Posts Tagged ‘CrossFit Open’

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.

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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!

Thrusters and Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups for 19.5. A lot of us knew they were going to show up, but I don’t know anyone who predicted a workout this brutal! It’s more reps than Double-Fran, and is more challenging because of the chest-to-bars. Ouch!

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My three main pieces of advice for this one are as follow:

  1. Planned Sets. This applies more to the Thrusters than the Pull-Ups. One way to do this (if you are proficient with the Thruster weight), could be to break down your Thrusters into three sets each round. Meaning, for the round of 33, complete three sets of 11 reps. Or, if you’re like me and don’t like needing to repeat the same number of reps more than once, go 13/11/9. Then, for the set of 27 reps, go 11/9/7, and so on.
  2. Control. Controlling your hear rate will be critical, especially with the Thrusters. Coming out of the gate too hot will lead to a ton of standing around by the time you’re halfway through this workout. On pull-ups, know yourself and your abilities before this workout begins. Completing a couple of huge sets at the beginning will lead to most people frying their grip early on. This is going to be a longer workout. Be smart, conserve your energy, and complete steady sets from the start. It’ll be much better to save a little energy for the end of the workout than to crushed for the last two rounds!
  3. Double Fran Plus! The workout Fran is 21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull-Ups. This is more than double that volume. And with Chest-to-Bars! I say that again because I think you need to remember that from the very beginning of this workout! Break up your sets often and early, just minimize your rest between them. Keep yourself moving.

If you watch my video for the week, as always, please let me know what you think and if it helped you at all.

This is the final week of the 2019 CrossFit Games Open! Let me know how it goes for you!

A lot of people I know predicted that workout 19.4 would include some sort of Snatch variation and one kind of Muscle-Up. Well, those friends were correct!

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My three main pieces of advice for this one are as follow:

  1. Which version are you? In my mind, there are two versions of this workout for “Rx” athletes. The first is for athletes who are able to complete the first 3-round workout without too much difficulty, but who will then likely be unable to complete a single Bar Muscle-Up. My advice to those athletes is to view this workout as an ABSOLUTE SPRINT! Get through those three rounds of 10 Snatches and 12 Bar-Facing Burpees as fast as you possibly can! The tie break time after that final Burpee of the third round (Rep 66) will separate THOUSANDS of athletes around the world. Get to that tie break as fast as possible! For the other group of athletes who plan to make it to, and through several of the Bar Muscle-Ups, I think this workout needs to be paced a little bit more. Making it through the first three-rounds and being destroyed will likely leave very little in the tank to get through the Bar Muscle-Ups as efficiently as you’d like. Leave some juice in the tank, and break up the Muscle-Ups earlier than you might want to. Something tells me that shoulders and triceps are going to be more fatigued than people expect.
  2. Breathe. For athletes looking to get into the second three-rounder, it will be very easy to get a little bit too excited when this workout starts and make it an absolute sprint. A lot of athletes can sprint one, and maybe even two rounds of Snatches and Burpees, but if that third round takes it out of you, even a three minute rest won’t allow you to finish strong in the second portion. Keep your heart rate down, your breath slow and controlled, and put yourself in a position where you can *finish* this workout stronger than you start it.
  3. Relax. Same advice as last week. You can’t control other athletes who get credit for “garbage reps” by their judges, so don’t even worry about it! Stand up all the way on your Snatches, face your bar and take off with both feet on your Burpees, and follow protocol on the Muscle-Ups. I received several messages last week from people telling me how frustrating it was to watch judges count Handstand Push-Ups that didn’t meet the standard, but my response to that remains the same; “It’s just a silly competition, and none of it really matters.” Stay in your lane, have fun with your friends, and only worry about controlling what you can control. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!

If you spend the time to watch my video for the week, as always, please let me know what you think, and if it helped you at all.

Only one week of the 2019 CrossFit Games Open remains after this week. Have some fun out there, everyone!

There are going to be a lot of tired shoulders after 19.3 is said and done. Here’s the workout!

