Posts Tagged ‘Competition’

The first few weeks of my Weekly Throwdown is in the books, so it’s time for challenge number two! We’re still working to practice different pacing strategies for “Murph” at the end of next month, so keep that in mind.

Last week we worked on the 3/6/9 pacing breakdown. This week, we’re going to do what I view as the most common way of breaking down reps; 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats.

Throwdown #2

4 Rounds

200m Run

5 Pull-Ups

10 Push-Ups

15 Air Squats

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Overall Strategy- In Murph, there is only a mile run at the beginning of the workout, and another one at the end. For today’s workout, your goal is to try and get a little bit faster for each one of your four rounds. Too often during Murph, athletes run a blazing fast first mile and then a significantly slower second one. By pacing today’s short workout, the goal is to focus on being able to control your speed and effort in hopes to still have some gas left in the tank for the end!

Runs– The distance is short, so there will be some effective pacing required to not go too hard on round one! Try to get faster each round!It doesn’t end with run, so feel free to really push that final 200m run!

Pull-Ups– Kipping and butterfly pull-ups may be performed today, but remember, we want to get faster each round.

Push-Ups– No hand-release push-ups required this week, but make sure your chest, hips, and quads STILL touch the ground, AND that you lock out all the way. Since most people can’t do sets of 10 throughout the entire Murph workout, my advice is to break up these reps how you’d plan to do it on game day. Most people try 4/3/3 or 3/3/2/2, with really short rests between each small set.

Air Squats– Chest up, crease of your hip below the top of your knee! We all know how to squat, just because we’re not holding a weight in our hand today doesn’t mean we don’t need to start practicing actual full range of motion.

I will be very impressed if athletes can actually get faster each round. My main advice for getting after it is to intentionally hold back on both the run AND reps for the first round. On the last round, get after it and push both. Last round should feel like a sprint from start to finish.

Let me know how it goes!!

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NEW SEGMENT ALERT!

To strengthen our community of readers, I’m going to try and post a challenge or workout that we can do together most weeks. They’ll be fairly fast and shouldn’t negatively impact any specific program you’re following!

Each week will have a different focus and “WHY are we doing this” aspect, and can be done any time from Monday through Sunday of that week. All I ask, is that you share your results here and comment on how it went!

The first few weeks of my Weekly Throwdown will be in preparation for a workout thousands of CrossFit athletes do around the world each year on Memorial Day: “Murph

Too often at the end of May people realize they haven’t devoted enough time to improving their running or their strength for the pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats that make up the workout.

Since you’re allowed to partition your reps any way you’d like in that workout, today’s variation is going to include the 3/6/9 break down, and will focus on strict and slower movements.

Throwdown #1

400m Run

5 Rounds of 3 Strict Pull-Ups, 6 Hand-Release Push-Ups, 9 Goblet Squats

400m Run

Focus/Modifications/Progressions:

Runs– Push the runs. Today’s workout includes slower movements by design. Since you’ll be standing around a little more than on a typical Murph, you’ll have plenty of time to recover before the next run. Run your first 400m at about 85/90% effort (faster than Murph pace), then try to match or beat it the second time!

Strict Pull-Ups– Make these the most challenging version of “chin-over” pull-ups you can do. Unassisted reps? Great! Pause and the bottom and don’t swing. Need a little kip to get that chin over? Use it! Can’t quite get your chin over yet? Although it’s not my favorite substitution, you can also use a band. But only if it only gives you that “little extra” push to get your chin over. If you’re needing to attach multiple or really strong bands, I always prefer a good strict ring row to build strength. These reps do not need to be unbroken, so feel free to break them up!

Hand-Release Push-Ups– My favorite version of push-up to ensure that an athlete’s chest actually touches the ground! If you’re doing push-ups from your toes, tell yourself not to let your knees touch the ground at all during the rep. At the end of each rep, come to a complete pause before beginning the next rep.

Goblet Squats– Holding a kettlebell, perform a set of 9 unbroken goblet squats. The goal with these is to ensure the chest is kept high at the bottom of each rep, and that the athlete stands all the way up at the top of every rep. It’s really easy to “shorten” range of motion in a workout like Murph, try to avoid that today!

