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

Posted by Billy Doherty on

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.

Read more

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

Posted by Billy Doherty on

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.

Read more


10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete

Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete from WODSuperStore.com

Good integrity of movement and efficiency. 

Probably the most important aspects of movement efficiency, or what some call virtuosity, are strength, coordination and mobility.  If one of these facets is missing an athlete's internal power output will be much greater to achieve the same amount of work and they'll be leaking energy with every repetition.  Besides, no one wants to be a leaky athlete that's just gross!

For example, you can have all of the mobility in the world but without the strength to maintain it you will fall out of a good position under stress.  Conversely, you can be very strong but without the mobility to get into a good front rack position to propel a bar off of, you will always be muscling overhead movements with your shoulders and burning them out quickly.  Coordination comes in play by being able to transition from one efficient position to another using the least amount of energy required.

Here's a little front squat video demonstrating efficient technique vs. what I like to call the squatting dog technique. This video also proves you don't have to be elite to move well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehR3d6NuQE

Developed aerobic base

This one is easy to explain.  The Open qualifies you for Regionals and it consists of hundreds of repetitions and multiple workouts lasting over 10 minutes.  Without an aerobic base it's hard to maintain a pace throughout workouts such as these.

Example of what a 10min. workout can do to you.

High level of skill acquisition

Most athletes at the Regional level are somewhat gifted in the areas of learning new skills.  They don't have to be elite or get muscle-ups their first day, but in general they should have above average body awareness.  With the number of different skills included in CrossFit® at the Regional level now it's important to be able to learn them in a timely manner just because there are so many to get good at! 

Proficiency in the olympic lifts

Like it or not olympic lifting is a very large part of CrossFit® and the best at CrossFit® are in the upper echelon of olympic lifting CrossFitters as well.  Here is a chart showing the % break down Olympic lifting takes up compared to other movements at the Open, Regionals and the Games.

Full link to the interesting article is here, along with a ton of other statistics.  This guy is obsessed with CrossFit® statistics! http://cfganalysis.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-closer-look-at-2014-games-programming.html

The ability to go to the dark place mentally and physically.

When I first started CrossFit® I was not in the greatest shape at my gym but I would continually beat people in better shape than me because I was more willing to hurt.  After enough time of doing this they could no longer beat me even if they had wanted to hurt.  In order to progress you have to want to go faster and get better more than you want the pain to stop.  It's as simple as that.  The other thing is no matter how far you progress if you're going hard enough there will always be a workout that takes you into the dark place.  And the dark place never gets easier, you just get faster there!  


Adequate recovery.  

This includes getting enough sleep and a low stress environment outside of the gym.  If you're getting 80% of the sleep you need you can be guaranteed you'll have 80% of the energy you need during your workouts.  You also will not be healing as well because most growth hormone production happens while you're sleeping.  Additionally, if you are in mental anguish outside of the gym and hurting emotionally it's hard to make yourself want to hurt physically.  The body interprets physical and mental stress much in the same way.  It knows when it's dealing with too much and won't allow you to push as hard or else it will start to break down.  

Don't be that guy.

Nutrition regimen that works for the individual 

There is no one way for athletes to eat.  Some need to perform on an empty stomach and others need to be eating something on the start line.  The percentages of macros is also individual, as is total calories.  The one thing that remains consistent though is athletes need to fuel themselves well enough for performance and recovery, and this means not skipping any energy substrate.  You may eat lower fat or low carb, but you can't not eat them and do well.  It's important athletes experiment to find out what's optimal for them, and that doesn't always mean being super clean either.  This will take recording things and observing the effects with some trial and error, but it really does make a difference and is one of the things that is easily controllable when it comes to performance.  I can't control my femur length, but I can control what I put into my body so might as well do it! 

The ability to focus during a workout and mastering the mental game. 

Often new CrossFitters get tunnel vision when they start a workout.  You know the look, like deer in headlights, unaware of the drool dripping onto their shirt as they bend forward hands on knees looking at a wall ball that might as well be 100lbs now.  This is about the point where people report that they miscounted (but that's a whole other issue!)  You could replace their wall ball with one 15lbs heavier and they might not even be coherent enough to realize something has changed from the last round and check their equipment.  They may know it's harder but the ability to think within a workout and realize things aren't going as they should and then adapt is imperative to success in competition.  

