The final week of the 2021 CrossFit Games Open is already here and the worldwide competition is going to end with TWO separately scored workouts. Take a look at them below and wrap your brain around the madness that is workouts 21.3 and 21.4!

First, let’s talk about 21.3:

Athletes will be looking to complete 45 reps of both front squats AND thrusters. That’s 90 reps of squatting with a moderate weight in the front rack position, which is a lot of reps! That’s without even taking into account the required work on the pull-up rig! Being asked to do 30 TTB, in a workout is a lot for some. Thirty chest-to-bar pull-ups is a lot of others. And truthfully, only the very competitive CrossFit athlete will be able to come close to complete 30 bar muscle-ups, specifically at the end of a piece like this. (As your grip and upper body fatigue more and more, the movement on the rig becomes more and more challenging. That’s a brutal combo!) Keep your heart rate under control through steady barbell work and keep yourself moving through short and consistent sets on the rig. That will be the best approach for most athletes!

Now, let’s address 21.4:

I think most athletes should give themselves at LEAST 1-2 minutes of actual rest after 21.3 before even considering taking their first attempt at this complex. View this as if it were an olympic weightlifting meet. Your first attempt should be one that you KNOW you’re able to hit. Keep in mind, very few athletes have ever completed a heavy 4 rep complex after a 15 minute workout with 90 squats and 90 reps from the pull-up rig. Be more conservative than you think on your first attempt, then build up from there. BE AGGRESSIVE on those reps. POWERFUL hip drive UP! AGGRESSIVE pull UNDER the bar! TIGHT CORE as your legs drive to a full stand. SPEEDY punch UNDER the bar for the jerk. Believe you CAN make the lift before you even approach the bar.

My strategy video is below, and I really hope it helps some of you our there! Thank you tuning in for another year of them.

As always: Good Luck, Have Fun, I Believe In You!

It’s week 2 of 3 of the 2021 CrossFit Games Open, and we’ve got a repeat workout. Since I already wrote a blog post and recorded a video for this back in 2017, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Four years later, my advice is basically exactly the same:

Don’t crash and burn on the burpees and realize that this workout really starts after the round of 30 Snatches. If you’re engine is there, THAT’S when you’ll get your chance to shine.

Click here to go to the original post I made for workout 17.1! And here’s the video that went with it:

Here’s a few extra tips on what to do in order to increase your likelihood of doing better on this workout:

  • Thoroughly warm up your lower back, and keep your chest up throughout the Snatches. It’s going to be easy to drop your chest and use your back on them, resist the urge. Hinge at the hips, load those hammies, and the squeeze your glutes to stand! Capitalize on the efficiency of that movement!
  • Improve DB transition from one hand to the other. The less you need to think about that movement, the more you’ll be able to stay in control.
  • Practice timing of steps/jumps for Burpee Box Jump-Overs. If you’re trying to conserve energy, consider stepping back and stepping up. Learn how to approach the box to be in a safe position to jump onto the box.
  • Don’t rush. On either movement. If you’re in too much of a rush to lockout your arm or stand all the way up, your Snatches won’t count. If you flop down onto the ground out of position, you’ll need to re-do the burpee. Be deliberate throughout the workout and waste NO reps.
  • LIFT YOUR KNEES. As fatigue sets in, many athletes will get lazy and not prioritize getting their entire foot onto the box. Honestly, I feel like not missing a single Box Jump-Over is the biggest win of all in this one! It’s not fun to bust your leg open and it doesn’t feel cool to have a scar on your shin for the rest of your life. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience!

Was this post helpful for you? Let me know, please!

As you approach this workout, remember me saying:

Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

-Tom

Friends,

The 2021 CrossFit Games Open is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but no one I’m friends with predicted this as the first workout of the new competition year. Wall Walks and Double-Unders are the two movements in the Rx’d division, modified Wall Walks and Single-Unders comprise the Scaled version, the Foundations division includes Bear Crawls and Jumping Jacks, and finally the No Equipment version is made up of Wall Walks and Lateral Jumps.