This workout isn’t designed to be incredibly challenging. View it as a cardio component, focused skill and strength work, then a cardio piece to finish up. If you decide to tackle it, leave your time and some notes in the comments section.

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’m hanging with some family in Tuscon, Arizona, and as I sit by the pool I’m going to hop on my soap box for a minute. Since workout 18.4 of the CrossFit Games Open was released this week, I’ve seen more freak outs than I did when the 16th seed UMBC upset #1 UVA in the March Madness tournament last night!

The commentary I’m referring to, specifically, is the reaction to Dave Castro programming such heavy deadlifts in an Open workout. I’ve read that it’s “not inclusive,” that it’s too much volume at those weights, and there are a lot of claims that it’s simply irresponsible programming. I’ll hop on the “Dave Castro Sucks” bandwagon just as fast as the next person, mostly because it’s fun to do. But what I think people seem to forget is that the CrossFit Games Open is the first step to trying to identify the fittest humans on Earth. Not in your gym, not in your state… on the planet. To suggest that the Open workouts should be all inclusive is absurd to me.

First, let’s go back a little bit and talk about what the “sport” of CrossFit has done for fitness. It introduced a training program, allowed anyone to practice it at their own ability levels, and then showed the world what the best of the best are capable of doing. When I watch the Super Bowl on TV, I can cheer and yell and scream all I want, but know that I’ve never put on a pair of football pads in my life. When I watch the CrossFit Games, I know that I’ve done almost every single movement those athletes are doing, just with a lot less weight, and a lot slower. That ability to identify with, and relate, to these “superheros” is pretty cool. In order to identify who the fittest people are, the tests of fitness need to be effective enough to separate the cream from the rest of the crop. If Castro programmed 135lb deadlifts, that wouldn’t be a test of who has the most capacity, and we all know it.

Now, picture a random workout programmed at your box. If it calls for 225lb squat cleans for men, most of us would look at that and think, “Ok, that’s too heavy for me. I’m just going to scale the weight down.” I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to approach Open workouts the same way. CrossFit even provides scaled versions of every workout for the over 440,000 people registered. I don’t think it’s irresponsible to say, “Here are the workouts we wrote to identify the fittest humans on the planet. And for those of you who aren’t able to do those yet, here is a modified version that we hope you can do.”

If that same athlete who always tries to go Rx’d on workouts (when you know they shouldn’t) tries to on this workout, I feel it’s our job as coaches to stop them just like we would any other day. Yes, there is a worldwide leaderboard associated with this competition, but if I get hurt rounding my back during 18.4, or if it happens on a random Tuesday in November, I’m still going to be a hurt athlete. In my opinion, there are so few people who should ever intentionally put themselves in a position to get hurt in the gym. If the weight for the Rx is too heavy for you, work until you can’t anymore, take your tiebreak time, and get ready for next week. If you can’t do it Rx’d at all, complete the scaled version and keep yourself moving. It’d still be a 7+ minute workout for most athletes! If you’re bummed, embarrassed, or frustrated that you don’t have the strength or skill to do something yet, turn that energy around! Instead of being down on yourself, make a commitment to improve those skills so that you’ll have them next year!

I’m a coach, and what I love most is helping people make that shift in their mindset. Saying “I can’t do” something to me is completely justifiable… as long as you end that sentence with “yet.” Find people out there who can teach you the fundamental movements, prescribe appropriate progressions, and monitor your progress along the way. It’s amazing what 20 minutes of focused skill work per day, a few days per week, can help you accomplish in a matter of months!

To me, programming 315lb. deadlifts in a workout is not irresponsible. What’s irresponsible is trying them if you’re too tired to lift the bar properly, or attempting to pick it up if you’re simply not strong enough to do so safely. Know when it makes sense to just take your tie break time and walk away on your own terms.

Alright, it’s time to go get in the pool. Take care of yourselves out there. Remember, it’s only competitive exercising, please try not to get hurt. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Some people prefer heavy barbells in workouts and others prefer more gymnastics style movements. Workout 18.4 has BOTH of those things!

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Men’s Rx Workout

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Women’s Rx Workout

The workout begins with the CrossFit Benchmark “Diane,” which is 21-15-9 of deadlifts (225/155) and handstand push-ups. Then, it gets turned up to “11” and the deadlifts go to 315/205, while the handstand push-ups turn into handstand walks (50 feet each round).

