As the Open has grown and evolved from its inception in 2011, so too have the workouts. The fact that it is now a worldwide spectacle for the affiliate community and live streamed from the CrossFit Games website means that fans don’t just want to see big-name CrossFitters workout—they want to be entertained and excited/nervous about the event that they will eventually have to perform themselves. As a result, each year we’ve seen new movements and new workout formats added to the Open. Push-presses were added in 2012, 2014 saw the rower used for the first time, and last year handstand push-ups and a max lift made their first appearance. With the inclusion of scaled variants for each Open workout, Dave Castro (Director of the CrossFit Games) has more freedom to provide more diverse and challenging tests of fitness to the CrossFit community.. With that in mind, we return to the question of this article: What new movements will we see in the 2016 Open? Here are our thoughts.
This is the movement that most people are either hoping or fearing will turn up in 2016, and it’s a pretty good bet to assume that it will. Muscle-ups have been used in the Open since 2011, and with the inclusion of handstand push-ups last year, one can see that there is a growing demand for athletes to be skilled at gymnastic and bodyweight movements. Pistols are typically used at Regionals and the Games, and are quite regularly the undoing of otherwise fit athletes. It would be just like Castro to include them this year to remind us all that we should always expect the unexpected, but to also give us the opportunity to set some new benchmarks. After all, if you completely bomb the movement, you’re definitely going to put down ‘become efficient at pistols’ as one of your goals for 2016. They’re quite straightforward to judge, require little space and no equipment, so we feel that there is a high probability that we’ll be seeing pistols this year.
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (SDHPs)
SDHPs are one of the nine foundational movements in CrossFit, and were featured last year in the Regional workouts, to the surprise of many. One may think that the Open is running out of new barbell movements to include, but they haven’t yet exhausted all their options, and the SDHP seems like a potential candidate for 2016. It’s easily scalable, but the primary issue with using it as a movement in the Open could be the difficulty to evaluate a correct rep—particularly for those athletes who are filming their workouts without a judge present.
We know that ring muscle-ups are the norm in the Open, but bar muscle-ups can add a little bit of variety and create some devastating complexes in workouts. Take the 21-15-9 complex from the 2014 Games. Athletes had to perform a series of deadlifts, cleans and snatches before moving on to pull-ups, followed by chest-to-bar pull-ups and bar muscle-ups. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet was able to connect her pull-ups and bar muscle-ups without dropping from the bar, which was absolutely incredible and sent the crowd wild. Not only would this fit the mantra of creating a show during the Open, but utilizing bar muscle-ups in combination with other bar work can create a devastating test of fitness.
During the live announcement of 15.1a, Rich Froning and Mat Fraser had six minutes to establish a 1-rep-max clean and jerk after completing a 9-minute AMRAP of toes-to-bars, deadlifts and snatches. This workout was a huge hit among the community, because who doesn’t like lifting heavy weight? Snatches and clean and jerks are nothing new to the Open, but if we saw a 1-rep-max test last year, who’s to say we won’t have it again this year, only with the snatch?
I can’t say if these will be overhead lunges, back rack or front rack lunges, but I have a sneak feeling we will see them in the Open—if not this year, then definitely in the years to come. They have featured in one capacity or another at Regionals, the Games, and even the CrossFit Invitational. They can be performed in place or, if your gym has the space, while moving, and are pretty easy to judge.