Prepping for the 2019 CrossFit Open Part 1: Are you kipping serious?!

Every year leading up to the CrossFit Open, we have numerous discussions as a staff on how to approach programming class workouts leading up to the 5 week worldwide competition.  

We would be lying if we said it was easy to anticipate what CrossFit HQ has planned.  Each year there seems to be a few novel additions that are intended to shake up the leaderboard as well as push the envelope on the public perception of how we define fitness.

For reference, in 2018 handstand walking - a highly skilled gymnastics movement -became common place.  In 2017, dumbbells made their first appearance on the circuit and forever changed how athletes train and how affiliates spend their discretionary funds!

However part of the allure of the Open is that for 5 weeks, over 15,000 CrossFit affiliates come together to participate in the same set of workouts.  If you ask me, I think that’s pretty rad.

Now, I want to reiterate that it is virtually impossible for us as coaches to anticipate what will come out of the hopper.   However, we do know that the Open style format lends itself to a few major movement patterns that show up almost weekly.  When creating workouts we take into consideration these volume demands and incrementally increase the training volume to help promote a healthy and directed adaptation.

This week I want to chat about the demands of high volume, body weight gymnastics movements - primarily those that involve kipping from a pull up bar - and how you can take some simple proactive steps to keep yourself (and your shoulders) healthy!

When looking at a workouts that involves kipping pull ups, toes to bar, or muscle ups, we have to understand that successive reps require a trained mechanical capacity for athletes.  The pre-requisites that should be considered by all levels of competitors before engaging in high volume workouts of this kind are:

1. Proper mobility of the thoracic spine, chest, and shoulders.

2. Sufficient strength to create and maintain stability of the joints.

3. ~9 to 12 months of consistent and dedicated GPP training (CrossFit metcons) to allow for the appropriate tendon and muscular fiber adaptations.

Now we are not saying that you should skip participating in the Open this year if your training experience is low.  What we are strongly encouraging, is that you consider the long game and understand that each time we train, there is a period of time needed to allow for proper recovery.  

Early on, newcomers need to monitor their volume and pay attention to how THEY RECOVER! Unfortunately this is different for everyone, but in the early stages of training - less is more. As coaches we always encourage athletes to focus on what you CAN DO and what would be the safest format for you to follow.  Remember, training success is built on consistency over time, not one or two challenging metcons.

Regardless of where you find yourself on this list, this year we wanted to share 3 simple movements that all our athletes should consider performing at least 3 times a week.

In total this should take roughly 10 minutes, however it will serve as a way for athletes to start prepping their body for the high level of volume that is to come in the next month:


A.  2 x 3 minutes of T-spine smashing with a peanut (double taped lacrosse ball)

B.  2 x 10 Table top arches - Pause 2 full seconds at top + 2 full breaths


A.  Hanging shoulder retractions: 3 x 10 @ BW

B.  Banded pull aparts: 3 x 10 @ moderate

C.  I, T, Y: 3 x 10 @ light

D.  BB bicep curl: 3 x 8-12 @ light to mod - pause at forehead for 1 full second

Please remember that if you have any questions, grab a coach and ask for some clarification.  You won’t regret it!


WOD 190128

STRENGTH:  Back squat. 4 x 5 @ RPE 6 

Athletes should focus on control and consistent drive through the legs and control throughout the entire movement!


For Time:

100 ft. Front rack DB walking lunge @ moderate

21 Slam balls @ 50/30#

12 Toes to bar

100 ft. Front rack DB walking lunge @ moderate

15 Slam balls @ 50/30#

9 Toes to bar

100 ft. Front rack DB walking lunge @ moderate

9 Slam balls @ 50/30#

6 Toes bar

14 minute time cap