I think the mental game in CrossFit® is very under-emphasized.  There is a lot of strategy to many workouts, and a good competitor can focus well enough to implement the strategy or even change it when needed. Instances where this is the case might be a strict or even non-communicative judge.  While you need to be focused on what you're doing you also have to pay attention and if you're getting no-repped figure it out as quickly as you can.  Other mistakes due to lack of focus are things like grabbing the wrong object to run with, transitioning to the wrong exercise, or forgetting the rep scheme all together.  Beyond staying in your own game with all of this, the next level is being able to juggle your own performance while gauging where your competition is.  Are you able to catch them without reaching beyond your own limits and blowing up?  Is the risk worth the reward for trying?  And if you're really good can you push at just the right time to make your competition question themselves and break?  See what I mean by the mental side?

 

A training program that makes progressive sense.

This one should be obvious.  There are many skills in CrossFit® and you should be sure you are practicing all of them with enough frequency to be proficient.  There should also be a focus on weaknesses in your program.  Cherry picking will not get you to Regionals, and if by chance it does you can bet the programming will make cherry pure out of you.  That's just how it seems to go, but it's the beauty of CrossFit®.  If you want your deficiencies exposed, go compete.  That said you can't complete hero workout after hero workout without diminishing returns at some point either.  That's the progressive part.  Training should be varied and challenging, not random and demolishing.  

Desire to achieve and work ethic.

No one in CrossFit® gets to Regionals without putting in the work anymore.  I have yet to see even the most talented athlete come in and have no weakness their first day or month for that matter.  The work ethic required to turn a weakness into a strength is one of the keys to mastering this sport and differentiates athletes with time.  Mostly because the person with the fewest weakness, not the most or greatest strengths, is usually the overall winner.  

Working weaknesses is usually not fun either.  That's where the discipline comes in.  Becoming competitive requires the ability to stick to a skill until you master it and the tenacity to stick to a lifting program until you get stronger.  I've seen many class members try muscle-ups and when they don't get them after a few minutes abandon the endeavor.  The approach from someone hell bent on competing is quite different and goes something like this: research on progressions towards a muscle-up, relentless practice of those progressions and the ability to delay gratification while their strength increases until one day they get their muscle-up. Then the process begins again when they want to learn to string them together efficiently.  It's never ending.  You can always add more weight to the bar, make a skill harder in some way, or go faster. 

That's sort of the beauty of it as well.  You may arrive at game day, but you never truly "arrive" as a progressing athlete and you can't cheat the grind.  It knows if you've worked for it and competition will reveal it.  I've had people surprised before by how hard I work.  I think they view the top athletes in our sport as just being more gifted, and in many other sports that might just be the case. In CrossFit® the top athletes, however gifted, all work as hard as anyone in any other sport.  I've seen a World Champion Decathlete train over the course of months while I was in college on the UT track team and most Games athlete's training is harder.  So hard that you really have to be desirous of it because training with a work ethic that great isn't for everyone!  For those who think it is go back through the list and start checking them off!   

Read more

10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete

Posted by Talayna Fortunato on

10 traits you need to be a great Crossfitter and Regional Athlete from WODSuperStore.com

Good integrity of movement and efficiency. 

Probably the most important aspects of movement efficiency, or what some call virtuosity, are strength, coordination and mobility.  If one of these facets is missing an athlete's internal power output will be much greater to achieve the same amount of work and they'll be leaking energy with every repetition.  Besides, no one wants to be a leaky athlete that's just gross!

For example, you can have all of the mobility in the world but without the strength to maintain it you will fall out of a good position under stress.  Conversely, you can be very strong but without the mobility to get into a good front rack position to propel a bar off of, you will always be muscling overhead movements with your shoulders and burning them out quickly.  Coordination comes in play by being able to transition from one efficient position to another using the least amount of energy required.

