Tips for Making the Open 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 WODS More Enjoyable

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Tomorrow, the 2015 open sign up begins and over one hundred thousand people worldwide will take on the challenges that Dave Castro hands via a live weekly announcement.  I for one really like the anticipation of the announcement and subsequent WOD throw down by two amazing CrossFit® Athletes going head to head.  Over the years strategy has played a more important role in the work outs and that shows.  Sometimes, the athletes who throw down live slowly sink on the leaderboard or decide to redo the workout after thinking about a more strategic approach to the WOD.   This leads me to my firs tip:

  1. Develop a strategy for the WOD - Spend 20 minutes visiting a few of your favorite coaching and programming sites and watch what they have to say. There is no one size fits all but if you check out say 3-5 videos, you can extrapolate a good strategy to employ in the WOD and ensure you won’t feel the need to “redo” a WOD after a mental mistake.  Here are a few that I have watch in the past and please know, I am unsure which is the best but found that all of them will bring up different perspectives and points to think about so you will have to find what works best for you. 

    1. The Outlaw Way

    2. Barbell Shrugged

    3. Athlete Cell 

    4. There are many more that you might connect with better - please put them in comments

  2. Manage your hands – you can bet that at some point, you are going to be tasked with high repetition bar work on both the pull-up bar and the barbell. Weights or movements that may be manageable day to day with little impact to your hands will all of a sudden tear you up.  The intensity and focus brought on by the WOD can leave you susceptible.  Sometimes you don’t even know you’re hurt until you go to wash your hands after the WOD.  That sting can be annoying and even worse; the following week can be impacted if you don’t heal up.  Now there are a few approaches here with the first being just spend a few minutes each day maintaining your hands and they will have a great shot at getting through the open unscathed.  For those of us who don’t take the time to do that, there are two things to consider; fingers and palms. 

    1. Fingers – One thing I have learned over the years is that when you cycle through high rep Olympic lifts (especially the snatch), your pinky’s and thumbs tend to get some raw spots. I am sure that better form would be a big help but let’s face it, sometimes when you’re working against the clock and the weight is manageable, form will break down.  Scary Sticky Goat Tape is a great way to provide some protection and it will make it through the sweatiest of WOD’s.  

    2. Palms – based on the past stats, it’s almost guaranteed that pull ups and/or toes to bars will be programmed in the Open. Because of this, you need to figure out how you can keep your hands from ripping.  Not only will it hurt that workout but it could be a hindrance to the next open WOD and well, life in general.  Yes, Crossfitters are tough and some feel like the rips are battle wounds but many do not.  Here are some approaches that you can take: 

      1. Daily maintenance – yes, this can work.  Daily maintenance with your hands will keep the calluses at bay and those are what typically cause the rips.  WOD SuperStore  Athlete Talayna Fortunato uses this and sure, once in a while she rips but overall, her hands are rip free and she doesn't use any hand grips, tape or other equipment during a WOD. 

      2. Hand grips – For those that want some protection on the bar, there are a few options. Our most popular hand grips are the JAW grips, Natural Grips and Gymnastic grips.  Each have their pro’s and con’s and what I can tell you for sure is that no one product is the silver bullet for everyone.  For an Open workout, I would recommend you check out the JAW grips.   They are good to use when you transition from the pull up bar to say a barbell or some sort of other piece of equipment in which you have to hold.  They are not bulky and offer a good deal of flexibility. 

  3. Get your own Jump Rope – This is to Crossfitters like a baseball mitt is to baseball players. Sure, you can use a different one every time but there is nothing more comfortable than using your own Jump Rope.  First all, the length is very important.  A little longer you can work with but if it’s short, forget it.  You won’t string any together.  Second, doing double under is as mental as it is physical.  Sure, some folks can string them like singles but for most, when you start missing, the little voice in your head starts reinforcing all the reasons you won’t be able to do them . . . and “this rope feels weird” is spoken often.  If you’re just learning them we suggest you get a rope that has a slightly thicker/heavier rope so that it gives you better feedback.  Sometimes the speed ropes with wire cables just disappear and it becomes very difficult to get your timing down (plus they do hurt a little more when you get snapped)  Buddy Lee and Jump N Rope carry some great ones that won’t break the bank.  If you have double unders then consider one with a wire cable as it will create less fatigue in this movement.  Ropes from RPM Fitness and Jump N Rope both have these features.  Handles are personal preference and I would suggest you find a few friends at the Box who have some and “handle” them to see what feels best. 

  4. Spend more time on Mobility – This practice is becoming more and more popular within the box and investing a little time at home doing the same thing will pay you dividends.  There are so many specialized tools that it can be overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be.  To start, get yourself a roller and a ball.  The roller will give you a broader stroke myofascial release but will have less pressure.  A hard ball with allow you to have a more focused pressure point to work out those sore muscles.  We suggest you use both because some muscles are just easier to reach with a ball and sometimes you just need a roller to attack the muscles.  There are many different rollers out there and each one has a small nuance but generally, get something that is stiff and big enough to comfortably roll on.  The Grid Roller and the Pro-Tec extra firm foam roller.  We also love the 5” Orb from Pro-Tec for those harder to reach areas, especially the hamstrings and shoulders.  The larger size accommodates an easier experience in some hard to reach yet always sore muscles.

We hope you find these tips will make your 2015 Open experience a little more enjoyable as you tackle what few do, the grueling Open workouts.  No matter how you finish, be proud as even with over 100,000 participants, it's still a small group.

Remember, please comment below on other great strategy website that athletes can review to develop their Open Workout Strategies for 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4 and 15.5.

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  • Billy Doherty
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