How You Should Approach the Open

The Open is coming. And we want you to have your most successful year to date. As we’ve discussed in recent posts, this time of the year can be used as a benchmark for our performance. The goal of any fitness regimen is to adapt, to continue to see improvement, to set new goals and work to (eventually) achieve them. The beautiful thing about CrossFit is that there seems to be an infinite number of areas we can improve upon. And the Open allows us, each year, to measure that progress and improvement within the confines of our community, our home field, our tribe.

For many of us, adhering to our exercise routine is an accomplishment in and of itself. We often credit this consistency in CrossFit to the community experience: our fellow athletes motivate us, our coaches encourage and support us, our gym is as familiar as our own home. This year, we challenge you to add to your accomplishments. Set aside five Fridays, join your coaches and fellow athletes for a new challenge and use it to set goals for the rest of your year.

So how do you do it? There’s different divisions, daunting workouts, time commitments. Is there a right way to do the Open?

The answer is simple: we do what’s right for you. Just like every day at Kingfield, we will meet you where you’re at. We will help you modify as needed and you can be sure as hell that we’ll be there, cheering you on, getting you through those final seconds when you feel spent and want to quit. Our Open is about community. It’s about being together and tackling the same task. And it is about doing something you haven’t done before.

Your biggest question might be “What division should I participate in?” There are many choices and you may fall into multiple, depending on the workout. What we will do is help you choose a version of the workout that best suits your abilities. If one week that's RX'd but the next we use the scaled version, that is okay. For example let’s use last year’s Open workout 16.1. These are the options:

Open workout 16.1 as broken down by division. There are scaled masters and scaled teens divisions not represented here.

Open workout 16.1 as broken down by division. There are scaled masters and scaled teens divisions not represented here.


What we can see here is that loading and movement change based on division. The time domain has never been different nor has the structure of the workout. So what does this mean for you? From our experience, the best advice is this:

Participate within your abilities but don’t limit yourself to certainty of success.

A good analogy is if you play a basketball game, is it more fun to play the sure victory, the blow-out? Or is the challenge more exciting? We certainly learn more about ourselves, our team and our coaches against the better opponent. But sometimes, it’s also nice to build confidence, to have a sure thing. When it comes to the Open, we can divide our “opponents” and therefore those we choose to take on, by movement and weight.

If you are on the cusp of a movement – in our example, chest-to-bar – you have to make the decision to go for it or not. The Open gives the chance to test the limits of our abilities and often, do something that we did not think ourselves capable of before given these test. How many times have we heard “the first muscle up” story during the Open? You choose to accept the challenge. You may spend fourteen minutes staring at the rings. On the other hand, you may just want a killer workout and the scaled version delivers that stimulus. As always, if you are unsure, you can ask your coaches for guidance and they will recommend based on your goals and your abilities.

Conversely, if you are on the cusp of a weight – in our example, overhead walking lunges – we, as your coaches, will always recommend scaling. It is one thing to move your body weight to attempt movements but an entirely different business when additional loading will compromise your form. In some instances, we will also have the benefit of being able to scale the loaded movement – in our example, the overhead walking lunge can become a front rack walking lunge – which may be more manageable for an athlete even at the RX’d weight. When selecting load in a workout, the goal is always to preserve the stimulus - the desired effect - of the workout. If 95 pound overhead walking lunges are going to result in completion of three rounds in a 20 minute workout, we will recommend scaling so you can move well and experience the intent of the workout.

As you can see, there many combinations that allow us to make the workout yours. However, keep in mind that we only adapt, only improve by challenging ourselves. While you may not get the best score by choosing chest-to-bar pull-ups, you will learn something valuable and can set the goal of developing that skill over the next year.

Ultimately, we want to see you grow. We want to see you progress in your fitness – your skills, your lifts and your lungs – and we want to help you do so. We applaud you for showing up every day. We appreciate that effort every day. But we dare you, to try something different. Pluck up that courage, that message painted so boldly on our walls, and go after something you never have before. Dare to do the Open. Once you’re here, we’ve got you. All we ask is that you show up. We will help you with the rest.

-Coach Caitlin