What to focus on for a successful Open in 2019
The Open is fast approaching. We are five weeks away from the announcement of the first workout. This is also about that time when we may start to panic: am I ready? Did I spend enough time working on this skill or that lift? Am I strong enough? What do I need to be able to do to feel successful in the Open?
Good news: we have some answers for you. Not all, because, contrary to popular belief, we don’t know everything. But we do have some pretty good insight and analysis on what you can expect to see in the Open. You have started to see some past Open workouts in our regular class programming.
Here’s the deal. I’ve done the dirty work for you. I’ve gone back over every Open workout that has ever come out - it began in 2011 – and tried to take some of the guesswork out of what you should focus on. This is pretty nerdy, I’m not going to lie, but I know some of you can really benefit from this information and others may just find it interesting. In my analysis I’ve definitely found some trends.
With the exception of 2011, there are 5 workouts in the Open, one released each week. These workouts are varied (wouldn’t be CrossFit if they didn’t) but there are some similarities:
Every year since the 2011, there has been ONE retested workout from a previous year. It almost guarantees that we will see one of 2018’s workouts again this year (which one do you NOT want to see?).
There have ALWAYS been wallballs and thrusters in the Open until last year! 2018 took a break from wallballs but not thrusters. We know they’re not a fan favorite but now you know why we do them so much. Best guess is you can expect the wallball to come roaring back in 2019.
In the RX’d division, there have always been chest-to-bar (C2B) pull-ups and toes-to-bar (TTB). ZERO exceptions. They opt for C2B because it’s an easier standard to set for judging purposes.
In scaled division, which was introduced in 2015, we still see C2B however athletes are permitted jumping C2B (with specific standards). TTB becoming hanging knee raises.
Also in the RX’d division, there have always been muscle ups. There were ring muscle ups up until last year when bar muscle ups were introduced. Last year, we saw the first Open workout to require BOTH styles of muscle up in a single workout!
You can expect all the regular barbell movements: snatching, cleaning or clean and jerk, shoulder-to-overhead (S2OH), overhead squats (OHS), thrusters, and deadlifts. Weights for these movements vary widely, something we’ll discuss a little later in this post.
Double unders have always appeared in one way or another. The smallest sets we’ve seen are 30 and the largest are 100.
Fun fact: Until 2015, double unders were always paired in some way with muscle ups and wallballs. Apparently a worthwhile combination. Last year, they were paired with muscle ups, overhead squats and DB snatches and in HIGH volume (400 per round!)
Now for some quick statistics:
The average time for the workouts is roughly 12 minutes. The range is 5-20 minutes.
This number has been skewed the past three years, since the “buy yourself more time” workouts have been introduced (i.e. if you complete a set amount of work under a given amount of time, you get more time to complete more work. Lucky you).
The average weight that athletes have to move has increased over the years. As of 2017, on average and over a variety of movements (consider the discrepancy in weight between a deadlift and a power snatch), men had to move 207 pounds and women 137 pounds. In 2018, we saw the addition of the 1RM clean in 18.2a and the 315/205 deadlift for reps in 18.4, which likely brings this average up just in the last year. This is quite the jump from 2011, when the average weight moved for men was 127 and women was 87. Good work people, we’ve gotten stronger.
The range of weight is wide. You can always expect a workout with a 95/65 prescription and even a 75/55 prescription. However, barbells have gotten as heavy as a 365 pound deadlift and a 315 pound squat clean (both for reps!) for men and a 225 pound deadlift and 205 pound squat clean for women. In the 1RM clean event last year, there were men posting scores over 400 pounds and women exceeding 240!
The rep range is also quite wide. Not counting the 1RM clean and jerk from 2015, the lowest set we see is 3 ranging all the way to the 150 wallballs from the muscle up workout from 2012 and 2013. However, the average set is 15-20 reps. This was consistent in 2018 with total required rep ranges - not including double unders - to complete a workout (something that’s much easier said than done for most of these Open workouts) ranged from 40-90 reps.
Finally, some unique things about the Open workout history:
Until last year, there had only ever been one “1RM event” in the Open – 15.1b had athletes establish a 1RM clean and jerk following a 9 minute AMRAP. Last year, after a grueling couplet of DB front squats and bar-facing burpees, athletes were asked to establish a 1RM clean in the remaining time on a 12 minute clock.
Box jumps had been a favorite until 2016, when they were written out of the program. We saw the box used in the form of burpee box jump overs - a new movement - in 2017. The box was again passed over in 2018 - perhaps we’ll see it return in 2019?
Handstand push-ups (HSPUs) were first introduced in 2015 and we saw them again in 2016. We saw them again in 2017 when 16.4 was retested with a chipper-style workout that finished with a set of 55 HSPUs! In 2018, we did a CrossFIt classic “Diane” but had to continue with heavier deadlifts and - new to the game - handstand walks!
Rowing was first introduced in 2014 to join the double unders as a monostructural component. It has been used every year since.
Side note: We will likely never see running or biking in the Open. They have to make the workouts doable for athletes around the world at different times of year and for those who perhaps don’t even belong to an affiliate. Rowing ergs are easy to find. Assault bikes, not so much…yet.
Burpees are always either to a target six inches above your standing reach or over the bar. This guards against sub-par adherence to movement standards.
A new movement has been introduced each year since 2014. What might we see this year
2014 – rowing
2015 – HSPUs
2016 – bar muscle ups and overhead walking lunges
2017 - Dumbbells galore! The DB snatch, DB front rack walking lunge, DB power cleans were all introduced and we can expect to see DBs again in 2018. We were also introduced to the burpee box jump over in the Open.
2018 - DB hang clean & jerk, DB front squat, & handstand walk
We have never seen these movements in the Open:
Sumo deadlift high pulls
Strict movements of any kind (unless you count the push-ups of 2011)
The likelihood of any of those movements being introduced varies. Odds for a sumo deadlift high pull are much, much higher than a rope climb.
However, it’s not so much the unknown that we should take away from this post. It’s the known, it’s the “what I can work on now to best prepare myself for February” and here’s our bottom line and what you’ll see more of in class as we get closer and closer to February 22nd:
RX’d athletes will need to have C2B pull-ups, TTB and muscle ups in some capacity. Scaled or Masters athletes may still need these in some form or at least pull-ups and hanging knee raises.
Focus on light to moderate weight, higher volume (12-25 rep range) barbell movements, box jumps, wallballs and burpees.
Continue to focus on technique in the weightlifting movements. It will get you further in the Open than having a huge 1-rep max lift. Repeat-ability and consistency is key.
Dig in on those workouts that are in that 8-14 minute range. This is going to be the sweet spot during the Open.
Don’t be afraid to ask your coaches questions on what else you can be doing to prepare!
Hopefully, this helped shine some light on what can find us some success in the Open. Next week, we will discuss how to use this information to develop your strategy for the Open. How do you choose which division to participate in? What are the standards for movement? What kind of expectations should you set? All this and more next week!
Wanna see what’s on tap for the upcoming week? Take a look by clicking HERE.
Strength - Back Squat 3 x 6-8 @ RPE 8
Athletes will have 20 minutes to build to and complete 3 sets of 6-8 reps. The focus is control, time under tension and standing fast on each repetition.
Metcon - EMOM 7:
6 bar-facing burpees AFAP
Complete BOTH within the minute!