For this strategy post, I won’t be breaking down each workout division as I have in the past. Instead, I’ll be covering a few main themes I think will be appropriate for nearly all versions of the workout.

The three topics I cover in my video are: (1) Scaled or Rx’d? Which should you choose and why? (2) Pacing? How should you approach the two movements? and (3) Technique – What are a few things to think about to make the movements as efficient as possible.

This is only the first week of the Open and I am always interested in your feedback for how to make these videos more helpful for YOU. Did you like this? Tell me! Would you prefer that I dive more deeply into any other aspect of the workout? Let me know!

I hope you find my advice over the next three weeks to be helpful!

As always…. Good Luck, Have Fun, I Believe In You!

For those of you who might not follow me on Instagram (@Smashby1), I posted a video yesterday as a part of my “Drive Time with Smashby” series.

In this video, I shared how I am planning my Personal Training workload in 2020. Given that I coach a variety of athletes in a multitude of disciplines, explaining my thought process of client selection, communication method, and training location, allowed me give some insight as to how this crazy mind of mine works. It was also a helpful exercise for me to really think through what I’m hoping to do, and why!

I hope you like this video, and if you want to chat about anything I discussed, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Let’s gooooo!

As we enter a new year (and decade!), I have been thinking to identify a few key guiding principals that can help me set clear and effective goals for myself; as a person, a coach and trainer, and an athlete.

Here are the four that I came up with:

1- Judge Less

2- Collaborate More

3- Prioritize Recovery

4- Have Fun!

In the video below, I go into a bit more detail for each.

It’s important to note that these are not THE four pillars I think one should follow, they’re just four OF the pillars I think one CAN follow! They’re the ones I’m using to start guiding my goals for the next year.

Like with most things, I’m sure they’ll grow and change with time.

What are your thoughts?

How are you going about setting yourself up for a successful year? I’d love to hear!

And if there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope that your 2020 is off to a great start so far, and that you’re ready for more stuff from me as we kick off this next decade of fitness and fun.

Back when I started the blog, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a bunch of fitness posts. Yes, my goal is to share things that hope to be educational and informative, but I also want to share things that are entertaining and fun. This video definitely meets that criteria.

I hope you like it!

Friends,

It’s the final week of the 2020 Open, and this workout is a good one!

Not a ton of time to share strategy via text here since I’m trying to get this posted before people wake up to hit those 5am classes, but I’d love for you to watch the video at the bottom of this post and let me know what you think.

20point5

Here’s my main strategy, though… there are three primary groups that will be attacking this workout.

Group 1:

These athletes don’t expect to get a single Muscle-Up. As long as you can complete Rx’d Wall Balls and Rowing, this workout is a SPRINT to finish 80 Calories and 120 Wall Balls. Quick sets, quick transitions, then spend the rest of the time working to get your first-ever Muscle-Up!

Group 2:

These athletes can complete some, even many, of the 40 required Muscle-Ups. This group should STILL plan to reach their tie-break time in a decent split, but they should sprinkle in their muscle-up reps throughout the process in order to accumulate as many reps as possible while they’re more fresh! This group should definitely begin the workout with a few muscle-ups while they’re most fresh.

Group 3:

These athletes plan to complete the workout in 20 minutes or less. Athletes of this ability level are really good CrossFitters, and I think they should view this as essentially “40 Muscle-Ups for time.” What does that mean? I think they decide reasonable sets and reps for how they plan to complete their 40 reps, and then break down the Calories and Wall Ball sets to fit around those Muscle-Ups.

Regardless of how far athletes hope to get, I think it’s critical to identify one’s main weakness out of the three movements. What I mean by that is, if Muscle-Ups start failing first due to shoulder fatigue, I believe the majority of Wall Ball reps should be saved towards the end of the workout. Prioritize movements based on expected levels of fatigue.

We all know each of these movements is “full body” and require cardio, so the goal needs to be to ensure quality reps, no/few misses, and a steady pace throughout.

It’s the final week of the 2020 CrossFit Open. I hope you all have had as much fun competing as I did.

