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5 Tips for Surviving the 2016 CrossFit Open

by Janice Marie Ferguson

The CrossFit Open is coming up. If you’re new to CrossFit, and don’t know what “The Open” is, you may want to do a little catching up. You can start with this 2015 CrossFit Open promo video:


You can also go to the CrossFit Games Web site to read these:

The Open
2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Season Schedule

Why do you need to know what “The Open” is?
Bandit CrossFit will be participating in The Open every Friday-Monday for the month of March. Whether you pay the $20 registration fee to rank yourself on the worldwide leaderboard, or not, you’ll be doing the workouts every Friday, with the option to make them up on Saturday or Monday.

There should be very few surprises in the movements we’ll see in the Open. This will be my sixth year to participate. Over that time, there have only been 16 movements included in The Open. Some, like the snatch and thruster, have appeared every year. Others, like the pushup, have only been used once.

Open Movements 2011-2015
Photo courtesy of Anders Larson and his amazing blog, CFG Analysis.

Four movements in that list that will “mess up” placements, and cause a lot of self-loathing for CrossFitters around the world will likely include:

Muscle Ups
Double Unders
Toes to Bar
Chest to Bar Pull Ups

This will be my sixth year to do the CrossFit Open. And every year, those four movements have been included. Unfortunately, getting better at these things won’t happen overnight, and they won’t happen by just working on them when they come up in the daily workouts at the gym. You must practice what you aren’t good at, and on your own time.  

We’ve got about two months to go before the first workout is announced. That’s plenty of time to get our minds right and ready for the inevitable muscle up/double under/chest to bar/toes to bar workouts.  

A couple things to remember while you are preparing yourself mentally and physically:

1. When that workout with the muscle up comes, no amount of griping, complaining, and/or feeling sorry for yourself will make you any better at the holes in your game. The only way to make progress is to do the work, and do it again, and again, and again.

2. If you don’t have these skills, you must own up and be accountable for your part in your lackluster success.  

3. It’s OK if you don’t have these skills. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Not being “good” at double unders doesn’t reflect on your ability to be a good friend, a good gym mate, a good partner, a good employee, a good parent, a good artist, singer, dancer, cook, or anything else that you take pride in doing. But, please refer back to #1 and #2, when you begin to moan and groan about not being able to do these things.

4. This is a big one, and something I have seen repeated every year. I have done this myself a time, or two, so I come to you humbly with this one: Rather than spending 14 hours in one week trying to get a double under, chest to bar pull up, or muscle up, spend 15-20 minutes a day, or every other day, starting TODAY! You’ll make a lot more progress over the next two months, with just 15 minutes a day, than wrecking yourself for a solid week for an hour or two at a time trying to acquire a single skill.

5. I’m sorry if you’re the last one to know that your muscle up is not the only thing stopping you from moving on to the next step: Regionals. The CrossFit Open is designed as one step in the six-month-long process of naming the World’s Fittest man, woman and team at the Reebok CrossFit Games. To make it past the Open, you must be in the top 20 of our South Central Region in the Open. Moving through the different stages of competition gets more difficult with each passing year because of many variables: higher standards and more athletes competing in the competition are among the top reasons. Last year, there were 272,000 competitors in The Open. In the first year, 2011, there were only 26,000.  In fact, if you’re reading this, your odds of doing anything more than becoming a superstar amongst your gym mates, family, friends, and coworkers is VERY, VERY slim. I’m the last person to discourage someone’s goals, but we would all do well to accept the reality of what it takes to move on to the next level, and avoid getting too caught up in the “moving on to Regionals” part of the Open. Because the Open is also designed for the people who aren’t “moving on to Regionals.” If used properly, we can all use the Open to test and measure our skills and abilities from year-to-year. We can identify our weaknesses and holes in our fitness, and work with our coaches to use the data in making a solid and effective strategy to get better. We can compete for fun against our 2015 former selves, our friends, and our gym mates. We can compete for local bragging rights, or we can choose to work at our gym as a judge or cheerleader in supporting our friends and gym mates who have chosen to participate.

If you can keep these five things in mind, your Open experience can be a rewarding process that could be just the push you need to get that first muscle up, or to FINALLY master the double under. The Open belongs to you, and can be a powerful tool in your own fitness journey, if you will accept it for what it is.

The post 5 Tips for Surviving the 2016 CrossFit Open appeared first on Bandit CrossFit.

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