The main thing to note, is that since there is a tie break after EACH set of deadlifts, athletes should have a clue about where they hope to end, and base the entire workout on getting there as quickly and safely as possible.

Deadlifts

A 225lb. deadlift isn’t that heavy for a lot of male athletes, and a 155lb deadlift isn’t that heavy for a lot of women, but Diane isn’t the primary focus of this workout. Going unbroken because “you can” is not a good idea. Please be sure to keep your chest up and pace yourself during these reps. The handstand push-ups will take a lot longer than usual for most people, so utilizing an alternating grip and trying to relax your arms as much as you can while keeping the bar close will save your shoulders a bit.

I’d recommend most athletes break up the deadlifts into at least 3 sets with short rests for the first half of the workout. If and when you make it to the second half, it’ll need to be a judgement call for how to go about the heavier deads. If you can safely brace and go through quick singles, that might make more sense than trying to hang on for larger sets, but needing to take longer rests.

Handstand Push-Ups

Souls are going to get crushed here today. Assuming judging is done properly, thousands of athletes are going to no-repped for not hitting the movement standards. I recommend having someone video a few of your reps before the workout starts. Play around with staying locked out on the wall and flexing and extending your ankles, seeing how that places your feet in relation to the line, and making sure you know what a “good rep” feels like. Once you get tired, it’s going to be a lot more challenging to get all the way up and over. It’ll almost be a “scap push-up” at the top of the rep for most athletes.

When considering pacing, the only thing athletes should be thinking about is not to burn out. For “regular” Diane, people will often get through the round of 21 in only a few sets, struggle through the round of 15, and then completely crash and burn on that final round of 9 reps. Take that feeling and multiply it by 100 for the feeling most people will likely have here. Small sets, listen to your judge to minimize no-reps, and don’t get frustrated! It’s better to take long rests between good attempts, than to keep getting no-repped over and over again.

Handstand Walks

If you make it to this part of the workout, congrats! That’s going to be a huge accomplishment for this workout. Shoulders will likely be pretty tired, so as long as the main focus is keeping your arms straight, locked out, and strong, athletes with handstand walks should at least be able to make the 5ft increments without too much difficulty. I don’t think it’s necessary to do all 25ft in a row if the likelihood of falling is high. Walk a bit, drop if you need to, shake out those arms, and get back up.

Scaled Version

The weight is lighter (135/95 for the first part, and 185/135 for the second) and the movements are less advanced. But that does not mean the workout is easy! Hand-release push-ups are the second movement in the first half, and bear crawls were introduced in the Open for the second part.

The name of the game for the Scaled version is to just keep moving! On the set of 21 deadlifts, quick sets of 7 should work for a lot of athletes. Remember, just because you can go unbroken on the set of 21, doesn’t mean you should. The weight gets quite a bit heavier for the second time through and you don’t want to blow up your lower back!

The short rest on the ground for hand-release push-ups should allow athletes to keep moving a little faster through those reps. Since the bear crawls will be less stress on the shoulders for the second half of the workout, I would recommend pushing a little bit faster than you might want to on the hand-release reps.

While only a few athletes will likely finish the Rx’d version of this workout, there will be a lot more who make it through the Scaled version. That means instead of viewing this as a “get as far as you can” workout, you should approach it with a “what’s the best way to pace this entire workout” mentality. Smaller sets, short rest, will be the way to control heart rate and relieve your lower back from being under tension for too long.

Just remember that this is supposed to be fun! Put a smile on your face, keep your core tight and chest up, and get after it. Only one more week to go!

Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

The CrossFit Games Open is such an incredibly fun time of year! It gives those of us who have been in the game for years a chance to see how far this sport has come. We sit around like alumni back at our old college bar reminiscing about the glory days. “Back when I started CrossFit, you were a beast if you could hit a 225lb snatch!” “Remember when an Open workout was seven minutes of burpees, and that was it?” “I used to be in the top 200 in the Region.” Gosh, those were the days.

Nowadays, some of us look at scores that are submitted during this competition and LITERALLY think, “Nope. That’s impossible!” I chuckle to myself trying to process some of the outlandish things we used to say would NEVER HAPPEN. Today, a 275lb. snatch for guys and a 335lb. clean and jerk rarely even causes an eyebrow to raise, and that is just beyond me. But that’s what this event allows us to see.

