The CrossFit Open begins at the end of February, and once again, we’ll be gearing up for it over the next eight 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. Last year, 272,000 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. Last year, CrossFit also announced the first ever scaled division of the CrossFit Open.
For most people, participating in the Open will be a truly positive experience–especially with the scaled division, which makes it accessible to just about any ability level. If you sign up and commit to participating in every workout, it will truly show you your strengths and weaknesses and give you renewed focus to improve your skills and fitness in 2016. With that said, 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.
How will our “Open Focus” work this time around? This year, our strength focus will place an emphasis toward barbell movements we expect to see in the CrossFit Open, such as thrusters, deadlifts, overhead squats, and olympic lifts. We will be working on getting comfortable at heavy weights for these movements, as well as building muscular endurance at lighter loads for higher reps. For our skill work, we will be working on building reps and practicing common gymnastics movements featured in the Open, such as chest-to-bar pull-ups, toes to bar, and handstand push-ups. We will also work on building a big engine for common conditioning movements like box jumps, wall balls, and burpees, both in WODs and in targeted skill work.
In addition to the weekly class work, we will also be doing a judged Open workout from a previous year every Saturday at 11am. If you plan on participating in the Open this year, we HIGHLY recommend trying to come to as many of these as possible. It allows you more practice with the movements and pacing of the competition, it will give you a chance to practice being held to the standards and rules of the actual competition, and if you participated in the Open in previous years, it’s a great way to see how you’ve improved. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything prescribed, because we’ll be modifying in a way consistent with last year’s scaled division rules as well.
If you are interested in registering for the open, registration begins January 14th at http://games.crossfit.com. We will keep you posted on team registration and additional details as they become available.