Friday, January 17, 2014

The Coaches Corner: CrossFit Open Prep

It's time to start signing up for the annual CrossFit Open and therefore - time to start getting ready to kick ass in the workouts!  I've had a lot of questions about the Open is and how it works - below, you'll find some answers to those questions.  And every week for the next six weeks - I'll select a couple of movements you'll  likely see in the workouts and break them down to CrossFit standards for you, plus give you a couple of helpful competition tips.  If you have specific questions or want more information - shoot me an email or leave me a comment! 

CrossFit Open: What is it?
The 2014 CrossFit Games season begins with the worldwide Open competition. Everyone in the world is invited to compete in five workouts over five weeks, posting their scores online. In 2013, almost 140,000 athletes competed in the Open. Competitors will be ranked both worldwide and by region. The 48 fittest individual athletes and 30 fittest teams from each region will earn invitations to one of 17 Regionals.  The registration fee for the Open is $20 and you can sign up online at

How do I get judged?
Every Open workout needs to be judged to count. Athletes will be able to do the workouts at a specific time weekly at SoundCrossFit.   SCF coaching staff will serve as judges but individual athletes are also encouraged to take the online judging course.  Not only does completing the judging course allow you to serve as a judge for your fellow athletes – but it also helps to even better define what standards are expected of you as a competitor. 

When does it start?
The Open kicks off on February 27 and will run for five weeks.  Every Thursday at 5pm (PST), a new workout and demo will be posted online.  Competitors have until Monday at 5pm to complete the workout and have their scores posted and validated online. 

What should I expect?
The Open workouts are designed to test competitor’s physical strength and endurance.  Each of the five workouts will test different skills and the standards to complete the movements will be clearly laid out.  To see a full list of the 2012/2013 workout, visit the Games website.

What happens if I can’t finish a workout or lift the weights required?
No big deal.  You’ll be scored for as many Rx reps as you finish – and each workout has different requirements.   I want to encourage all of my athletes to try the workouts but I also recognize that some of these movements and weight standards aren’t manageable for all.  As coaches and judges – we will work with you to make sure that you are able to compete what you can without causing injury. If you can't quite complete a movement or make the weights - don't get down - you'll know what you need to work towards for next year! 

Movement Standards
Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
At the top, the chest must clearly come into contact with the bar.  At the bottom, arms must be fully extended.  Kipping and/or butterflying pull-ups are allowed as long as both of these standards are met. 
Make sure that your chest touches the bar below your collarbone to count for a good rep.
This is a standard barbell thruster in which the barbell moves from the bottom of a front squat to full lockout overhead. The bar starts on the ground. Use of the rack is not allowed. The hip crease must pass below the knees. A full squat clean into the thruster is allowed if the bar is on the ground.  To finish the movement, the barbell must come to a full lockout overhead with the hips, knees and arms fully extended, and the bar directly over the body.
Fully extended and locked out at the top.  Don't drop into your next rep until you hear your judge count your rep. 
Athletes competing in the CrossFit Open MUST be doing mobility at home on their own.  It is highly recommended that each athlete has their own foam roller.  Don’t have one yet?  Get one. Here are my Amazon recommendations

  • TriggerPoint Foam Rollers are excellent and run between $30-40 for a 13” roller. 
  • High density rollers are also available for $20.  They are a bit longer (usually 3') and can be harder to store for those in smaller spaces. 

Other great mobility resources? 

  • Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett.  Fantastic book with tons of mobility movements and tips.  $40 on Amazon - worth every penny!
  • Lacrosse balls.  These guys are so easy to carry around or put in your desk at work that there really isn’t an excuse not to have them!
  • CrossFit Coaches.  Ask any one of the coaching staff at your gym – they’ll be able to give you some good guidance.

Drink lots of water.  Water is crucial to recovery from competition.  Make sure you are drinking a lot of it – even on days that you aren’t working out. My tip? Get a 40oz bottle and fill it at least twice during the day. 

Nutrition.  Make sure that you are eating healthy.  Competing takes a lot out of your body – it’s crucial that you are giving it the best food and nutrients that you can.  Also – start taking a fish oil supplement.  It does wonders in helping your recovery.  It reduces inflammation and helps with blood flow – both things that will help after you’ve given a workout 110%.  Questions about fish oil? I found some good information here:  

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