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Part 1 of Open Review (and a well deserved shout out)

April 02, 2012

I said before that I would review the CrossFit Games Open.  I wanted to review some of the things we did well, buy more about some things we can improve on, and to highlight things that were memorable to me.  I will talk about each on of the WODs in “CrossFit shorthand”.  To get a full description of the WODs, go here.  Again, these are things that occurred to me.  Please share your thoughts, good and bad, on the comments section in Facebook.

NOTE:  As I wrote this, It kind of got long.  I broke my review of the Open into 2 posts.  So, you’ll get part 2 tomorrow.

12.1 7 Minutes of Burpees.

It was tough to put on a good face for this one.  As a guy that makes up workouts, burpees are a “nuisance” exercise.  I use them as filler between more technical, heavy or advanced movements.  I think of WODs as meals, and ask, “Where’s the beef?”  Burpees are rarely the “beef,” but 12.1 made burpees the meat, veggies and dessert.  12.1 became a decent test once the other WODs were announced, but I admit I was a little curious where HQ was going to take us.

As a gym, nearly every CFO athlete scored the worst on this event relative to the field (myself included).  Why do you think this is?  I think I tend to focus on more technical movements (the Oly lifts,  basic/hybrid power lifts and basic/intermediate gymnastics) because I think the carry over to other things is great.  Being really good at burpees?  Meh.  But this WOD was so simple, it became an amazing test of efficiency and will.  It is telling that this WOD knocked out some of the world’s best CrossFitters (Josh Everett, Mike Giardina, Jeremy Thiel to name a few, and it nearly got Rob Orlando).  That being said, the Russian guy that did 161 burpees didn’t qualify for Regionals.

I ended up doing this WOD three times because I knew this one was going to be a scoring nightmare.  Every rep counted, and I’m proud of every burpee I got.

How do we get better at WODs like this?  I may work burpee cash outs and continue to get more efficient at the movement.  Otherewise, keep doing CrossFit and continue to do work when you’re uncomfortable.

12.2  Snatch Ladder

Now we’re talking!  As a gym, we posted our highest team score of the Regionals on this WOD (50th place).  If burpees are the simplest move you can do, the Snatch is the most complex.  As an athlete, I was excited for this one, because I’m pretty good at snatching, and I felt like this would put me back in contention.  As a gym owner/coach, I was a little nervous about people attempting near, or even above, 1RM lifts while exhausted.

It turns out my fears were unfounded.  Between 12.2 and 12.4, we saw the most exhilarating efforts of the Open.  The cool thing about the Snatch is, you either make the lift, or you miss it.  You’re not grinding under a heavy bar in a back squat, or bowing your back attempting to pull your 1RM deadlift.  That made this a safer than it would have appeared.  As an aside, lifting purists love to say high reps O lifts get you hurt.  I have never seen any facts to support this hypothesis.  And I’ve been doing this stuff everyday for 6 years.

Also, we work the Oly lifts a lot at CFO.  We Snatch every other week at the least, and we work some element of the Oly lifts nearly every day.  Even though we’ve never done a WOD like this, we were prepared as a gym for this one.

We didn’t have many athletes test this one multiple times, it was more about spending the week refining snatch technique.  On game day, we had so many Snatch PRs in warm up it was inspiring.  Once athletes transitioned to the bigger lifts, each effort required complete focus.  We focused with each athlete as they prepped the lift, stayed quiet as they executed, and gave an encouraging word on each miss.  But what about the made lifts?  As we moved into minutes 7 and 8 of the 10 minute WOD, we cheered like school kids each time the bar was caught over head.

Watching Christine, Em, Al and Tricia hit PR lifts again and again, right after each other may have been the highlight of the Open for me.  It was like everyone was taking turns for the cheers.

I’ve said it before, but Don Q scored 39th in the world in this WOD!  Unbelievable!

Bob W (Big Man Bob/BMB to those in the know) completed 30 Snatches at 135, and coached Tony on to 22 reps, PRing 22 times!

In the end, the big moment in the first 2 weeks goes to Louis M.  Louis is gym owner’s dream.  His form is great, he’s polite, supportive and a genuinely nice guy.  Louis is “patient zero” for like, 40 people that started CrossFit.  Maybe more.  He looks like a Greek god with his shirt off, he’s always willing to try new methods to get stronger, and he’s happy to share his experiences with anyone that cares to ask.  It’s been a pleasure training with Louis over the years.

Louis has done the CrossFit Games qualifiers over the last three years.  Louis gives his best every time, and tries not let it show, but he cares deeply about being excellent.  Even though he’s competent in nearly every facet of CrossFit, he hasn’t punched one the Qualifier WODs in the face like we all know he can.  Well, until 12.2.  Louis banged out 74 reps, meaning he snatched 165 14 times under fatigue.  This scored Louis in the top 100 in the region, 90th place.  That’s an Elite effort with a capital “E”. I loved seeing the look of relief and joy on Louis face, knowing that he met his potential.

Workout of the Day

Strength

Thruster

3-3-3

Metcon

5 Rounds for reps

40 Seconds of Wall Ball Shots

20 Seconds rest/transition

40 Seconds of Toes to Bar

20 Seconds rest/transition

About the Author
  1. Kat Reply

    I am proud to read the wonderful things you have written about Louis.

    But I’m gonna do a shout out of my own: I am gonna say “How about Brian???!!!!” You deserve a huge shout out for your accomplishments as a gym owner, leader and mentor! Don, Em, Rich and I are all so very proud of you and we will be there to support you at Regionals! You lead by example and with that your gym, coaches and atheletes can and will always thrive succeed!

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