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My three main pieces of advice for this one are as follow:

  1. Get your shoulders warm. The bulk of this workout involves making sure your shoulders can move, or stabilize, weight appropriately. Prime your body with that in mind.
  2. Know Your Role. Some athletes know that Strict Handstand Push-Ups may not be in the cards for them today. That’s fine! The workout has a “Tie Break” to be logged at the end of the final Box Step-Up and another after the final Strict HSPU. If the goal is to get through the Lunges and Step-Ups… do that as quickly as possible!
    Second, on the HSPU, there will be thousands of athletes who come out of the gates with too large of sets. Please recognize that for most athletes, 50 reps is a really high amount… especially when tired. Smaller sets and shorter rest without “no-reps” will make for faster work than standing around and missing reps at the end because of fatigue.
  3. Relax. Gyms all over this great world of ours will allow athletes to get away with garbage reps… it’s just human nature. One athlete feels bad no-repping their friend, so full range of motion isn’t enforced. It’ll be ok. Have conversations with your coaches, classmates, and competitors beforehand, and then just move on with your day. The goal is that everyone does every rep correctly, but that simply doesn’t always happen. Just control what you do. That’s all you should focus on anyways!

***I PROMISE I TRY TO KEEP MY VIDEOS SHORT!***

If you spend the time to watch this, as always, please let me know what you think, and if it helped you at all.

Good luck out there, friends!

This week we’ve got (what is essentially) our first “repeat” workout from a previous year’s Open. Workout 19.2 is structured basically the same as workout 16.2, the only difference is that instead of potentially being stopped at minute four, all athletes get the chance to work for at least 8 minutes. I love that!

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My strategy video for this week’s workout is longer than last week’s, but I felt it was necessary to drill in a few key points on how I think people should strategize this one!

  1. Tie Break: In this workout, your judge will write the time after you complete each set of 50 double-unders. More than other workouts, I’m encouraging athletes to charge a little bit faster through what will likely be their final set of jump rope in order to hopefully move ahead of other athletes on the leaderboard. If you tie with someone else, the person who finished their final set of doubles first will be considered the winner!
  2. Barbell Loading: This week, you *are* allowed to have other people switch out your barbell weights. If there are extra bodies around to help do that, use their help! The last thing I feel like doing when I’m tired is bending over to load or unload my bar. Use any help you have, or load up multiple barbells if possible. Conserve as much of your energy as possible!
  3. Singles on Cleans: I know that for a lot of athletes the first weight (and maybe even the second) are quite manageable and the tendency will be to want to “touch-and-go” reps. Please resist that urge. For athletes who plan to make it to the third or fourth round of this workout, rounds one and two are just your warm-up. If you jack up your heart rate too fast early on, you will likely not be able to recover when the weight actually gets heavy. Find some hard rubber (or competition) bumper plates, keep that bar close, and stick with quick singles for this entire piece.

I hope you found this information useful, and that the video gave some more advice to how I think you should attack this thing. Now get out there and have some fun!

If you watch the video below, I’d love to know what you think in the comments!

Does workout 19.1 favor tall athletes?

Sure.

Do you know who it favors more than tall people, though?

Fit people.

It’s only workout one of five. There are still four more to go!

To people who consider themselves “short”… build that tiny little bridge for our tiny little legs, and get over it. You’ll be “graced” with Thrusters (a traditionally non-tall-person friendly movement) before you know it.

(Then you’ll probably complain that Thrusters were programmed, too! No? That’s just me that’ll complain? Ok, cool.)

Tall people… enjoy your 15 minutes of CF Games Open movement selection glory! I bet Burpees and Air Squats will be here soon! (Short people, rejoice!)

Now, get back out there and have some fun!

The 2019 CrossFit Games Open is here, and workout 19.1 was released a few hours ago!

The workout is fairly straightforward, too. It’s a 15 Minute AMRAP or 19 Wall Ball Shots and 19 Calories on the Rower.

