CrossFit athletes around the world will participate in the 2021 CrossFit Open, starting on March 11. For professional athletes, this is how they qualify to eventually compete in the CrossFit Games. But for the rest of us, why does this matter, and why should I do the Open?
What Is the CrossFit Open?
The CrossFit Open is the first step in qualifying for the CrossFit Games. It’s normally five weeks, with one workout per week that must be judged by another CrossFitter or filmed so that it can be reviewed by headquarters. This year, due to COVID-19, it’s been shortened to three weeks, with a minimal equipment version and a no-equipment version. The workouts are released on Thursdays at 5 p.m. PT and must be completed by Monday at 5 p.m. PT.
CrossFit Open workouts can vary anywhere from 20-minute AMRAPs to short, 21-15-9 sprints like Fran. But they’re usually completely unpredictable. In the past, Games director Dave Castro has dropped cryptic clues on his Instagram account – clues that most people can’t figure out. Participants are ranked by gender and age group; teens 17 and under have their own category, and the Masters divisions start at 35. RX and scaled options exist for all workouts, and Masters workouts for those over 55 usually look more like the scaled workouts for younger age groups.
Why Should I Do the Open?
Only a small percentage of Open participants make it to Regionals, and even fewer make it to the Games. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the Open! It’s an opportunity to measure your fitness against people around the world – and against yourself. For example, this year, you could come in 18,000 in your age group. Next year, you could be 11,000 – or even better.
Sometimes workouts are repeated in the Open. A workout that was done this year could show up next year, and you’ll have an even greater way to measure how far you’ve come. So if you’re new to CrossFit, just being able to benchmark yourself is an excellent reason to sign up for the Open.
Great! How Should I Prep for the Open?
So you’re going to sign up for the Open and join the athletes around the world who will be sweating it out for three weeks. Great! With six weeks to go, here are a few tips to get ready:
- Work on mobility. Find out what your sticky spots are – for example, poor ankle mobility could make overhead squats difficult. Ask your coach if there are any mobility drills or stretches that could help.
- Pay attention to technique. When the coach is going over lifting technique during class, note the different drills and positions you’re doing. You can do these later with a PVC pipe to ingrain them into your muscle memory, like pulling fully into the pockets before launching into a snatch.
- Practice skill work. It may be difficult to gain a lot of strength in the next few weeks, but you can definitely gain skill. Double unders and toes to bar are just two moves you can work on if you have the strength and proficiency with the scaled movements (single unders and knee raises, respectively).
Most importantly, remember that the Open is fun! It’s another way to get in a good workout, test your fitness, and commiserate with friends. Make sure you sign up with Clear Lake CrossFit as your affiliate, and join us for three weeks of fitness!
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