Click on a workout, filter by top score, and watch just how many people are capable of incredible feats of human strength. For workout 18.2A, there were over 330 men worldwide that cleaned over 350lbs, immediately AFTER a workout. I remember watching Jason Khalipa fail a 135lb snatch AT THE GAMES a few short years ago. That’s an awful lot of progress in not that much time.

With all of that there is something we all need to remember. All people are not created equal. All athletes don’t spend the same amount of time working out. No two humans have the same genetic makeup. There are always going to be athletes who are better at some things than others. All of that is normal. It is completely alright and expected. And we should never be upset if we’re not the best.

If someone beats you on a strength workout, it could just mean they’re stronger than you. It doesn’t mean that they’re a better person. If someone else score more reps on an endurance-based workout than you, they may just have a better engine. It doesn’t mean that “you wasted an entire year of your life training.” This CrossFit thing has become an UNHEALTHY obsession for thousands of people all over the world. Are there less healthy obsessions? You BET! But it kills me to see people beat themselves up over their ranking in a competition where you don’t even know WHAT you’re preparing for in the first place!

Look, with two weeks left in the 2018 Open, all I can ask of you is that you try your best. If you’ve been busting your butt for the last 12 months, be proud of that! Congratulate yourself for being that focused on trying to make yourself better. Most people do not have the determination to stick with something that hard for that long! If you have NOT been training hard for the last 12 months, then be aware that being a “competitive CrossFitter” is now a part- or a full-time job. And even then, there is ONE PERSON who wins.

It’s probably safe to say now that all of us are more likely to get drafted as a kicker for an NFL team than to win the CrossFit Games. Another fun side note is that the minimum salary for all rookies in the NFL is $465,000. EVERY ROOKIE  in the NFL will make at least that much. In a league with nearly 1,700 players. Now in CrossFit, in a worldwide competition with over 440,000 athletes registered, the OVERALL WINNER (both male AND female) make $275,000. The 20th place person makes $2,000. Two Thousand Dollars. They likely spent more than that to fly TO the Games and on lodging. If not, they very likely spent more than that on supplements and body treatment over the course of the year. The point there is that I doubt very many of us are trying to get better here to make a living doing CrossFit!

I say that to keep this thing in perspective. One of my friends recently said, “Ok, so you made it to Regionals. Congrats! What happened the next Monday? Did you still have to go to work? Yep. You did. Oh, you made it to the Games?! That’s awesome! Did you still go back into the office the next week? Yep, you sure did.” That’s not to knock the efforts, motivation, or inspiration people have to make themselves better. I love that. No, really, I LOVE THAT! And THAT is what I think your focus should be. Are you actually getting better? Are you able to live your life and be healthier and happier and stronger and faster? If yes, then you’re good. Be proud of that!

If you’re sore and hangry and miserable and lonely all the time because you “HAVE TO” train and limit your calories and go to bed early and work out again…. to hopefully be top 400 in your Region… is it worth it? That’s a question that you can only answer for yourself. I just hope that whatever your answer is, it won’t be one that you regret in two, or eight, or thirty years.

I have so much respect for athletes who commit their lives to constant improvement. I’m lucky enough to coach a LOT of them every day. But it breaks my heart when I see them absolutely devastated for not performing better at a random workout on a random day. My heart cries when they comment on their lack of self worth or say how poorly they feel they did, when after MONTHS of hard work, their efforts have improved their performance in so many areas! Imagine working really hard on something, getting SO MUCH BETTER at it, and still not feeling good about yourself? THAT is where this equation goes wrong in my brain.

Please know that your self worth is in no way assessed by your ranking in the worldwide Open. Your family and friends won’t love you any more because of how well you do. If your goal is to get better, then I’m all about it. But constantly remind yourself that all we’re doing is working out and trying to be healthier humans. I hope you can remember that most days.

Two more weeks to go, everyone. Keep your head up, and try to have some fun.

NotYourRanking

Week number one of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is all but done, and excitement fills the air! Yet, thousands of people all over the world have already started to lose their minds. This happens EVERY year and it gets funnier and funnier to me each time. Here are three of the people you’ll run into over the next month as the competition continues to unfold!