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In my strategy video for this one I tried to keep it simple, and my three main pieces of advice are as follows:

  1. PACE – Keep your heart rate low and your breath as controlled as possible. Your bodies are going to want to “Fight or Flight” fast if you come sprinting out of the gates.
  2. Transitions – There will be a lot of up and down in this workout. For the Wall Balls, keep the ball as close to the wall as you can when you finish each set, and try your best not to let it drop to the ground if you need a break mid set. On the Rower, keep that wheel spinning at an even pace, and make the transition from sitting down on the machine to getting back up is as smooth as possible.
  3. Movement Efficiency – It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you’re moving, if you’re wasting a ton of energy as you do it. Finding subtle ways to row or “throw” a bit more productively could lead to conserving enough energy to give a solid push for the last few minutes. When it comes to these movements, less wasted effort equals more reps!

If you watch the video below, I’d love to know what you think in the comment!

 

The first week of the 2019 CrossFit Games Open is under way, and I’m excited for another year of fun with all of you!

-Tom

There are two predictable behavior patterns that CrossFit athletes show every year. The first is the feeling of sheer panic people get in anticipation of the CrossFit Games Open… which usually starts 2-4 weeks before the competition begins. (Oh no, I still don’t have muscle-ups! Better try to learn them in a week, even though I’ve had a year to practice!) The second thing we can expect is a verbal commitment to improve weaknesses that are identified during the Open over the next year. (Next year I WILL have stronger handstand push-ups!) Many athletes end up falling short of their goals, however. They’ll pick something, work on it for a few weeks, get bored, and then stop.

While anyone can watch athletes on Instagram and follow their accessory work, promise to “add in a few reps of pull-ups after every workout” to get stronger, or run five miles per week to not hate cardio as much, there are more effective ways to ensure steady progress.

Over the years, I’ve created individualized programming for dozens of athletes ranging from mobility progressions, to race training blocks for the Concept2 Rower, to “functional bodybuilding” style work that simply increases raw strength. By having someone you trust provide you with an effective training plan, give you the regular feedback necessary to make adjustments in technique, and help keep you accountable week after week, you’ll be positioning yourself in a place where success is much more likely!

Another thing I’ve discussed on this blog (here, for example) is acknowledging that we can only really focus on improving a few things at a time. If your goals for the next year are to get stronger, faster, bigger, leaner, more gymnasty, more flexible, sleep more, become more mentally tough, improve your lung capacity, clean up your diet, collect more neon-colored workout gear, run a faster mile, and grow a killer beard… maybe you should take a step back and prioritize a few of those things to start. (I’ve written about that here, too.) A good coach can help you do that! This fitness thing really is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Pick one or two things off of that list at a time to improve, get a plan that works for you, and dedicate yourself to it. After some time, move on and attack the next thing. Rinse. Repeat. But whatever you do, don’t say you’re going to get better at something, spend zero time improving it, and then get mad when Dave Castro programs it next year in the Open. You had an entire year to get better!

How can you put yourself in a place to not let a full year pass without improving on those movements and skills?

ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s how.

Let me know if you’d like to chat about how I might be able to help you! While many gyms have great programming and coaching, in order to accomplish goals that apply to you, specifically, it often takes a more personalized approach. Prioritizing goals, then creating a program (complete with effective periodization, structured training cycles, etc) can be a challenge, but they’re really fun to develop.  Let’s get better together!

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is under way, so that means the next few weeks of training won’t be too productive. Unless my soul gets absolutely crushed, I’ll likely redo most of the workouts. It’s not because I think I’m going to Regionals, but because it’s always fun for me to see if I can beat my first score.
    • For workout 18.1, I retested and got 22 more reps the second time, so that was fun.
    • This week, I paced the first part of 18.2 too much, and got buried under the clean. I’m fairly confident I can go faster on 18.2, but literally don’t think my legs are strong enough to stand up with any more weight. Let’s just hope I don’t go faster on the first, and then crash and burn on the clean. I know quite a few people who had that happen!
  • Drywall in the garage is done! It only took 6 hours on Sunday, but we did it!

This week:

  • I plan to record my strategy video for the third workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open. People are still responding well to them, so yay!
  • This coming weekend, it would be great to start mounting the pegboard in the garage.

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

The pic of the week comes from a little walk we took on Saturday. It may just look like a sunset over mall parking lot, but it’s more than that. In this moment, Em and I were having an incredible conversation about work, family, and life. The older I get, the more I cherish moments like these. I hope you all had a great weekend, too!

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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

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“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”

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“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”

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“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.