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Ready For Anything – The Open, Part 2

January 08, 2013

Yesterday, store I wrote about what to expect in the 2013 CrossFit Games Open.  Today I’ll  be addressing issues more specifically – WODs, link movement, abortion strategy and training.

If you are considering participating in the CrossFit Games Open, the first thing I would do is review the WODs that have come before.  The Open WODs are classic CrossFit, mostly couplets and triplets with a few single modalities (Burpee 12.1, Squat Clean and Jerk 11.3, Snatch ladder 12.2).

The primary thing tested in the CrossFit Games Open is your engine (some may say your Will).  For the most part, for each of the WODs, they start out relatively simple, with all types of weight – we’ve seen light (a 75# Snatch and 155/100# deadliest), moderate (100/65# thruster) and relatively heavy (165/110# Squat Clean and Jerk).

So far, the Open has been all AMRAPs.  It an easy way to set the time and for gyms worldwide to schedule heats and for HQ to score WODs.  I would completely expect this to continue – I would be shocked to see a “for time” WOD in the Open.  As many of you have experienced, AMRAPS usually start relatively easy, and it’s not until you have a few rounds under you belt that you realize what you are in for.

I would expect movements to be relatively simple, to perform, judge and score – cleans, snatches, wall balls, thrusters, toes to bar, box jumps, burpees to a target, chest to bar pull ups, double unders and more are all easy to score.  Toes to bar and chest to bar pull-ups are easy to score because contact to the bar is obvious.  As many of you saw in the Fran-off, butterfly pull-ups can be tough to score – as would knees to elbows.  Situps are impossible to score fairly, so Toes to Bar are our scored ab movement of choice in the Open.  Until HQ thinks of something else…and they usually do.  And for those go you that forgot, 11.6 and 12.5 were the final WODs 2 years in a row.  Thrusters and chest to bar pull-ups – classic CrossFit.  I expect to see this again this year.  That’s why we squat a ton and do lots of chest to bar pull-ups.  It also happens that good squatting and pulling your body weight leads to pretty good overall fitness, so…bully for us!

Generally, I program movements in smaller bites (usually between 5 and 10 rep sets).  In the Open I would expect bigger sets.  I don’t like to train large sets (like over 20) because I feel like it leads to being overly sore, and technique can break down.  But training is training, and the test is the test.  Expect bigger sets, and you will do fine.  One thing we DO train a lot is fast transitions.  Your ability to quickly move between movements will lead to more work being done and better scores.  There is a GREAT deal of will power involved in IMMEDIATELY picking up the bar, or falling down and doing a burpee or jumping on the box.  THINK ABOUT THIS IN YOUR TRAINING!  Become a transition master.  More work = more results.

Being able to move smoothly and efficiently is rewarded in the Open.  The loading of reps can be extreme (loads of burpees in a row, lots of box jumps in bunches, progressive heavy weights or larger sets and more.)  For example, being comfortable in the the rack position will allow you to hold onto the bar longer, and allow you you to do more reps.  Being able to stay engaged on simple movements like burpees, push ups and box jumps will keep you moving efficiently.  Take efficiency seriously over the next 2 months.  Be concerned with the number on the board, but strive for perfect, efficient movement.

Burpees  In 2 WODs, or roughly 20% of the Open, Burpees have played a major role.  In 11.4, to get to muscle ups, you had to perform 60 bar facing burpees followed by heavy-ish overhead squats.  In 12.1, you did as many burpees as possible to a target.  EXPECT BURPEES!  It’s also very easy to “slime” burpees, so expect some type of nuance – touching a target, jumping over a box or a barbell, onto a plate or more.  I feel like CFO got hammered by burpees last year – I don’t want that to happen again.  We’ll be doing burpees in WODs, warmups and cash outs to be prepared.  This year, when the burpee WOD hits, CFO is going to punch it in the face!

Standards  At CFO, we train with high standards.  We understand good movement, we teach good movement, and we expect good movement from athletes.  I cannot remember an occasion where a CFO Athlete ran into an issue with a judge at any event.  That’s because we play the game the right way – we move safely and effectively at all times, in training and in the test.  Every Open WOD will be judged.  If you do a WOD without a judge, it can’t be submitted for the scoreboard.  Expect some “No Reps.”  It happens.  We will be as clear as possible on judging standards.  Please ask questions.

Barbell  We train with the barbell nearly every day.  That’s because it’s an extremely effective tool to get strong and fit.  Expect to be on the barbell in the Open.  I would expect basic movements in basic schemes, much like the stuff we program at CFO.  I don’t think we’ll see bear complexes and the like.  The most complex WOD, in my opinion was the snatch ladder (12.2) which required changing out weights.  Still, I was a relatively simple WOD to perform, execute and judge.  When you see a barbell come up, be confident that you are prepared.

Advanced athletes  If you are thinking about really attacking the Open, I have a few pieces of advice.  If you think you are good at something, make sure you are good at it exhausted.  Muscle ups have been tested at the end of tough WODs. The whole population is not expected to perform them, but if you can do muscle up when exhausted, you will separate yourself from the competition.  Can you do 100 double unders unbroken at the end of a WOD?

So far, we haven’t seen kettle bell swings, handstand push ups, GHD sit-ups and other things in the Open.  Never say never, but swings are hard to score, as are HSPU.  I think they’ll be saving that stuff for the Regionals.  Focus on the basics, especially movements you feel you are weak at.

I don’t expect to see running or rowing.  Running is too hard to create similar conditions across the world.  In the case of rowing, I just don’t think enough people have rowers to test the entire world.  But, if a rowing WOD comes up, we’ll have to make a field trip.

WOMEN ARE EXPECTED TO SHOOT WALLBALLS TO A 9 FOOT TARGET!  We got hammered by this last year.  Ladies, until the Open, I would shoot WB to a 10 foot target.  I’m not kidding.

2012 Reebok CrossFit NorCal Regionals

2012 Reebok CrossFit NorCal Regionals

Workout of the Day


Clean plus Hang Clean plus Jerk

In 20 minutes, build to a heavy set on this complex.


3 rounds, for reps

2 Minutes, as many Clean and Jerks as possible 185/115

Rest 2 minutes

This is 6 minutes of work.  If you must scale, use a weight that is heavy.  If you can do more than 12 reps in 2 minutes, that’s too light.  For RX – who can get 30 reps???

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