Person Number One: The “Casual” Athlete

Excited1

“I don’t really care about the Open this year. I’m just going to do it for fun!”

Yet for some reason, immediately after completing the workout, they’ll obsess over the scores of people they know, comment that someone else got away with no-reps, and how this other person clearly lied to get that high of a score.

You know, sometimes people are just better. They may work harder, could be more naturally talented, and the movements selected may have just been more in their wheelhouse. Also… are there people who cheat and lie when submitting their Open scores? YES, of course! But what is you stressing out going to do about it? Nothing.

Person Number Two: The Failed “Non-Repeater”

Excited2

“This year, it’s all one-and-dones for me. No retests!”

This person also downplays how important the Open is to them, and does their first attempt either Thursday night right after the workout is released, or on Friday at some point to “get it out of the way.” They then go home and drive themselves crazy over that one time they set down the barbell when they shouldn’t have.

On Saturday or Sunday morning when they go to Open Gym to cheer on their friends, they decide they’ll just give this one workout another go. After a few more hours of leaderboarding that night, they head into the gym on Monday frustrated that they’ve dropped 1,500 more spots in the last 24 hours. Well…. maybe if they retested ONE MORE TIME at 4:50pm, they could squeak out a few more reps. This pattern repeats itself every week throughout the entire Open.

Person Number Three: The “Target”

Excited3

“I can’t believe they redid the workout just to beat my score.”

First of all, that might true. Especially in competitive gyms or regions where people throw down against one another week in and week out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The Open is LITERALLY a competition! But most of the time, it’s not just about you. Sure, you may be a blip on the radar of someone who decides to retest, but there are probably a lot of other people they’re trying to take down, too! Don’t be upset that your buddy beat your score by 3 reps, be flattered that you pushed them enough to want to go again.

A few years ago, I used to train CrossFit two to three hours per day, five to six days per week. The sport was my life, and my primary goal was to try and qualify for Regionals. Unfortunately, I never accomplished that goal. These days, I work out three to five hours per week depending on availability in my work schedule. Whereas in the past, my motivation for retesting was to try and improve my ranking, these days it’s just fun to see if I can beat myself. I love the challenge of deconstructing my performance, and making up a more effective strategy to try and improve.

Today, I walked into the gym and didn’t want to do the workout that was programmed. After deciding that I thought I could beat my 18.1 score from my first attempt, I decided to retest. That’s all there was to it, and I was fine with my decision. I have stressed out approximately zero minutes about my ranking and simply wanted to give it another go. I would support almost any athlete who made the same decision, assuming their body felt up to the challenge. Just don’t do it if your hands are destroyed, your lower back is blown up, and if you’re motivated by anyone else. You’ll drive yourself crazy!

While I am all about people becoming competitive during this time of year, I never want your self-worth to be determined by your ranking in a random workout. If the Open makes you feel like Jessie Spano while spending two hours straight refreshing the leaderboard, take a deep breath, set your phone on the table, and go for a walk. Don’t pretend to be excited for this annual event, but secretly be a basket case. Just smile, do your best, and have fun. You are so much more than your Open ranking. I promise.

Happy 2018 CrossFit Games Open, everyone! It’s finally here!

The first workout (18.1) was released tonight, and for the SEVENTH year in a row, I’ve recorded my strategy video with my advice for the best way to attack it. First, let’s review the workout:

18.1.png

To watch my strategy video, click below. Otherwise, I’ll summarize this workout in a few sentences below. Enjoy!

Toes To Bar

There are some people who can do 8 Toes To Bars unbroken all day long. Most athletes, however, cannot. If you know that 8 reps in a row isn’t sustainable for 8-12 rounds, I would recommend breaking them up from the start. Depending on the athlete, that could mean doing sets as 5 reps, short rest, 3 reps… or athletes who do quick singles or doubles. Knowing your own limitations will be key for this, and not relying on adrenaline of the first few rounds pushing you to come out swinging and then crash and burn.

