I just received an email yesterday. From CrossFit. Maybe you received the same one? The headline: The Open begins in 42 days!
I love Open season for many reasons:
Community. The Open brings everyone together. Aside from being a fun topic of conversation, getting a large group together to judge one another and perform the workout is a great time. Everyone is cheering for one another, we bring each other up, and as a team get the best effort from each individual.
I love the idea of performing a random workout. When CrossFit began in the early 2000’s it was all about preparing for the unknown and unknowable. It’s a bit of an exaggeration since we do Crossfit movements all of the time, however it is a fun concept, and if you’ve done the Open before it’s fun to watch the announcement and see what the workout will be each week.
I love the Challenge of competing against my former self. I have participated in the Open every year since 2012. I can look back at the CrossFit Games website and view every performance from each year, in each workout. It is extremely fun to look back and see the strides I’ve made since 2012, when I did the Open with 2 months of self-instructed CrossFit experience. The journey has been the fun part and the benchmark you set each year stands until you take part again the next year. I remember each workout vividly.
We all push a little harder when our scores are going public. It’s just a fact. The Open brings out the best effort in everyone.
Being judged is fun. Having a judge oversee your workout is validation that the hard work put in each day is legitimate. If you practice correctly you will minimize no reps in competition. Practice with excellence and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
The opportunity for feedback. Every year, every year, your weaknesses will be exposed. Whether it’s conditioning, strength, skill, or a combo of things, the array of workout styles, movements, and time domains that the Open presents will challenge all of us in the areas where we need to improve. That means opportunity to set new goals. Here is my personal journey of struggle and redemption with the CrossFit Open:
2012/12.4: After completing Karen, 150 wallballs, in about 7 minutes, I did 46 double unders in the remaining 5 minutes. That was frustrating.
2013/13.5 + 13.4: After completing 15 thrusters, 15 chest to bar pullups, 15 more thrusters, and 5 more chest to bar pullups in about 2 and a half minutes, I spent the remaining 90 seconds struggling, and getting no repped, attempting to complete chest to bar pullups. In that 90 seconds I completed 4 successful reps. #fatigue. However, 13.3, was a repeat of the prior year’s 12.4. This time I did the wallballs, completed the 90 double unders, quickly, in 3 sets of 30, and then spent the remaining 4 minutes of the workout slugging out, I mean slugging out, 1 ring muscle up. That was a bittersweet experience.
2014/14.4: This workout showed me, again, that my gymnastics endurance/efficiency did not match my leg endurance. I spent the last 4 minutes of the 14 minute workout, struggling, succeeding, and failing ring muscle ups for a total of 7 reps. 6 more in the 4 minutes than last year. Still unsatisfied.
2015/15.4: Power cleans = my jam, Handstand pushups = my nemesis. This 8 minute workout shut me down and left me a little frustrated. In 8 minutes I completed 63 reps total for the workout, again reinforcing a gymnastics weakness. My best score of this open, by far, was 15.5, rowing and thrusters. Again, reinforcing the wide gap between my motor skills and my technical skills. All hustle and no finesse.
2016: My best workouts, 16.1 and 16.5. 16.1 had Burpees, overhead lunges, and small rep chest to bar pullups. 16.5, a repeat of 14.5 which I was able to PR by over 2 minutes. Worst scores, by far, 16.2 which had sets of 25 toes to bars, 16.3 which had bar muscle ups, and 16.4 with handstand pushups, again. Trend? I think so. I vowed to not let gymnastics be my nemesis anymore. I developed a plan to add focused gymnastics work into my free time, 15-20 minutes 2-3x per week. Same mistakes.
2017: We were building out Troy CrossFit during this open season and my open was sporadic with a missed workout. However, the gymnastics focus helped as 17.4 was a repeat of 16.4, ending with handstand pushups. I completed that one for my best score of the open, and a substantial placement increase from the previous year. My worst score was a high rep bar muscle up workout, my best, DB power snatches and burpee box jump overs, high effort, lower skill workout, my jam. Small Redemptions.
2018: Our first Open at Troy CrossFit! What a great time. This Open kept my heart full. The workouts were awesome and our Community delivered. DY Kurty and Escalation dropped beats and it was just awesome. The Open, for me, was more about US and less about ME, with that said, I had some great improvements as well as some new insights. My best workouts 18.2a, 18.1, and 18.4 had some key gymnastics movements with manageable reps and were up my alley. They included toes to bar, burpees, and handstand pushups! My weaker workouts were 18.2b which had a heavy lift, in a fatigued state, after the workout,18.3 which contained high rep double unders which got me good, and 18.5 which had escalating chest to bars which really crushed my pacing. In all, I love this open, because it proved some different things than years past. One, I didn’t lift well when I was tired and it was heavy. And 2, my double unders needed endurance work. New goals.
The last year leading up to this Open has been great. Due to our even focus of lifting, gymnastics, and cardio, I feel great and am more prepared in the gymnastics arena than ever. I am strong although I’m still struggling with fatigued, heavyish lifting, and….my double unders are still questionable at higher reps. There is always something to work on. But, if you do it in a manner that promotes safety, growth, and camaraderie, you are more likely to get results and have fun, and those are the two things that keep me coming back for more.
I encourage each of you to consider signing up for the Open this year. Not to compete but to see what you’re capable of. The Open brings out everyone’s best effort. And when you bring your best effort, you get the best feedback on your strengths and weaknesses.
I am ready to be exposed. I am registered for the 2019 CrossFit Games Open. Will you?