Here's a little front squat video demonstrating efficient technique vs. what I like to call the squatting dog technique. This video also proves you don't have to be elite to move well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehR3d6NuQE

Developed aerobic base

This one is easy to explain.  The Open qualifies you for Regionals and it consists of hundreds of repetitions and multiple workouts lasting over 10 minutes.  Without an aerobic base it's hard to maintain a pace throughout workouts such as these.

Example of what a 10min. workout can do to you.

High level of skill acquisition

Most athletes at the Regional level are somewhat gifted in the areas of learning new skills.  They don't have to be elite or get muscle-ups their first day, but in general they should have above average body awareness.  With the number of different skills included in CrossFit® at the Regional level now it's important to be able to learn them in a timely manner just because there are so many to get good at! 

Proficiency in the olympic lifts

Like it or not olympic lifting is a very large part of CrossFit® and the best at CrossFit® are in the upper echelon of olympic lifting CrossFitters as well.  Here is a chart showing the % break down Olympic lifting takes up compared to other movements at the Open, Regionals and the Games.

Full link to the interesting article is here, along with a ton of other statistics.  This guy is obsessed with CrossFit® statistics! http://cfganalysis.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-closer-look-at-2014-games-programming.html

The ability to go to the dark place mentally and physically.

When I first started CrossFit® I was not in the greatest shape at my gym but I would continually beat people in better shape than me because I was more willing to hurt.  After enough time of doing this they could no longer beat me even if they had wanted to hurt.  In order to progress you have to want to go faster and get better more than you want the pain to stop.  It's as simple as that.  The other thing is no matter how far you progress if you're going hard enough there will always be a workout that takes you into the dark place.  And the dark place never gets easier, you just get faster there!  


Adequate recovery.  

This includes getting enough sleep and a low stress environment outside of the gym.  If you're getting 80% of the sleep you need you can be guaranteed you'll have 80% of the energy you need during your workouts.  You also will not be healing as well because most growth hormone production happens while you're sleeping.  Additionally, if you are in mental anguish outside of the gym and hurting emotionally it's hard to make yourself want to hurt physically.  The body interprets physical and mental stress much in the same way.  It knows when it's dealing with too much and won't allow you to push as hard or else it will start to break down.  

Don't be that guy.

Nutrition regimen that works for the individual 

There is no one way for athletes to eat.  Some need to perform on an empty stomach and others need to be eating something on the start line.  The percentages of macros is also individual, as is total calories.  The one thing that remains consistent though is athletes need to fuel themselves well enough for performance and recovery, and this means not skipping any energy substrate.  You may eat lower fat or low carb, but you can't not eat them and do well.  It's important athletes experiment to find out what's optimal for them, and that doesn't always mean being super clean either.  This will take recording things and observing the effects with some trial and error, but it really does make a difference and is one of the things that is easily controllable when it comes to performance.  I can't control my femur length, but I can control what I put into my body so might as well do it! 

The ability to focus during a workout and mastering the mental game. 

Often new CrossFitters get tunnel vision when they start a workout.  You know the look, like deer in headlights, unaware of the drool dripping onto their shirt as they bend forward hands on knees looking at a wall ball that might as well be 100lbs now.  This is about the point where people report that they miscounted (but that's a whole other issue!)  You could replace their wall ball with one 15lbs heavier and they might not even be coherent enough to realize something has changed from the last round and check their equipment.  They may know it's harder but the ability to think within a workout and realize things aren't going as they should and then adapt is imperative to success in competition.  

I think the mental game in CrossFit® is very under-emphasized.  There is a lot of strategy to many workouts, and a good competitor can focus well enough to implement the strategy or even change it when needed. Instances where this is the case might be a strict or even non-communicative judge.  While you need to be focused on what you're doing you also have to pay attention and if you're getting no-repped figure it out as quickly as you can.  Other mistakes due to lack of focus are things like grabbing the wrong object to run with, transitioning to the wrong exercise, or forgetting the rep scheme all together.  Beyond staying in your own game with all of this, the next level is being able to juggle your own performance while gauging where your competition is.  Are you able to catch them without reaching beyond your own limits and blowing up?  Is the risk worth the reward for trying?  And if you're really good can you push at just the right time to make your competition question themselves and break?  See what I mean by the mental side?