Hang Clean and Jerks

Your motto during this movement should be “No Missed Reps!” Stand all the way up and pause before your first rep. Make sure the dumbbell touches your shoulder after the clean. Control the lockout overhead before lowering the weight from the jerk. There are so many chances to cut a rep short during this movement. Remind yourself that 20 minutes is a long time, and pace your effort and speed accordingly. Push Press may work great for 5 rounds, but if your arms are wrecked after that, are you confident enough with your technique to switch to confident Push Jerks? I hope so! If you’re strong enough, I think hanging onto the dumbbells for all 10 reps should be a goal throughout the entire workout, even if it means pausing with the dumbbell at your shoulders or at the hang for a few seconds.

Rowing

This movement will feel REALLY EASY the first few rounds, and you’ll be tempted to pull at a much higher power output than normal. Resist the urge! My advice here is to be powerful and efficient with your strokes (longer and stronger versus short and fast) in order to conserve energy and keep your heart rate down. Most men will likely average out somewhere in the 1050-1250 calories per hour range, while most women in the 850-1050 range. Remember, you’ll spend half of your time on the rower each round! If you’re gassed by round 4 from sprinting too hard, you’ll probably have a bad time for the second half of the workout. I’d rather you start slower and build as you go, versus crashing and burning.

At the end of the day, I think this is a really good first workout for the 2018 Open. It is really inclusive, and allows for a wide array of pacing strategies based on where our individual strengths may fall. Let me know what you think of this video, and I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

My philosophy on competitions of any kind is that once they’re done, a celebration should follow shortly thereafter. Win, lose, or draw. This is all well and good for most athletes who play on teams, or participate in long events, but sometimes people have a hard time seeing eye to eye with me because of the sports that I’ve competed in most. As a swimmer, I specialized in the sprint events, which means that on a good day most of my races were less than one minute long. At a typical meet, I’d swim a maximum of five events. If you’re as good at math as I am, you’ve already figured out that I’d train 20+ hours per week (oh hi, NCAA official… I mean to say I’d train just under 20 hours per week) in order to compete for less than five total minutes. Even worse, during big championship meets that last 2-3 days, I might swim a total of 10 minutes all weekend long! Swim a race in under 30 seconds. Wait a few hours. Repeat. For three full days!

Some of my friends who were endurance swimmers specialized in events that took anywhere from two to fifteen minutes EACH. That is a pretty big difference in total time spent actually throwing down. Those who played other sports like soccer and football had games that were hours long. Me, five minutes of total work. The worse part, is that even with that difference, I would still be completely exhausted at the end of each meet.

In CrossFit, it’s kind of the same situation for me. I’d sign up for a 2-day competition, compete in 5 or 6 total events, each typically falling in the 6-12 minute range, and feel absolutely crushed afterwards! Saying it out loud seems silly to me. How can my wife compete in Half IRONMAN triathlon where she’s moving for five HOURS straight and not even sore the next day, and I’m hobbling for the rest of the weekend after doing fifteen whole minutes of exercise racing?!

Regardless, when competition day comes and that huge flood of adrenaline kicks in, I find an extra gear that doesn’t ever show up during training. Pushing that hard for each those events takes just about everything out of me, so when I’m done, I feel like I deserve to celebrate surviving. Since so many of us are going to be “competing” in the same events for the next five weeks, I think we ALL deserve to celebrate! My celebration of choice usually involves beer (sometimes tequila) and pizza or burgers. What are your celebration treats to yourself after an accomplishment?

The 2018 CrossFit Games Open starts in a matter of hours. I hope you’re excited, and that you’ve got your post-workout or post-Open meals already planned out! Good luck out there, friends!

It’s almost here, everyone! One week from today the first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is released. What does that mean for you? Well, here’s a quick list of 5 things you can do to make sure you’re ready for week number one!

1- Start training!

With only 7 days to go, now is probably a good time to get into the gym and start training for this year’s Open! 🙂

2- Take care of your body

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we’re all busy. Sometimes we don’t drink enough water or get enough rest, but if the Open is really important to you, you need to make taking care of yourself for the next few weeks of a top priority. Since you’ll likely be pushing harder on these workouts, your body will need a little bit more TLC to recover properly.

3- Establish your “Event Ritual” ahead of time

For most gyms, Open WODs will be run a lot like regular CrossFit classes. Coach explains the workout, runs athletes through a general warm-up, then allows time for set-up, finding judges, etc. If you know you’ll want a little bit more time than that to get your mind and body right, plan for it ahead of time. Do you have a slew of pre- and post-workout supplements you take? Figure out how to organize them as efficiently as possible so you’re not distracted before an event trying to find your BCAA’s through a sea of people.

