The CrossFit Open

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

Why Do We CrossFit ?

Why do we CrossFit?

CrossFit in its purest form is a workout done either on your own or as a group of people. CrossFit as a company release workouts on their website every day. It’s beautiful, simple programming designed to bring intensity. It’s all we need. We don’t need anything more than what’s on the class board. If you are going to the games it’s a different kettle of fish. But, for 99% of us all we need is a bit of bloody CrossFit every day. Why a CrossFit gym then? Well that’s where the beauty lies. Like minded, fun, ridey(new word we made up) people all throwing down every day. It’s always easier to suffer together, the people are what makes 353 so special. The best tribe in the world.


CrossFit is an amazing conditioning platform. A methodology that combines everyday movements (squatting, deadlifting, pressing) with gymnastics and cardio elements to produce heartbreaking but rewarding workouts. It gets us ready for life and what life throws at us. It makes everyday life easier. I remember a time that I would be out of breath walking up to my bedroom, only a couple of stairs up. 

My goals as a CrossFit athlete(which by the way, I consider every single member that walks through our doors every day an athlete) have changed. My goal from making it to the games is long gone. I want to stay out of a nursing home. I want to be able to look after myself when i’m 98, on my 5th wife, riding my Vespa (with sidecar) around Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 14.51.56

We CrossFit to improve our quality life. We CrossFit to live pain free. We CrossFit so that when our grandkids want to kick a football around with us, we’re good to go.

We have incredible members at 353. One of those members is Paul Foxton. A true gentleman and someone that I chase in WOD’s every lunchtime. I can’t even keep up with the weight he has lost. He has transformed his body. Recently he’s gone back and played a GAA match with his old club Kilmacud. Something he thought at 38 years young was impossible. To me that’s why we CrossFit. As paul put it “I feel better now at 38, than I did at 28”.


CrossFit teaches us life lessons. It gives us an insight into the real world. When things get tough what do we do? We don’t give up, drop the head and shy away. We tackle obstacles head on and see them through. We achieve something everyday. We think a 20min AMRAP with 15 unbroken wallballs in it is impossible. Only to find out it’s not, we completed it.

CrossFit also teaches us that intensity is good for us. We shouldn’t avoid it, but embrace it. CrossFit shows use the difference between being in pain and being uncomfortable. We realise our world is not going to end, we just relax, stay calm, breathe and it will pass. CrossFit puts things into perspective too. Your boss is giving you a hard time? Try some assault bikes intervals and then you’ll realise what a hard time is. We realise that when we workout we are not in pain. We have not stepped on a nail and that nail has not gone through our foot. We are not in pain doing 9mins of burpees. We are just experiencing some discomfort. Our bodies are built to withstand high levels of discomfort. We tell ourselves “i’m okay, i’m uncomfortable but i’ll get through this. Everyone else is feeling the same thing, it’ll be ok”.Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 11.14.10There is a level of support in a CrossFit gym that is unique. Not dissimilar to playing a team sport. Former strangers who you have come to admire are cheering you on your last few reps. Applauding you for your effort. High fiving you and giving you that warm gentle smile that says “ I know how you feel, that was horrible, but we did it, we got through it” How often in your day do you get that? That someone says “do you know what Gaz, well bloody done”.

We as coaches have come to realise that when we coach, we are vulnerable. We are giving the people in the class a window into our souls. Showing you deep down who we are. Showing what we value and how we feel about ourselves. We show this from how we communicate to the group to how we represent ourselves. Hopefully we showing that we genuinely care about you. That for a coach to succeed, you as a member must succeed. We gain our gratification through your achievements and successes. I guess it’s somewhat of a quirky, unique context: our success is based on the successes of others.Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 11.15.09When we workout it keeps us in touch with who we are. We are getting ready for war. Will we run? Or will we attack these thrusters head on. Will we let out a war cry and absorb the adrenaline? Will we hit the 15 unbroken wallballs or will we sneak in 11… 16mins deep into a 20min AMRAP…. will we stop? 


Will we power through and reap the rewards? You think the WOD cannot be completed, but you complete it. You tell yourself that a pull up is impossible, but now you have pull ups. We think to ourselves in elements that a double under is a dark art of the samurai, but now we can link them in a workout. You stick with these impossible tasks. You keep your head down. Work hard. Stay humble. And you achieve, week in week out, tasks you thought could not be done. You persevered. CrossFit builds character, makes us stronger in body and more importantly in mind.

