The Open at 353
You might have heard some whispers around the gym about “The Open”. Coaches huddled in dark corners talking about it, telling people that this is what our programming revolves around. Fellow members reminiscing on old Open stories about how horrible the workouts are. But what is the Open exactly?
The annually held CrossFit Games represents the finals for the world’s top (professional) CrossFit athletes to compete for the title of fittest man and woman on earth. This is the same as Bolt sprinting the 100m or Katey Taylor bating a load of young ‘wans’ in Rio. So how does that relate to you and I? Well in order to qualify for the games you first need to qualify for regionals. Regionals take the top athletes from Europe, Africa, Asia etc and pit them against each other. In order to qualify for regionals every CrossFit athlete has to qualify out of the Open. This is the equivalent of Bolt turning up in Santry to run the 100m qualifiers beside Royce & Gaz as the first step on the road to Olympic Gold!!
In practice the Open is one workout a week for 5 weeks, starting Feb 24th. What this means for is that for 353 we will use Friday/Saturday as our focus for the week. Monday-Wednesday will be light to moderate WODs with a lot of skill work. Thursdays will be a really light day used to flush the body out. Then Friday is game time. Last year 300,000 CrossFitters from around the world signed up and took part. It’s a super way to test your fitness, taste as much (or as little) of a competitive environment as you like and throwdown with your pals and coaches alike! Oh and you can also see how you compare to every other athlete in the world.
Last year we split the gym into 6 teams, with each coach getting a team. We use the 5 weeks as an in house team competition with each member’s weekly effort contributing to the team’s score.
We find each year people push themselves in the open unlike other workouts they do. The energy in the gym is electric and often we see people hitting their first toe to bar, first pull up, double under or complete a movement that previously alluded them.
The workouts are simple. Normally two or three elements that can leave you on your back asking why do I even CrossFit (ask coach Kev 😉 ). There is of course the option to scale everything if you’re not yet ready for some pieces. For example if muscle ups come up and we don’t have them, we can choose the scaled option that week which might be jumping pull ups.
We run the Open WoDs as our class WoD every Friday. You’ll come in, warm up and then get the chance to throwdown. You will also get a judge, either a fellow member or a coach. The purpose of this is to help count your reps and to make sure the movement standards are good. For example to make sure you hit your target on a WallBall, or get your elbows high on a clean. We will also be holding an open gym from 1030-1230 on Saturday for people to attempt the Open if they can’t do it on Friday. These will be the only two days that we will run the Open.
The Open represents a great barometer for individual progress. You will learn exactly where you are with certain movements and return to class excited to improve. Last years Open changed me. I had a paradigm shift on coaching, programming and working out. I realised that it’s not about being just being crazy strong. It’s about moving well and being fit. Can I move well 12mins into a 20min workout? Can I link my gymnastics when tired and breathing heavy? It didn’t matter that I had a 145kg clean. I didn’t get the opportunity to use it. I wasn’t fit enough! The open gave me focus and a clear path on what I wanted to achieve as a coach and athlete. I realised that programming for the open is the same for programming for life:
- Keeping healthy and injury free
- Moving well under fatigue
- Building your engine
- Improving your gymnastic capacity
We used to program and train with a strength priority. We would do strength first and then hit a WOD. Why?? The more I trained with strength bias the heavier I got, the creakier my joints felt and the less conditioned I became (but whocares – I was gettin’ dem gains right)? We now program to a conditioning bias ⅘ days a week. We come in, get warm then get after the workout. Depending what the workout is we do an after bash of some gymnastics or movement practice. I follow the class programming at CrossFit 353 6 days a week and have never been fitter, leaner or better prepared for the open (just saying).
I am really excited for this years Open. After Team Rides (whose team was that?) won last year we will look to do it again. It’s alway a fun time and if you have any questions/are unsure about any of it please get in touch with me or any of the coaches – e| [email protected]
Coach Gaz x