CrossFit Open

Each week, all of you CCSC die-hards march into the climate-extreme box that is our beloved gym to throw down.  The workouts are mentally and physically tough and, without a doubt, improve the fitness of all of us.

While you, our awesome members, find various ways to use this hard-earned fitness in your everyday lives, there is one area that not many of you have ventured to go: the competitive arena. WAIT! Before you scroll down to one of Coach Erica’s more-interesting posts below, hear me out. There’s this competition called the CrossFit Open. Last year, over 209,000 people worldwide participated. And this year, I’m challenging everyone reading this to do it, too.

If you are still reading, take a minute to look up from the screen, take a deep breath, and remember that I’m not crazy. Well, OK…whatever. Wondering what the CrossFit Open is? Great, you’re still here. The “Open” is how CrossFit finds its competitors to compete in its Regional competitions from which victorious athletes go on to the CrossFit Games; you know, the ones you see on ESPN each summer. Ok, seriously, take two breaths and stay with me; I’m getting to the part that involves you, me, and the 99.9% of all others who compete in the Open. (Seriously.  Of the 209,000 to do the Open in 2014, less than 1,500 men and women went on to compete at Regionals.)

So here’s the deal. Starting February 26, and continuing each Thursday until March 30, Games.Crossfit.com announces a new workout.  Competitors have four days to complete the newly announced workout before the next is released. These workouts can be completed anywhere and at any time as long as they are done either at a CrossFit affiliate or are videotaped and submitted for scores to be verified. Once scores are submitted to the CrossFit Games website they are then posted on the worldwide leader board. Some of this may sound intimidating, especially for those who have never thought of competing.  And that’s OK! In fact, if you are feeling nervous or apprehensive about giving it a go then you definitely should!

Let me break this down a bit more. First, the workouts are broken into prescribed and scaled versions. In all previous years the Open consisted of workouts that were only scaled for masters competitors over 54 years old. However, this year the format has been changed to include both prescribed divisions as well as scaled divisions for all ages. Second, all workouts are judged. That’s right, they all have standards that must be followed in order to post a valid score. Not getting your hip crease below your knee on a wall ball? No rep! Not reaching full extension at the top of a snatch? No rep! But never fear! Each participant will have a CCSC trainer next to them during the workout keeping track of reps and making sure they are all legitimate. Feeling a little less apprehensive? Great, stick with me.

I get it. You may still be asking why?  Coach Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit likes to say that we fail at the margins of our experience. More simply, we do well with stuff we do all the time, and struggle with things that are new. For most of us, competing in a CrossFit competition is something we’ve never done, and a lot can be learned about oneself when competing. Competing in the Open will force you to acquire new skills and work on weaknesses often overlooked or ignored.  From week to week you won’t know what’s coming at you. Don’t have double-unders in your bag of tricks? It’s a sure bet that they’ll be featured in a workout this year, so it’s time to start working on them! And in addition to bettering yourself as an athlete, it’s just plain fun! Together, as a community, we’ll get to commiserate over brutal workouts, share our anxieties about what’s to come the next week, and cheer each other on!

So here’s what I propose. We do it. All of us. But instead of signing up through CrossFit, we keep it in-house and run our own competition. Everything stays the same, the workouts, the scaling options and the movement standards. The only difference will be the $20 registration charge that you would normally fork over to CrossFit will instead be given to the gym to facilitate the competition. Also, no workouts will have to be videotaped and posted online (unless you want to, of course). In the spirit of pushing ourselves I say we all sign up for our respective age group’s prescribed division. If a particular workout shows up that you know may prove to be dangerous, do the scaled version.  But let’s do this thing and get better. There’s no pressure, ya’ll! We get to attempt new things, compete with thousands of other CrossFitters from all over the world, and do so in the comforts of our own gym!

I’ll leave you with a quick anecdote about the Open before I sign off. Last year, Sarah and I were on Kaua’i for our honeymoon during Open Workout 14.2. The workout involved overheard squats and chest-to-bar pull-ups. That day, several people in the gym were doing 14.2 so Sarah and I both stopped to cheer them on. One lady in particular stood out to me. Not because she was really fit (which she was), or that she recorded a great score (which she didn’t). You see, this woman completed her first set of overhead squats with ease. It was then on to the chest-to-bar pull-ups. She needed to complete ten before she could head back to the bar for more overhead squats. She only completed three before her time ran out; they were the first chest-to-bar pull-ups she had ever done. In the end, her score was not anywhere near the leaders, but in a competition setting she did her first chest-to-bar pull-ups, something that had long-eluded her. And she was stoked.

If you still aren’t sure or would like some more information about the Open, there is plenty out there and it’s easy to find.  A quick Google search will take you to the CrossFit Games Open page where you can find archived workouts, video demonstrations, announcement events and a lot more. Or, corner one of your trainers and bombard us with questions. We’ll have more details about our CCSC Open competition coming soon. For now, practice up on those weaknesses and get excited! - Coach Keeley