CrossFit Games Season: An Intermediate’s Guide To The Open


This ain’t your first rodeo. You’ve been there for the “change plate controversy,” Dave doing bar muscle-ups in Versace, and the weird scoring and extra week in 2011. This isn’t new for you, and maybe that’s making things tough. The initial glow of the Open has worn off- that feeling that maybe you could really compete in this sport- or the novelty/terror of it all has simply become commonplace. You consistently do oknotgreat, you’ve seen it all before, it’s old hat, yawn, etc. Here’s some ideas for keeping the Open fresh and relevant, and using it to better your training during the other 11 months of the year.


Find Some Friends, Try and Destroy Them

We mentioned this before in our guide for master’s athletes, but it’s incredibly helpful to find a smaller subset of the population to compete with. You are experienced enough that you should know the people at your gym who you chase, try to stave off, or trade workout “wins” with. Engage them, through CrossFit btwb Squads or IRL (weird) and create a little mini-competition. Maybe the losers buy the winner dinner, or a new pair of lifters, or a trophy? Also, I’ve heard this internet thing, and text messaging, and videos, and the Snapchats are great for talking smack across the country. If you’ve got fitness frandz on the other coast, hit them up and make your own Mini Open within the larger community event!

Face Your Weakness

If you’ve done this stuff for a while you probably fall into one of two camps. You’re either super disciplined and do lots of work on your weaknesses, always trying to work on the stuff you aren’t good at… or you’re like me and you (quite possibly subconsciously) avoid them entirely. While CrossFit btwb does a great job of keeping you up to date with areas that need improvement, the Open will undoubtedly lay bare all of those areas you’ve been “strategically” avoiding.

Well, suck it up buttercup. If you tank a workout it’s not Dave’s fault- you probably need to work more on bar muscle-ups, or lunging, or dumbbell work. Everyone has areas that lag, so don’t get too dismayed, treat it as objective training data, and resolve to not get fooled again next year.

Geek Out on Strategy, But Keep It Real

Part of the fun of CrossFit is staring into that “oh shit” abyss of new, unexpected, and potentially uncomfortable things. After you’ve done the benchmarks a few times each, you get to know your personal strategy for them (one big set of C&J to start Grace, then singles, or break the Thrusters in the 21 round of Fran, even if you feel good, etc.) Part of the way us coaches look so good all the time (yeah, I said it) is that we’ve simply done most of this stuff more times and have better developed our personal strategy for it. Sorry coaches, your secret is out.

The Open is your chance to recapture that magic! When the workout is released you know enough about your fitness and skills to map out a plan of attack, obsess about little things like weight changing strategy, and basically work yourself into hysterics you haven’t experienced since your first Murph.

One word to the wise- remember who you are. When watching all of the strategy videos that will flood the airwaves after each announcement, keep in mind that they are often written for pretty competitive people. Especially for workouts with short timecapped rounds that you need to complete to “unlock” the next round, you may need to disregard the advice to just “cruise through the first few rounds”- that might work for Annie and Katrin, but my ass needs to hustle.

Have Fun You Crusty Vet

Remember, at the end of the day this is supposed to be fun. So even if you aren’t in the best shape of your “career,” participate as a way to interact with the larger community and to role model for newer athletes. The Open is a pretty special piece of what makes CrossFit special and you’ll kick yourself if you sit it out. So, SIGN UP, find your little crew, face your demons, and strategize to your heart’s content. Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

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