Open Question – The CrossFit Open and You

Today is the first day of the 2016 CrossFit Open! And what a doozy Dave Castro has planned for 16.1:

20-min. AMRAP:

25-ft. overhead lunge
8 burpees
25-ft. overhead lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

M 95 lb. W 65 lb.


CrossFit boxes all over the world have marked out 25-foot lanes for today, and more than a third of the members at my own gym will participate on behalf of Team SCCF Strong this weekend.

Over the next five weeks, they’ll tackle additional workouts designed to challenge their fitness and mental resilience. They’ll post their scores to a worldwide leaderboard and see where they stand.


I say “they” because I’m not doing it. Nope. In two weeks I’ll be lifting at the British Master’s Weightlifting Championships, and my main competitive goal this year is to break the British Master’s record in my division. That is currently:

  • 62.5 kg snatch
  • 72.5 kg clean and jerk
  • 135 kg total

My current bests in training are 61 and 74 respectively, but I don’t believe those are representative of my true capability. I’m narrowly missing out on 65 kg snatches (I even bounced one off my skull last Saturday, resulting in a mild concussion that entertained Sarah) and 80 kg clean and jerks. By the end of this round of the taper programme I reckon I could put up 63 and 77 in competition for a total of 140.

So I’m not about to jeopardise that potential performance by doing an Open workout that’s guaranteed to result in this:


However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Yes, you. Consider:

Four Reasons Why You Should Do the CrossFit Open

#1: It’s Fun – Most people trying to convince you to do the Open will put this point last, but for me it’s definitely the main attraction. This could be down to the fact that as a freelancer who mainly works from home I am basically a sad, sad recluse.

But it could also be that getting together in a big group of friends to take on a challenge– whether it’s climbing a mountain, helping someone move house, or participating in a hand-shredding lungefest like the one described above– is guaranteed to be a good laugh.

There will be plenty of banter, high fives for good performances, and commiseration over the sheer awfulness of some of the challenges set. Nobody who did 12.1– seven minutes to get as many burpees as possible— ever wants to do it again.


Except possibly my friend Sam, but he’s a very disturbed individual. Hi, Sam.



#2: You’ll Push Yourself – Lots of people get firsts and break personal bests during the Open. My first toes-to-bar, double-unders, and 45kg snatch all happened in preparation for (or even during) open workouts.

Hate box jumps? If you want to see a score that matches what you’re capable of, you’ll have to do them. Never done a muscle-up? Now is the time to grab a coach or ninja pal who can help you work out what you need to do to get one.

While the vast majority of us will never be elite, or even competitive, athletes, we do all have a drive to see ourselves improve and achieve. Many times in my life I’ve found that minor achievements in the gym provide the confidence I need to go after a major one outside of it. The Open can be a great environment for getting the train of wins rolling.

#3: You’ll Establish a New Baseline – When the Open is finished, you will be able to look back at what you did and evaluate your performance. Are there particular elements you know you could have done better? When you didn’t do as well as you thought you would, was it down to lack of skill or a psychological factor?

The variations present in Open workouts give you a chance to see where your strengths and weaknesses are across all areas of fitness. You’ll have the information you need to set new goals for the summer.

You may also discover a new favourite element. I remember realising halfway through 13.3 that I was actually enjoying the wall balls. I look out for them in WODs now.


#unbroken #sharethegrind @wildwestfitness @sccf_uk @minibiglifts

A post shared by Rose (@rose.judson) on


Thrusters still suck ass, though.

#4 – MiniBIG’s Doing It. Yep, really. Apparently she has some sort of brain parasite causing erratic behaviour, because this morning she asked Dave if she could do the Open as part of her Operation microBIG cardio quotient:


So she must now lunge and burpee her way to glory– or at least to a -53kg weigh-in.

Go on, CrossFitters, see if you can beat her. You have nothing to lose but your legs, your lungs, some skin off your hands, and a few of the limitations you’ve been placing on yourselves. Sign up while there’s still time.



One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s