Preparing for the Open

During the CrossFit Open, you need to be prepared for anything. Whether you’re scaling or going Rx, you will be challenged both physically and mentally.


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Preparing for the CrossFit Open

Preparing for the CrossFit Open​

The 2019 CrossFit Open registration has been released. Are you competing this year? Is this your first time or are you a seasoned Vet? To succeed at whatever level, it’s important to know what you’re up against and how to prepare.

What is the CrossFit Open?

The Open is the first Qualifying stage to make it to the CrossFit Games. It’s an opportunity for participants of all skill levels to pit their wits. Lasting 5 weeks, with a new workout each week, announced midday Friday (NZT). Athletes have until Tuesday at noon to complete the workout and register their score.

The format of qualifying for the Open has changed this year.

The Games are broken down into these stages:

The Open – Initial 5-week stage of competition, anyone can compete. The top 20 athletes qualify for the games.

Sanctioned events – 3-day invitational competition for the top athletes. The winners move on to The Games.

The Games – 4-day competition consisting of 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams. The Winner of each is earns the title, Fittest on Earth.

A large emphasis from the CrossFit brand is the community feel within each gym. The Open encompasses this on a global scale, as everyone can participate in the Open. It allows you to push a little harder, work on weakness’ and compare yourself against others.

What to expect from Open workouts

During a regular week of training it’s typical to expect the core foundational movements of CrossFit and WOD’s (Workout Of the Day) that you’re familiar with. The Open provides level of suspense in the wait for its announcement on the day. While keeping the foundational skills of CrossFit they always throw in unexpected movements to throw you off guard.

Sometimes they will repeat a workout from a previous Open, or use a new piece of equipment. In 2017 was the introduction of dumbbells to the WOD’s, which threw a lot of athletes off guard. 

How many times can I do an Open workout?

You have 4 days from Friday midday to Tuesday Noon to attempt the workout as many times as you want. This also depends on your gyms Open policy, as some only offer certain time periods.

Realistically though, you’re likely to attempt it only twice, sometimes three times depending on the workout. You’ll need time to recover from the first attempt by at least 1-2 days.

While it’s important to get the best result you can do. It’s also important to spend time at the gym to offer your mates moral support and help out as judges.

Prepare a workout strategy

If you’re doing this for the first time or just started training in CrossFit speak with your coach about a plan. Coaches will know your abilities and be able to offer you a realistic strategy to get the best result. The main thing for first timers, is to enjoy the experience.

For the more experienced athlete, you have trained long enough to know your limitations, your burn outs, you understand pace setting and max lifts. From this knowledge, whatever workout is announced you should be able to form an air tight strategy to get the best out of your ability.

Think about things like:

  • Where do I exert the most energy
  • How many reps before breaking
  • How to transition between equipment the fastest
  • What pace should I keep to maintain the best time
  • How long to take for a breather

Note: Once you’ve formed a plan let your judge know so they understand. You may also want to write it down to remain strict as you start to fatigue.

Being mentally and physically prepared

Preparing before the Open with only a few weeks to go, it’s unlikely you will learn new skills. Try to focus on the current ones you’re capable of and become more efficient at them. If you plan to do extra training, make sure you’re not over training. Try to focus the extra work on cardio, skill-based training or mobility.

The Open is equal if not more challenging to your mental capacity. This often is what sets two athletes apart. The ability to silence the voice inside that is telling you to stop. Strategies higher reps in your workouts leading up to Open before breaking. Also use visualisation techniques to be prepared in both mind and body.

Embrace the embarrassment or work on your weakness’

In CrossFit they call them goats. The movements you least enjoy and likely the ones your avoiding the most. The Open has the ability of exposing your weakness’. So rather than being exposed put in a little extra time after training to work on that skill. Whether it’s a double under you keep snagging or Olympic lift you’re struggling to catch. Getting better at these will improve your overall placement.

The Open does a good job at showing where your weak links are. Accept it and move on. The silver lining is that it provides you with an understanding of what needs more work for the new year.

Whether it’s your first or tenth time, embrace the experience. Put in a good effort have fun and support the other athletes.

How can Physio help

As mentioned the Open challenges you in so many ways and knowing where you’re failing already provides a tonne of information about which body part could be at fault and how to direct your treatment plan. If you find yourself struggling with an injury leading up to the Open or throughout the competition have a look online.

Throughout the Open as each workout is announced I will be uploading videos of mobility drills to help prepare you for the whats to come. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Takeaways from the CrossFit Open

The Open has finally closed and with it comes a range of experiences at all levels. But using your results in training could help you become better athlete for next year.

The struggle you are in today is developing your strength for tomorrow.

The 2018 CrossFit Open has finally come to a close. From seasoned veteran to first timer, the last 5 weeks have physically pushed you to new limits. We have all gone through it together but each of you will have experienced it differently. The Open provides us with a milestone, a measure of our fitness from the past year and offers us with data moving into the new season of training.

Finding weak links

CrossFit HQ gets more creative every year with their programming. This exposes weakness of skills, abilities and fitness. Whether it’s strength and endurance or struggling with certain gymnastic movements. The aim of the open is to not only select the strongest in the pack and gain a sense of achievement, but also offer individuals an insight into their weaknesses.

Spending a bit of extra time on movements you’ve struggled with throughout the year will help you develop into a well rounded athlete and become more equipped for the following Open.

Developing a strategy

Running head first into a workout, like a bull in a china shop is not a great strategy for success. Understanding your abilities for each movement will help you form a strategy, like how many reps you’ll do before breaking? how long your break will be? etc.

This knowledge doesn’t come cheap. You’ll have to train through the year and learn your max reps for each movement and apply it to your training.

Overcoming your own doubt

For those entering the open for the first time, it can be quite daunting, with personal expectations and the competitive nature of the event. But when coach recommends you to go Rx, how many of you were surprised by the result? Who got their first pull up or handstand pushup?

Just going beyond those comfort zones gives you a glimpse of what’s possible for the rest of the year with regular training.

Small things can make the biggest difference

Looking after yourself during the open was crucial to getting the best result. How was your sleep quality? hydration? nutrition; pre and post workout? breath work? Did you spend time warming up and mobilising before the workout?

If any of these areas were neglected it will work to your advantage by making it a regular part of your regime in the new season.

Leaving the ego at the door

This years prescribed workouts got more technical from the 3rd week onward. For many who’ve just started CrossFit it’s important to know if your abilities lie within Rx or still need to be scaled. Coach might even advise you not to Rx if unable to maintain form or safely lift the weight. Try not to be discouraged by this, it was only to save you from the threat of injury, allowing you to carry on training following the Open.

If you struggled to reach Rx for a movement, use this as motivation to develop the strength or to practice the skill to be ready for the next open.

Having Fun

Isn’t this what it’s all about? Accept the suspense of waiting for the new workout to be announced. Enjoy the friendly competition between other members in the box and the drive that gives to achieving more than you thought possible. Enjoy the feeling of support from the community to get the best out of each other.

Well done with everyone that took part in the 2018 CrossFit Open and good luck with training for the new season.