The Open Is For Us All
One of the things about the Open that I love is it is truly for everyone. There is a reason to participate whether you’re a three time CrossFit Games athlete, have aspirations to one day compete at regionals on a team, have been doing CrossFit for a while but haven’t ever considered competing, or just started CrossFit 2 months ago and cant remember the difference between a thruster and a pushpress. CrossFit has strategically programmed the workouts to be performed by anyone, of any athletic ability, anywhere in the world. Here is a little insight into how different athletes might approach the Open and enjoy the completion season.
The Games Athlete
For the most elite athletes, the Open marks the beginning of the Games season. Workouts are taken seriously, but training for Regionals and the Games remains the focus. Weekly programming and training is not altered at all to accommodate Open workouts. Most top athletes consider the Open to be a stepping stone to Regional and will not repeat workouts because it is counterproductive to preparing for the next stage of the Games season. My weekly schedule during the Open looks as follows:
- Day 1: Train
- Day 2: Active Recovery
- Day 3: Train
- Day 4: Train
- Day 5: Rest
- Day 6: Open Workout & Train after
- Day 7: Train
Between the Open announcement and the end of Day 5, I think about my strategy for the workout. I watch the live announcement and write down split times and rep schemes. I keep my eye on the top scores on the leader board both worldwide and also in my region so I know what will be competitive. I go to sleep on Day 5 knowing exactly what I will do the next day, and try my best to execute the game plan. Sometimes I also like to do the Open workouts with another competitive athlete so that I can practice being in that environment and get a little extra push. I will never repeat Open workouts unless my score is low enough to keep me out of the fast heat on day 1 at regionals. Open workouts will be repeated on Day 7 ONLY if I completely fall on my face, the clock stops, or the camera doesn’t record correctly. Athletes that neglect the rest of their training in order to repeat Open workouts and post the highest scores possible might struggle later in the competition season when the loads get heavier and the movements get more skilled.
The Regionals Hopeful
To the Regional hopeful, the Open is possibly the most important stage of the competition season. It is make or break. Before setting your weekly training schedule, ask yourself if qualifying for regionals is your end goal, or if you want to be able to do well at regionals if you qualify. The answer to that question will have an affect on your weekly training schedule. If you want to do well and be competitive at regionals, then your schedule should look almost identical to the Games Athlete. You might choose to shift your week up 1 day, with the expectation that some workouts will be repeated. Give yourself 1 day between doing the Open workouts instead of doing them back-to-back. However, if you’re more concerned about qualifying for regionals than how you perform at regionals, then you might want to set your training schedule up in a way that allows you to do the workouts twice. Most athletes in this position will likely choose to re-do at least one or two of the workouts. Scores will be posted as late as possible because it is increasingly difficult to qualify for regionals every year. The playing field is getting more and more competitive! Prepare for 6 weeks of being glued to the leader board, not sleeping much, and dreaming about rep schemes at night!
The Everyday CrossFitter
To the everyday CrossFitter who doesn’t take competition too seriously, the Open can still be an extremely exciting time of year. There might not be any hopes or aspirations of competing at the next level, but the Open can be used to test the work you have put in all year at the gym. It is very likely to see an Open workout from a previous year pop up again. Maybe this year you have developed new skills like double-unders or pistols or muscle ups that will allow you to add 30 more reps to your score from last year! Or, maybe your work capacity has increased so much that you double your score! Despite the numbers on the score sheet once the clock stops, it is an opportunity to “play” the sport of fitness. For all you former athletes who miss that competitive arena, here is your chance to dress up for game day again. Enjoy pre-game meal, the night before nerves in anticipation of your big day. And, for those of you who missed out on competitive sports earlier in life, here is your chance. There is an objective, a set of rules and standards, a clock, a judge, penalties, and a score at the end of it all.
Ok, so you just started CrossFit three weeks ago. You’re can’t quite remember the difference between a pushpress and a thruster, you don’t bound box jumps, and you’re working on pullups with a green band. You’re wondering what all the hype is about this thing called the “Open”?? Well lucky for you one of the most exciting times of the year is NOW. The Games have begun and you’re a part of it because many gyms include the Open workouts in their weekly programming over the next 6 weeks. You’re probably doing the Open whether you signed up or no so you might as well pay your $20, have your name on the gym team roster and be a part of the community. You’ll develop an appreciation for how much work and preparation goes into the competition for the top athletes at your gym. You’ll enjoy the excitement before the workouts and the celebrations after the workouts. You’ll truly understand the importance of movement standards and why keeping track of you progress by journaling is exciting. And, you’ll have a fantastic excuse to purchase a few equipment necessities like a custom jump rope, lifting shoes, grips & wrist wraps and knee sleeves. If there’s one thing CrossFitters are good at, it diving in head first. Welcome to the team.
- Emily Friedman