Hide Your Daughters, Hide Your Wives: The CrossFit Open is Coming!

The CrossFit Open is coming! For many of you, this will be your first one. For others, you are veterans so you know what to expect. Either way, let’s discuss some important things to know about the CrossFit Open. There are two roles in the open you will have: athlete and judge. Many of the points overlap so please keep that in mind as you read through. Ok, let’s first talk about the athlete.

  1. The CrossFit Open IS a competition. I know, that just freaked a lot of you out. Good. It should. Take that anxiety and use it fuel the Open workouts. You will have moments where you pleasantly surprise yourself,  and you will have other moments where your weaknesses are exposed. THIS IS A POSITIVE THING! CrossFit is about a constant progression and journey. You can only get better when you know where you come from.

    It’s a competition in the sense that you literally are ranked against other people. You see how you land within your own box as well as where you land in your age group, region, country and the world. It’s pretty amazing. More importantly though, it is a competition between you, you and only you. It’s about pushing yourself and treating it like an opportunity to really see how far you can go.

  1. The Open lasts 5 weeks (February 23th  through March 27th) so typically for most boxes, Friday programming will be the Open workouts during that time. Train accordingly and trust your box’s programming to prep you without burning you out come Friday. Also, if you do any kind of workouts or training outside of the box, be smart about it. Since the workouts are not announced until Wednesday you will want to make sure you do not empty your tank and have nothing left to give come Friday.

    You can technically do the workout as many times as you want between when it is announced and when scores have to be officially submitted (but why would you want to?) If you do want to retry it to get a better score, keep in mind allowing your body time for recovery and plan accordingly.

  1. Make sure you stretch and mobilize! While there is a warm up and stretching before any workout, for many of you, you may need to supplement that. If, for example, an Open workout has overhead squats in it and you know you have bad hip mobility, allow time to get some extra hip mobility and stretching in before you jump into the workout.
  1. Get ready for PR’s! It is very common for athletes to get PR’s during the Open. So stay positive and welcome them with open arms.
  1. Every rep needs to be a good, honest rep. You will have a judge who will tell you if it’s a good rep or no rep. To keep the integrity of The Open and CrossFit as a whole, you need to be honest with your reps (that’s why there are judges). So suck up your egos and do not short or cheat movements.

    If you do get no repped, most likely it was warranted and not your judge being a jerk. If your judge can, he/she will tell you why it is a no rep so you can correct the remaining reps. Also, your judge will be counting your reps and reminding you what movement to go to next which is awesome! It alleviates the mental game you have of tracking reps as you work out. (Judges work hard fyi so be kind and thank your judge after you complete the workout).

Ok so speaking of judging, let’s talk more about that, because if you are participating in the Open, you most likely will also be acting as a judge. This is not to scare you (ok maybe it is a little..), but you do need to know that judging can be really difficult. There will be a lot going on during the Open workouts: the energy will be high, people will be cheering, and as a judge, you still need to focus on the athlete to ensure you are judging honestly. Just like we do not want athletes to cheat movements, as a judge, you do not want to miscount someone else’s reps.  Here are some tips and guidelines around judging.

  1. Stay focused! Think of it like playing Frogger where you need to get from one end to the other while all these distractors are going to come your way. It is YOUR JOB to accurately count reps. To help with that, see below for more specific tips.
  2. You will have a print out of the workout which will help you write down reps as the athlete moves through it. It also will be a great way to make sure the athlete is on the right movement in the right order. Depending on the rep scheme, you may want to consider tracking things by five. (It can be difficult to write every rep down and it also will be more likely you will be too busy writing that you will miss reps the athlete does).
  3. If a rep is questionable, use your discretion. Consider giving the athlete the rep but tell him/her what to fix. If the next rep is also questionable, do not count it. If he/she does correct it, then he/she is golden.
  4. You do not necessarily to need count every rep out loud, but give the athlete some indication of where they are. So, say for example, there are 5 cleans in the workout, you may count each one out loud versus if there are 50 double unders, you may just count out loud every 10.
  5. Every competition typically has judges and head judges. So in the Open, while any member can be a judge, most likely there will be a coach or two overseeing it and letting the judges and athletes know as well when they catch a bad rep.
  6. Know the movement standards. Every time CrossFit headquarters releases an Open workout, they also give very in depth detail (both written and video) of the standards. Read and watch them before you judge (and participate).
  7. We’ve talked about the importance of counting correctly and only counting good reps. You will be judging your fellow boxmates and friends, and it understandably might be awkward to no rep someone.  Suck it up buttercup. It is part of the job description. If the athlete is getting no repped, as mentioned above, it is really on them (and so you cannot let it bother you to be the messenger of bad news).

    Not to mention, that if you feel “bad” or let bad reps go, someone else you are not judging WILL notice and they WILL let you know. And trust me, It WILL NOT be pretty, so do not get into that situation. People are working really hard for their scores, and by someone else getting credit for reps where it is not due is justifiably bothersome, infuriating and undermines the hard work of other athletes.  So, please, be an honest judge. End of story.

Ok so having gotten all that nitty gritty out of the way, remember one important thing about the Open. HAVE FUN! While yes, it is a competition, and yes it will be difficult both mentally and physically, enjoy the experience of it. Also, just as important, CHEER ON YOUR BOXMATES! Everyone needs encouragement at some point, and in the Open, that’s true even more. If you get done with your workout, stick around when you can.  You can help someone else get through what they think is impossible. Good luck everyone and see you at The Open.