 

A training program that makes progressive sense.

This one should be obvious.  There are many skills in CrossFit® and you should be sure you are practicing all of them with enough frequency to be proficient.  There should also be a focus on weaknesses in your program.  Cherry picking will not get you to Regionals, and if by chance it does you can bet the programming will make cherry pure out of you.  That's just how it seems to go, but it's the beauty of CrossFit®.  If you want your deficiencies exposed, go compete.  That said you can't complete hero workout after hero workout without diminishing returns at some point either.  That's the progressive part.  Training should be varied and challenging, not random and demolishing.  

Desire to achieve and work ethic.

No one in CrossFit® gets to Regionals without putting in the work anymore.  I have yet to see even the most talented athlete come in and have no weakness their first day or month for that matter.  The work ethic required to turn a weakness into a strength is one of the keys to mastering this sport and differentiates athletes with time.  Mostly because the person with the fewest weakness, not the most or greatest strengths, is usually the overall winner.  

Working weaknesses is usually not fun either.  That's where the discipline comes in.  Becoming competitive requires the ability to stick to a skill until you master it and the tenacity to stick to a lifting program until you get stronger.  I've seen many class members try muscle-ups and when they don't get them after a few minutes abandon the endeavor.  The approach from someone hell bent on competing is quite different and goes something like this: research on progressions towards a muscle-up, relentless practice of those progressions and the ability to delay gratification while their strength increases until one day they get their muscle-up. Then the process begins again when they want to learn to string them together efficiently.  It's never ending.  You can always add more weight to the bar, make a skill harder in some way, or go faster. 

That's sort of the beauty of it as well.  You may arrive at game day, but you never truly "arrive" as a progressing athlete and you can't cheat the grind.  It knows if you've worked for it and competition will reveal it.  I've had people surprised before by how hard I work.  I think they view the top athletes in our sport as just being more gifted, and in many other sports that might just be the case. In CrossFit® the top athletes, however gifted, all work as hard as anyone in any other sport.  I've seen a World Champion Decathlete train over the course of months while I was in college on the UT track team and most Games athlete's training is harder.  So hard that you really have to be desirous of it because training with a work ethic that great isn't for everyone!  For those who think it is go back through the list and start checking them off!   

Read more


5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Open

Posted by Kyle Ruth on

5 Tips to help you prepare for the Open - Kyle Ruth
  1. Plan to Repeat the Workouts
    In my experience, most people’s first attempt at a test like an Open workout is fraught with mistakes. For the most part, we go into them not really knowing what to expect and end up with terrible pacing strategies. Repeating the workouts gives us a chance to learn from our mistakes and improve our pacing strategy. I’ve found that athletes can commonly improve by 3-5% on their second attempt just by knowing what to expect and how to pace correctly for the workout. You might be thinking 5% isn’t a very big margin of improvement but on workout 12.1 if you scored 120 in the 7 minutes of burpees then repeated the workout and scored 126 (5% improvement) you would have moved from 1995th place in the world to 793rd place in the world.
  2. Film your Workouts
    Even though there are new rules this year requiring anyone who plans to qualify for Regionals to film their workouts...I believe EVERYONE should film their workout. Reviewing video footage of yourself dramatically improves learning and will let you objectively determine your weak points (and eliminate them if you repeat the workout like I suggest in #1). Motor learning research consistently shows that people who watch themselves perform a movement make faster progress than those who don't. Use tools like your smartphone to get ahead of the curve. Check out the Perchmount Fit - it's the perfect tool to help you film your WOD!
  3. Stop Leaderboarding
    Everyone has different goals coming into the Open, some people are sign-up to enjoy the experience and camaraderie, others are trying to qualify for Regionals. If your goal is to maximize your placing, then you need to spend more time focusing on your performance and not getting caught up in the fanfare. Spending hours browsing through the leader board isn’t going to make you any closer to qualifying! Nothing is more distracting than watching your name drop down the leader board each hour, it can become addictive. I KNOW as well as anyone. Spend time finding YOUR weak links (by following my advice in #1 and #2!) and then attack them!
  4. Take Care of your Hands
    Rips take FOREVER to heal completely (mine from WODapalooza 4 weeks ago are FINALLY healed!). The best strategy is to prevent them in the first place (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?). My suggestion is to get a pair of gloves or gymnastics grips, and practice with them in the weeks and days leading into the Open. There is no reason to try to show how “tough” you are during the Open...let your performance do the talking without the headache of ripped hands. Basic callous maintenance goes a really long way when you're potentially doing 10 tests over 5 weeks. 
    Check out our Hand Rips collection to get everything you need to protect, manage and repair! 
  5. Be Confident in your Preparation...by Being Prepared
    There will be muscle-ups, there will be double-unders, the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar...you need to be prepared for these movements because they WILL show up. If you haven’t mastered these movements you need start spending time on them right now! For skill based movements like double-unders this might mean simply practicing before and after your workouts. Movements like chest-to-bar pull-ups and muscle-ups have both skill and strength components, your program needs to be developing both.
Aside from that...good luck and leave everything out there. 

