unless those reps are the difference between you qualifying for regionals or not. Enjoy the ride, don’t stress about it, and keep going in your regular training. Continuing to get stronger and faster should still be your main focus. For most of us, is a supplemental, community-buildling activity to test where you are.

How will our “Open Focus” work this month? We’ll be practicing skill work in movements we expect to see come up based on past Open workouts. Over the last three years of the Open, only 14 movements have come up (and 10 of those have come up every year). If we think about the logistics side of this competition, we aren’t likely to see things like rowing or running (since videotaping submissions would be tough). We expect most of the movements will be consistent with those in the past, and we will be drilling those movements in workouts and skill work sessions. Expect to see weekly skill practice in chest to bar pull ups, push ups, snatch, clean & jerk, toes to bar, box jumps, double unders, and muscle ups. During WODs, you’ll see more burpees, thrusters, wall balls, deadlifts, overhead squats, as well as the movements you see in the skill practice. And, every week, we’ll test at least one workout from past Open competitions.

We will not be abandoning our strength training and other skills. You can still expect to hit, on average, four strength sessions per week, though there will be more olympic lifts (snatch and clean & jerk) than during our power lifting cycle. In addition, we’ll mix up the lifts a bit more by including weighted pull ups, Turkish get ups, weighted dips, split squats, and other strength exercises. We will still practice running, rowing, kettlebell work, handstand push ups, pistols, etc. though with less frequency than our focal movements. Even for those of you not doing the Open, this month will be a chance to spend extra time practicing particular gymnastics movements and olympic lifts, while building your metabolic conditioning. Now you know why you had all those burpees to do yesterday!

If you are interested in registering for the open, go to:

(Add Grassroots CrossFit as your affiliate and Team GRCF as your team.)

Categories: New Focus