More than that, I hope you found my advice over the last five weeks to be helpful.

As always…. Good Luck, Have Fun, I Believe In You!

And I hope to see you soon!

Happy Thursday friends, and Happy Halloween!

Workout 20.4 was released tonight, and it’s a ton of Box Jumps, Clean and Jerks, and either Weighted Step-Ups or Pistol Squats. Just like last week’s workout, I think there will be three main groups of “Rx’d” athletes for this one.

Group 1 – Those not expecting to make it past the Pistol Squats

This is the group that I’m encouraging to GO out of the gates today! Thirty box jumps, fifteen of the lightest clean and jerks, thirty box jumps, fifteen heavier clean and jerks, thirty box jumps… TIE BREAK! Get there as fast as you can.

Since “tie-break” times are logged after every set of jumps, there will be thousands of people at each round’s cut-off. Therefore, the fastest you’re able to get through your final set of box jumps, the higher your ranking will be. If you think, or know, that it’s unlikely you’ll get through a single pistol squat, your goal is to get through your 90th box jump as fast (BUT SAFELY) as possible. For many athletes, that will mean “touch and go” on clean and jerks and a fast tempo through all box jumps.

Once you finish that last box jump, you’ve got the rest of the workout to complete your final set of 10 clean and jerks, and then work on getting any pistol squats!

Group 2 – “Some” pistols and maybe “some” of the fourth set of clean and jerks 

If completing a solid number of pistol squats is likely in your wheelhouse, pace the first three rounds of the workout a bit more. If your legs are fried and your heart rate is out of control after your third set of clean and jerks, it will be much more challenging to compose yourself enough to hit 30+ pistol squats and some heavy clean and jerks.

When that barbell weight starts to reach your max range, be sure to really dial it in before pulling that bar off the ground. Speed and aggression will be your best friend… not diving under the bar recklessly and hoping to be able to bounce your way out of it. Brace that core and go!

Group 3 – Expect to at least make it to the second-to-last clean and jerk bar

This group is aiming to complete as much of this workout as possible before the 20 minute time cap stops them. That means they’ll be working out for twenty whole minutes… that’s a long time!

I view the first three rounds of this workout as the equivalent of “getting through Diane” last week. If you sprint through it because the movements are easier and the weights are lighter, but then you’re out of breath and fatigued when the movements get more challenging and the weights get heavier… that doesn’t make too much sense to me. Be prepared to arrive at the first pistol squat, put on your game face, and *then* put your nose to the grindstone.

The name of the game during those final few rounds is going to be “No Missed Reps” for most athletes. Don’t rush through pistols and lose your balance. Don’t rush barbell reps and miss the jerk because you weren’t recovered enough after a heavy clean. Finally, I want to make sure athletes are prepared to squat their cleans in case that bar feels heavier than expected by the time you get to them. During your warm-ups, work up to the heaviest weight you hope to hit, and throw in some squat cleans and split jerks along the way so you’re ready if and when it comes to that mid-workout.

As I said with the heavy deadlifts last week, many of us will be performing heavy clean and jerks while we’re really tired. Please be safe.

I’d love it if you’d watch my strategy video below and let me know what you think, and if it helps you at all.

As always, “Good Luck, Have Fun, I Believe In You!

Happy Thursday, friends!

Another Open Workout is released, and it’s our first repeat of the 2020 Open Season. Workout 20.3 is a re-do of CF Games Open Workout 18.4. After going back and watching the video and reading the post I wrote for this workout back in 2018, I don’t really think I’d change my advice on how I think people should approach this one.

For that reason, I’ve posted the link to my entire 18.4 review at the bottom of this post!

The quick summary of my thoughts, however, is that I think there will be three main groups of athletes for this one.

