The CrossFit Open is near.
According to the CrossFit Games website, “The CrossFit Open unites hundreds of thousands of athletes around the world to compete in the world’s largest participatory sporting event in history. The 2021 season kicks off March 11 with the three-week CrossFit Open. Registration is live. Sign up today!”
We are just over a month away from the start of the Open, which will feature five weekly workouts to test our overall fitness. Per the blurb above, there are three weeks where everyone is competing, and then there are two weeks designed to weed out the top 10% for selection to the CrossFit Games, but we’ll all complete those workouts too just for fun!
The time is now to focus your training plan on preparing for the Open. This starts with workout selection and overall volume of training. What we can expect in the Open is a combination of short, super-intense workouts featuring tests of strength and skill, and longer (20 mins) grueling workouts that require mental toughness to keep going. But one thing we will not see is multiple workouts in one session.
If you have a goal to do well in the Open, your training volume should now be minimal. If you’re in the practice of doing multiple workouts per day, consider just one workout per day now, and focus on maximizing your effort and results in that workout. Additional training time should be focused on practicing weak gymnastics movements and improving your mobility. Doing multiple workouts per day will not allow you to maximize your intensity on each individual session and also will inhibit your recovery between training days. You will enter into the first workout of the Open depleted, not at your peak. Take the time now to dial back the amount of training that you are doing, and focus more on the quality of execution.
Speaking of quality, the other thing about the Open is that as fun as it is — and it awesome that everyone can participate no matter their experience within the sport — there are real, enforced standards. That’s how we can use the Open as a feeder into the CrossFit Games! What this means as far as the athlete’s experience in the Open is that rather than a coach letting you know you’re not getting your chin over the bar during your set of pull-ups, and suggesting some ways to improve, it will be more like a judge (a coach or another CFKI member) telling you that that rep did not count, you have to do it over. If you are someone that has a hard time always meeting the movement standards, but you can do it sometimes, the time is now to meet the standard in your training 100% of the time. Ask someone to watch you and call you out on your wallballs – “Am I squatting all the way below parallel?” Fix your movement patterns now (and your mindset that close is good enough), so that the Open doesn’t turn into a hard-to-swallow pill that your perceived fitness level and your actual fitness level are not the same thing.
And once again, the Open is for everyone! If there are movements that you cannot complete “as prescribed”, just like in a regular training day in the gym, there are scaled standards that everyone can do. They might not be easy, as we all know a scaled workout is still a tough test to get through, but you will step up to the challenge.
There are also different standards on many workouts for masters athletes (35+), teens, and for the first time this year, adaptive athletes.
If you can’t tell, I’m super pumped about the upcoming CrossFit Open and can’t wait for the excitement of the workout announcements live each week on Thursday nights, the thrill of competing in this annual test, and especially for the new personal records that the adrenaline of competition often brings out. We’ve seen many first pull-ups, first handstand push-ups, and muscle-ups come out of these springtime weeks every year!