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CrossFit Open Training Strategies

Last week of the CrossFit Open means week 5 of our series, and brings us to CrossFit Open Training tips. In this post, I’m going to presume you’re in the 99.9% of all people who are not going to make it to the CrossFit Games this year. If you are one of those people, your focus over the past month has certainly been different, and we know that. However, for the everyday CrossFit athlete, our approach to training during this time is very important. Perhaps more important is what you can learn from your experience in the CrossFit Open.

CrossFit Open Training: The Approach

Obviously, the CrossFit Open workouts are released once per week on Thursdays. For many CrossFitters out there, this means you will do the Open workout at a “Friday Night Lights” event, or perhaps on Saturday at your box. Many of you will also consider redoing them if you’re unhappy with your score, or simply want to try again to improve your score. This is all about constantly seeking improvement, after all. How you approach your CrossFit Open Training needs to reflect this.

What are your goals?

No, I don’t mean “I want to go to the CrossFit Games!” This is a great goal – if you’ve been training for it. Genuinely take a look at yourself and say, “What do I want to accomplish this year?” Perhaps it is to do every single workout Rx’d for the first time ever. Maybe you want to get a PR or your first muscle up/handstand push up/pull up. This is really personal and definitely different for everyone. Check your ego here – making a goal that sounds good but you haven’t done the work for will only leave you frustrated when your expectations aren’t met.

How many times will you do the workout?

Next, you need to decide is how many times you MAY do the workout. I capitalize may, because it’s possible you will change your mind after doing the workout. For example, in 18.2 last year, I knew I could go much faster on my burpees, so I decided I would redo on Sunday. This is important, because this affects how I train on Saturday leading into the redo. Given that I had already done 18.2 on Friday, I took Saturday to simply coach, move around a little bit, and then leave the box. There’s not a need to beat myself up between two attempts at that type of workout. However, unless you have a performance goal (outlined above) I recommend doing the workout once, giving it your all, and moving on to your next training day. We do not improve during competition, we improve during training and then the recovery after it.

The Training Week

Leading into the Open workout, Thursday needs to be a lighter day than Monday. On Monday, you can go heavy. Get after moving some big weights. It’s ok if you’re sore for a couple of days, because you won’t be hitting another CrossFit Open WOD until the end of the week. At our box, we’ve been making Monday and Tuesday hard, Wednesday moderate, and Thursday an optional flush day. It’s programmed in a way that you can either move easy and have an active recovery day before our Friday Night Lights event – or you can go really hard and get an extremely challenging workout in.

CrossFit Open Training: Education

Perhaps even more important than how you perform in this year’s CrossFit Open is what you take away from the experience. What did you learn? What didn’t happen that you were hoping would? Were your goals aligned with your expectations, and were they realistic? Maybe you learned you actually have a huge weakness when it comes to moving heavy weight (looking at myself here), or maybe you aren’t as good at gymnastics as you wished you were. Perhaps double unders are the bane of your existence.

Whatever you struggled with in the 2018 CrossFit Open, get ready to crush it next year. Each year, we know Dave Castro and the CrossFit HQ team are going to challenge us with different workouts, but many of the movements stay the same. If you don’t have muscle ups, and you want to be able to do muscle ups in 2020, your CrossFit Open training strategies need to reflect this. Whatever hole you had exposed over the past five weeks, attack it like never before. Make your handstand pushups so good you aren’t worried about having 50 strict to do while tired. Make bar facing burpees your new go-to-movement. Maybe you need to improve your nutrition to improve your performance. Make that your target. Having targets in training is great. They keep you motivated and moving forward as an athlete.

Whatever you do, don’t waste the lessons learned from this experience. Sit down, write what you learned, and own your goals going forward. Who knows, maybe next year you’ll be in that 0.1% of people who move on. It isn’t impossible, or no one would be doing it.

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