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The 2016 Open – Part 1

April 04, 2016

The 2016 Open was a return to the grind.  Looking back at the 2015 Open, shop that test was pretty technical. You needed a high level of mastery of CrossFit’s more technical skills to do well. 15.1, not so much in my view , but depending on your ability to perform a good amount of Toes to Bar, it could be.  But with 15.1a, the testing of the Clean and Jerk, it became very technical.  15.2 – a million OHS and Chest to Bar.  Technical.  15.3 – opens with Muscle Up and several hundred doubleunders? Highly technical.  15.4 – opens with HSPU.  The HSPU reps keep going up? Technical.  15.5 – Rower/Thruster – not technical.  A punch in the genitals, yes, but not technical.

Now I said it last year, but at no time in the Games process did anyone do a Burpee.  Not in the Open, Regionals, or the Games.  I totally guessed that our fitness had gotten so good that we were done with Burpees.  Wrong!

In my view, the 2016 Open was perhaps the least technically challenging Open ever.  In return, we got some of the most challenging, grindy-est WODs I can remember.  Instead of emphasizing and rewarding those that could repeat technical movements under fatigue, this Open tested the ability to find the dark place and endure there.

The 2016 Open was bookended by 2 of the most painfully grinding WODs in Open history.  It opened with the 20 minute repeating AMRAP of walking overhead lunges, bar facing burpee, more overhead walking lunging and chest to bar pull-ups and closed with the exhilarating (read: miserable) couplet of thrusters and burpees.

Now, if you were afraid of Chest to Bar pull-ups, 16.1 was your workout.  You had to get through a bunch of grunt work to get to them, and even if you could chip away at this difficult movement, you didn’t fall too far behind.  Just lunge like a zombie.  Slow down on your burpees, and you were in trouble though.  If you looked at this workout, and thought, I can do all those things, I wonder when it gets hard, you found out it was a pure engine WOD.

16.2 was, in my opinion, the most skill oriented workout of the Open.  Maybe in any Open ever.  With the short time domain of 4 minutes to complete a good amount of skill oriented work, if you struggled with either Toes to Bar or Doubleunders, you were going to have a tough time to get in to the deeper rounds.  If you struggle with both of them, you were screwed.  There was big weight to be moved in this workout, but you had to do a TON of work to get there.  Potentially, 16.2 could have been a 20 minute workout, but it would require a world class engine and a lot of skill (and core and lungs) to get there.  There was very little room for error, either in planning or in fitness.  If you didn’t put in the time to really crush all the movements – core – skill – strength – this was a pretty short workout.  Each rep on the clean, especially in the middle rounds (225/145) became huge for scoring purposes.  But most of us can’t will a clean at 225/145.  You gotta have that in the bank, and that takes time and training.

16.3 was a big surprise, in that we saw Bar Muscle ups for the first time.  If you were afraid of being exposed on the rings, you got a pass here.  We don’t do a lot of bar muscle up work (that will change) but I find the bar muscle up far less technical than the ring muscle up.  Normally in the Open, we see big sets of Muscle Ups, which punishes those less skilled or inefficient athletes. This year, only 3 Bar MU didn’t terribly expose the less skilled athlete, and it actually seemed to reward the bigger guy/gal.  In my opinion, this workout was more of a Snatch workout. If you could handle the bar, the MU were a break.  This was the only workout I re-did – it was short and fun.  The 7 minute time cap did make it a bit of a high wire act – any unplanned rest or break could really affect your score.  There was not a lot of room for error on this one if you could cycle through relatively quickly.

I love how the Open puts athletes in a position to exceed their expectations, or forces you into situations to do more than you thought you could.  We saw a handful of athletes get their first muscle Up here – more on that later this week.

16.4, again – my opinion, was the most exciting workout of the open.  I felt it really allowed the most athletes to play.  Moderate deadlifts, wall balls, rowing into the real test, fatigued Handstand pushups.  All done in a chipper format, with big sets – 55 reps of each. Really, making it to the next movement displayed a high level of fitness.  Make it to the rower, and you’re a pretty capable person.  Finish the rowing work in the time cap, and you have some gas and will power.  From there, every handstand pushup showed a level of mastery and preparation to go with engine and will.

16.5 was a repeat of 14.5.  A task priority workout (meaning for time) of thrusters and burpees that required little skill and all guts.  I am curious to hear your thoughts, but I was trying to come up with a list of the most painful Open workouts – 14.5, 15.5 (Row/Thruster), and now 16.1 make up my list.  Now, if 16.4 allowed the most athletes to play, 16.5 probably allowed ALL the athletes to play.  You just had to decide that you wanted to.  Easy decision on Thursday night. Much tougher decision when you begin the round of 15 Thrusters…

So, what does this all mean?  Do we skew our training to less technical movements?  Or do a take a guess, and figure next year will be more technical, because this year was less so?  I don’t think so.  You do CrossFit.  You get more fit by sticking to the principles of constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity.  5-6 times a week is generally best.  Yes, work on your weaknesses, but keep it fun and interesting.  Let the community at CFO carry you. Show up and do the work and you will be a more prepared, fitter person for it.

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Workout of the Day

20-16-12-8-4

Power Snatch 95/65

Toe to Bar

Thruster 95/65

Bar Facing Burpee

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