Kyle Ruth, M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW
WOD SuperStore Athlete
Owner: CrossFit LKN

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5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Open

Posted by Kyle Ruth on

5 Tips to help you prepare for the Open - Kyle Ruth
  1. Plan to Repeat the Workouts
    In my experience, most people’s first attempt at a test like an Open workout is fraught with mistakes. For the most part, we go into them not really knowing what to expect and end up with terrible pacing strategies. Repeating the workouts gives us a chance to learn from our mistakes and improve our pacing strategy. I’ve found that athletes can commonly improve by 3-5% on their second attempt just by knowing what to expect and how to pace correctly for the workout. You might be thinking 5% isn’t a very big margin of improvement but on workout 12.1 if you scored 120 in the 7 minutes of burpees then repeated the workout and scored 126 (5% improvement) you would have moved from 1995th place in the world to 793rd place in the world.
  2. Film your Workouts
    Even though there are new rules this year requiring anyone who plans to qualify for Regionals to film their workouts...I believe EVERYONE should film their workout. Reviewing video footage of yourself dramatically improves learning and will let you objectively determine your weak points (and eliminate them if you repeat the workout like I suggest in #1). Motor learning research consistently shows that people who watch themselves perform a movement make faster progress than those who don't. Use tools like your smartphone to get ahead of the curve. Check out the Perchmount Fit - it's the perfect tool to help you film your WOD!
  3. Stop Leaderboarding
    Everyone has different goals coming into the Open, some people are sign-up to enjoy the experience and camaraderie, others are trying to qualify for Regionals. If your goal is to maximize your placing, then you need to spend more time focusing on your performance and not getting caught up in the fanfare. Spending hours browsing through the leader board isn’t going to make you any closer to qualifying! Nothing is more distracting than watching your name drop down the leader board each hour, it can become addictive. I KNOW as well as anyone. Spend time finding YOUR weak links (by following my advice in #1 and #2!) and then attack them!
  4. Take Care of your Hands
    Rips take FOREVER to heal completely (mine from WODapalooza 4 weeks ago are FINALLY healed!). The best strategy is to prevent them in the first place (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?). My suggestion is to get a pair of gloves or gymnastics grips, and practice with them in the weeks and days leading into the Open. There is no reason to try to show how “tough” you are during the Open...let your performance do the talking without the headache of ripped hands. Basic callous maintenance goes a really long way when you're potentially doing 10 tests over 5 weeks. 
    Check out our Hand Rips collection to get everything you need to protect, manage and repair! 
  5. Be Confident in your Preparation...by Being Prepared
    There will be muscle-ups, there will be double-unders, the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar...you need to be prepared for these movements because they WILL show up. If you haven’t mastered these movements you need start spending time on them right now! For skill based movements like double-unders this might mean simply practicing before and after your workouts. Movements like chest-to-bar pull-ups and muscle-ups have both skill and strength components, your program needs to be developing both.
Aside from that...good luck and leave everything out there. 

Kyle Ruth, M.S., CSCS, CFL-1, USAW
WOD SuperStore Athlete
Owner: CrossFit LKN

Read more