Some people show up early and stay late to cheer for their friends, and I love that about the Open! Keep in mind that you can use that time to be productive, too! Sit on a lacrosse ball to loosen up your hammies, attach a band to the rig and warm up your shoulders while your friends row. You can simultaneously help them and prepare yourself for when it’s your turn to throw down!

4- Breathe.

Hey you! We’re working out for fun, and none of this matters. And I mean that in the most sincere way possible! Relax.

5- Be a good person

You know number “4” above? The one reminding you to breathe? If you’re not one of those people that freaks out over these workouts, you’ll at least see a bunch of them start to creep up over the next five weeks. My advice is to be overly supportive to those around you. Some people need a pep talk before their heat. Others want to be left alone. Some will want a shoulder to lean on after they’re done. Be aware of what’s going on around you, ask people what you can do for them, and then do that thing! It makes the community so much stronger when groups of people just want to help one another.

One week until the madness starts.

And for the other half of you, only five weeks until it’s all over!

OneWeekOut1

Every single day you go to the gym, you should give yourself one thing to think about during training.

I’ll give a few specific examples below, but my logic behind that statement is simple. As someone who suffers from paralysis by analysis in my own life, it is so simple to get overwhelmed with details that you can’t focus on a single one properly. For example, I could sit here list over 10 things to think about in order to plank properly. Plank… you know, the thing where you hold your body at the top of a push-up? So imagine how many cues one could have when completing a workout with four different movements, many of which are far more complex than a simple plank.

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Instead, once you know what you’re going to do for the day, pick a one thing and hone nearly all of your energy on completing it as effectively as possible. Let’s discuss a few scenarios:

Heavy Strength Set

If you know you’re going to try and move mountains today, the anxiety and excitement leading up to those heavy reps can be exhausting. For a big squat day, make sure your core is tight throughout the lift. Or that you knees stay out. Or that you take a big breath at the top before beginning your descent. Even those three things combined can be too much to focus on at once. Keep your cue(s) simple, meaningful to you, and effective! The less in your brain, the more you can just move that weight!

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Long Workout

Let’s say it’s a 5 round workout with rowing, wall balls, deadlifts, sit-ups, and pull-ups. There’s a lot going on there, huh? Instead of trying to overwhelm yourself with pacing out your splits of how fast each round should be, you could say to yourself, “today, I’m going to do each round of 20 wall balls as a set of 12 reps, short rest, then a set of 8.” Many people believe that making a plan of attack and “visualizing” your workout is a great strategy.

If you’re in a competition, the stakes are different, and I completely agree! Planning out and rehearsing every second might be the difference between first and second place. But very few people have the time, energy, or desire to spend that much time getting ready for their 4-6 days of training every week! Pick a thing or two, and just breathe through the rest.

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Active Rest/Recovery

Some days you’ll show up to the gym feeling pretty beat up. Your body is sore, your mind is tired, and you haven’t been sleeping well. “But it’s Friday,” you tell yourself, and you “ALWAYS work out on Fridays.” That doesn’t mean you need to red line on the workout, completely wreck yourself, and hobble around all weekend.

If you make the decision that you just need to move for the day, that’s totally fine, and I support you. Even on those days, you can find something to focus on. Maybe on the rowing portion of the workout you focus on keeping your heels down and start to learn what your stroke rate is for repeat 500’s. If there’s snatching for strength, really emphasize making your receiving position as snappy as possible. You can always get better, even if you’re just there to move for the day!

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Now, this post is in no way implying that the rest of your training session should be done by completely checking out. Quite the opposite, in fact. I believe that everything in the gym should be done “with purpose.” Instead, I’m trying to help athletes narrow down a primary point of attack each day. Having a panic attack because you’re staring at the bar before a deadlift attempt thinking, “chest up, back flat, proper stance, breathe, chest up, knees back, push away the floor, grip it and rip it, etc, etc,” doesn’t help anyone.

We’re in the gym to get better every day. Try your best to narrow down your scope on the big things, and as long as you head out of the gym with a smile on your face, most of the time you’ve done alright. This fitness game of ours is most certainly a marathon, not a sprint.