Whoa – got pretty deep and riled up there…soz!! 


Back to normal:

Sometimes CrossFit can be about showing up and having an hour to yourself. Switching off from the worries of the world and getting into your state of zen. That’s why we encourage people to get down to 353 whenever they can, we don’t have to flog ourselves and peel ourselves from the floor every day. Showing up, high fiving, moving and having a laugh is all it takes to help some of life’s little problems. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself. Well done on investing in yourself!

We are so lucky we get to move our bodies everyday. We don’t have to train. We get to train. Try to be present every day. Use positive self talk “I’m ok here” and try embrace the fatigue. Feel the blood rush through every inch of your body. Feel alive. We are getting our bodies ready for the long cold years ahead (morbid alert). We are surrounded by some amazing people that too share the lust to be better. That refuse to accept back pain as a part of life. That refuse to sit dormant in a wheelchair, just because at 90 that’s what society has deemed acceptable.

Why do we CrossFit? Because we recognise growth and learning is lifelong. We can only grow if we challenge ourselves and encourage challenge from others. We want to move well and move pain free. We realise intensity and discomfort are good for the soul. We realise that we are beautiful and amazing people in so many different ways we never knew. Some people judge beauty as skin deep. CrossFitters have redefined what beauty is. Inside a CrossFit gym beauty can be many things: a perfect air squat, a sweaty face, that post WOD hair, rough hands, a perfect deadlift, a warm smile, a refusal to quit, shared suffering, a joyful hello, an enthusiastic well done, perseverance, an arm around the shoulder, a bum tap, human beings, pride, impeccable posture, confident movement. Not being afraid to be different is how we define beauty.

So whether on your own or with a group try move every day, get your heart rate up and be nice to one another. Simple and effective – like CrossFit.


Thursday December 22nd

Warm Up

MB pass and squat circle
Spidey lunge
MB pass and lunge circle
Arch Crunch x10



16min Emom:

Min 1: 5 deadlift,

Min 2: 10 box jumps.

go in teams of 2.



3 x 500m row.

Time cap 2 mins per 500m row. Change over 30seconds. Rest is 5:30 mins between sets




Wednesday November 30th

Warm Up

Coach led pipe game + coach led mb pass game


Pump Work

Min 1: 8/8 strict press
Min2: 8/8 bent over row
Use kettlebells



5 rounds(10min cap):

50 doubles,

10 hang power cleans





Tuesday November 29th

Warm Up

coach led bear crawl

into barbell prep

x 4min



deadlift x 5 reps(3131)

e3mom x 15mins



12min amrap:
1-5 strict pull up,
10 push up
15 sit up

(scale up 1-5 muscle up, 10 hspu, 15 ttb)



Wednesday October 19th

Warm Up

4 mins:
stiff leg bear crawl
6 sit ups
Sumo squat
Shoulder Taps x6/6


e2mom x 12mins:

deadlift x 6reps(3131),

l2 rdl x 6reps



tabatta box jumps(all with small box).

rest 1 min,

tabatta air squats

rest 1 min.

tabatta cal row .

score is lowest reps each round


Saturday 8th October

Warm Up

In pairs: “you go – I go”
3 rounds:
5 Air Squat
5 Push Up
5 Lunges es
5 Burpee


9min AMRAP

9 burpee box jump squat

rest 2mins,

9min AMRAP 

9 push ups(hspu), 1-9 ttb

rest 2mins

9min AMRAP:

9 kb swings, 9 goblet squats


Friday October 7th

Warm Up

mb toss burpee + chase the pipe. Hip mobility


tabatta russian twist + plank,

tabtatta crunches + arch,

tabatatta russian twist + plank



50 doubles(l2 25, l1 50),

40 sit ups,

30 burpees


Thursday October 6th

Warm Up

Lines of 4:
High Knees
Heel Flicks
Side Shuffle
Bear Crawl
Reverse Lunge

to min 4


e3mom x 15mins:

bulgarian kb split squats x 10/10



In teams of 3 row as many meteres as possible in 21 mins:

change as needed 🙂


Wednesday October 5th

Warm Up

4 Kick Ups
4 Burpee
4 Jump jacks, 4 inch worms
3 rounds


15min AMRAP: teams of 3:

10 single arm kb stirct press


10 bb bent over row




Time cap 15mins:

3 rounds 30wb,

20 overhead kb swings,

10 c2b/pull ups/ring rows