Group 1 – Those Deads Are Heavy and/or Nope, Handstand Push-Ups Are Not My Jam

Since “tie-break” times are logged after every set of deadlifts, there will be thousands of people at each round’s cut-off. Therefore, the fastest you get through your final set of deads, the higher your ranking. If you think, or know, that it’s unlikely you’ll get through a single HSPU, your goal is to get through your 21 deadlifts as fast (BUT SAFELY) as possible. That could mean 21 seconds in 21 reps, tie-break time noted… and now you’ve got 8 minutes and 39 seconds to try and work through your first handstand push-up.

Group 2 – Diane I’ve Got… The Rest, I’m Not So Sure

If completing 21-15-9 of Rx’d Diane in 9 minutes or less is likely, but you’re not quite sure if you have much to offer for the second workout of heavier deadlifts and handstand walks, I think you should view this Open workout as, “How fast can I get through Diane?” Period. If it takes you 6 minutes to complete it, you have 3 minutes to get as many reps as possible of the second workout. If Diane takes you 8 minutes and 30 seconds, that still gives you 30 seconds to try and get in a few deads at the heavier weight.

Group 3 – Heavy Deads and Handstand Walks all day, baby!

If you fit into this category… congrats! You’re a beast. Pace this like you’d pace most normal CrossFit Open workouts. You need to be smart and realize that for most humans, trying to handstand walk when your shoulders are crushed typically doesn’t end well. If you plan to get to the handstand walks, my advice is to be patient enough to really fight for each 5 foot increment. Some people just flip upside down and hope for the best. Don’t get 4 feet in a row, then get charged a no-rep, four different times because you’re too tired. Be patient, regroup, and make every attempt at HS walk count.

Regardless of the version you choose, remember that you’re about to do a bunch of really heavy deadlifts, at presumably a very fast speed. Heavy deads are likely one of THE MOST COMMON ways that people injure themselves in this sport of exercise racing we all love. Please don’t become another statistic! Keep your core tight, and keep your movement sound. As fun as it is to sprint with a heavy barbell, I’d rather you be able to walk tomorrow. Please be safe.

Alright, here’s my FULL STRATEGY POST from Workout 18.4.

Check it out, and let me know if you have any other questions for me.

As always, “Good Luck, Have Fun, I Believe In You!

Since my video this week is 13 minutes long, I’m going to keep the writing in this post short.

Workout 20.2 is:

20 Minute AMRAP

4 Dumbbell Thrusters

6 Toes to Bar

24 Double-Unders

Here’s the basic gist of my advice-

Find a pace for each of the three movements you can maintain at a “forever” pace. If you come out too hot, the last half/quarter of the workout is going to be spent trying to keep it together.

  1. Transitions – Keep your gear as close together, and as neatly organized as possible the entire time. Don’t waste 1-10 seconds per round trying to pull your dumbbells back together or untwisting your jump rope.
  2. Break before you fatigue – If you know you’re going to be wrecked trying to hit 24 DUs in a row, break it up on purpose, take a breath, then continue.
  3. Find a sustainable pace – If you get 3+ more rounds in the first half of this workout than you do in the second half, I think you went out too hot. I’d rather you find a pace that allows you to feel STRONG at the halfway point and THEN turn it on.

Final question I get asked a lot-

Should I “Rx” or “Scale” this workout?

If you care about your “Open Ranking” AND you have the ability to physically perform even ONE rep of each of the movements, I think you should go Rx’d. Remember, if you complete ONE REP at the Rx’d weight, you’ll rank above every single person in the world who completes this workout scaled. That means if it takes you 20 minutes to do 3 reps of double dumbbell thrusters at Rx’d weight, but you can do it, I think it’s worth it to get a score of “3” Rx’d!

However, if your goal is to get a good workout in and sweat for 20 minutes, Scaled is 100% the way to go! Find weights and modifications that will allow you to keep moving, and remember that the best of the best in the world will get close to (or more than) THIRTY rounds of this workout completed.

I don’t know about you, but the last time I completed 1,000+ reps of ANYTHING in 20 minutes was….. probably never. When scaled appropriately, this will be a sneakily effective workout, regardless of the modifications used.

Hey, have fun out there, folks!
At the end of the day, it’s only fitness.

Get out there, be safe, and have some fun!