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August 13, 2019

Is It Too Late To Train For the Open?

Written by William Imbo

If you’re wondering if it’s too late to start training for the Open, the answer is no. Why are we even discussing the Open in August? Well, this year the Open start October 10th!

With just over 60 days before the Open begins, you can see a drastic improvement in fitness by implementing an 8-week-cycle (or 6 or 4, depending on when you read this). What does this 8-week cycle look like? To get the most out of this ‘short’ time frame, we recommend leaning toward a program focused on improving your high rep gymnastics skills/endurance. High rep gymnastics is key to success in CrossFit, and the Open is no different. The 2019 Open, for example, consistently tested an athlete’s ability to perform gymnastics skills at high reps. Let’s look at the second workout of the that Open:

Beginning on an 8-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
15 squat cleans, 135 lb.
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
13 squat cleans, 185 lb.
If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
11 squat cleans, 225 lb.
If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
9 squat cleans, 275 lb.
If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
25 toes-to-bars
50 double-unders
7 squat cleans, 315 lb.
Stop at 20 minutes.

That’s a lot of toes-to-bars and double-unders. Yes, the squat cleans were heavy and exhausting, but for many, the toes-to-bar, in particular, were a huge differentiator.

The third workout of the 2019 Open is even more indicative of the importance of high rep gymnastics skills:

Workout 19.3
For time:
200-ft. dumbbell overhead lunge
50 dumbbell box step-ups
50 strict handstand push-ups
200-ft. handstand walk

Almost without questions, the 50 strict handstand push-ups were a stopping point for most athletes. IF you made it past the handstand push-ups, you were forced to handstand walk 200-ft under extreme shoulder fatigue.

Are you beginning to see how crucial high rep gymnastics are to success in the Open? Every year, high rep gymnastics are a leaderboard separator in at least three of the five workouts.

The goal of the open is to see improvement. If you’re honing in on your gymnastic skills, you will most likely witness that outcome. Take your weakest gymnastics skill and focus on it diligently over the next few weeks.

Being incredibly specific is always key when goal-setting. Let the closeness of the Open drive that specificity. The closer the competition gets, the closer your training needs to look to the actual event. Abandoning your general training to focus on a 5-week competition is not ideal, though. However, incorporating more Open-style workouts a few times per week will definitely help you perform better. Pulling workouts from previous Opens is useful in this area and can help you compare times and fitness level based on your results.
Being specific in your training for the Open will also train you to put some of your performance anxiety at ease, while also getting your mind and body ready for the pain that it will undergo each week.

Finally, there’s never a better time than this to hone in and focus on the nutrition side of your training. If you’ve been fueling with garbage or just getting in sub-par nutrition, this is the time to make some changes. Competition often brings out the best version of yourself, forcing you to get every element of your training right. Fueling is no exception to this. Cleaning up your diet and focusing on nutrient-dense food will impact how well you’ll perform in the Open.

So, no, it’s not too late. Make a game plan and execute.

Photo courtesy of Aryan Barto

About William Imbo

William Imbo is an Associate Editor at BoxLife magazine, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and holds an MPS in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. He is an avid CrossFitter and loves film, music and travel, thanks to having grown up across Europe. A fan of the New Orleans Saints and Newcastle United, Will's favorite CrossFit girl is Helen-least favorite being Isabel.

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