Dave Castro

5 Things to Do Between Now and The Start of The Open

(pay particular attention to #2 and #4!)

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By Coach Chris

 

In a little more than a month, Dave Castro will end the suspense, which he will undoubtedly spend weeks ratcheting up, and announce 18.1. This will mark the beginning of the 2018 Open season. We’ve all been waiting for it since the moment the suffering of 17.5 mercifully ended (remember those thrusters and double unders? I certainly do!).

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Open season is the highlight of any CrossFit gym’s year -- the camaraderie, the friendly competition, the support shown are all at a fever pitch. If you haven’t experienced it yet, just wait.  

 

You might think that you aren’t ready.  I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. You are ready, and if you follow my 5 suggestions below you will be even more ready to tackle this challenge.  

 

1. Be more consistent.

The Open is generally a test of aerobic capacity, so now is the time to be more consistent with your attendance. You still have time to build your engine, but you need to get into the gym to build it. There’s nothing worse than staring at the clock during a WOD unable to breathe, knowing that you could have done more to prepare. I’ve been there too many times to admit.

Coach Sal wishing he trained a little harder for WOD 2 =P

Coach Sal wishing he trained a little harder for WOD 2 =P

 

2. Learn a new skill.

This isn’t rocket science. Although Dave Castro likes to throw in new movements (hello dumbbells!) many of the movements we will see in the Open have been seen many times before. Don’t have double unders? Now is a good time to get them. Have a problem with thrusters? Practice them. Every previous Open workout is online. Look them up and notice the patterns of movements and choose a new skill to learn betwee now and February 22. We have plenty of Open Gym opportunities to practice and practice some more. Do it. It will pay dividends.  

A few of the many things you may, or may not, be doing this year.

A few of the many things you may, or may not, be doing this year.

 

3. Practice previous Open workouts.

From now until February 22 we will program an Open workout once a week, usually on Sundays. Don’t miss these classes! The best way to become better at something is to practice it.  Get used to the “Open style” workouts by experiencing classes with Open workouts.

Coach Cristina on her final minute of last years 17.1 workout with everyone in the gym cheering her on.

Coach Cristina on her final minute of last years 17.1 workout with everyone in the gym cheering her on.

 

4. Find a workout buddy.

Not only can you practice with your workout buddy, but this person can also be a source of inspiration during your Open workouts. Each person registered for the Open is judged during each workout by another member. Your judge is there to count your reps, but also to cheer you on and coach you through it. Find someone you click with, and make a plan to cheer each other on and help each other.  

No matter how hard they compete against each other, Sal & Chris are each others biggest cheerleaders.

No matter how hard they compete against each other, Sal & Chris are each others biggest cheerleaders.

 

5. Have fun!

I know every time I step in the gym I have fun. Use the time between now and the Open to be even more thankful that you have your health and that you are able to perform this kind of physical work. Don’t take it too seriously; just come into the gym each day with the plan to enjoy yourself during that hour.  

The Final Thursday Night Throwdown of last years Open.   

The Final Thursday Night Throwdown of last years Open.

 

 

I can’t wait for the 5 weeks of the Open. I’ll admit, I do get stressed during it. I get caught up in “Leaderboarding,” constantly analyzing the gym’s Leaderboard to determine where I stand and how I can beat Coach Matt or Coach Sal. But, it’s a heady thing to think that during the Open I am “competing” against the absolute best in the world at competitive exercising.  Embrace it. Have fun. Come on Thursday nights during the Open to watch the live announcements. Cheer on others. Take the time to help with judging.  Accept the fact that none of us are going to win the CrossFit Games this year, but use the Open to do things you never thought you could.


Sign up here: https://games.crossfit.com/.

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Tips for CrossFit Open Wod 17.4 (AKA 16.4) by Coach Sal

Get to that wall!    Photo by Frank Pensabene

Get to that wall!    Photo by Frank Pensabene

                                     17.4. AKA 16.4. AKA a fun kind of torture =). I know a few people who were extremely excited at the announcement of this repeat Open WOD.  After it all soaked in, I think I was one of those people as well. I remember doing it twice last year. After moving well and finishing the row in really good time, I died out on the HSPU. I didn't get nearly as many as I had imagined I would - both times. I knew I had better and have been waiting for the opportunity to do this again. Come up with a better game plan. And Thursday night was my chance to put that game plan to work. The results - MUCH better than expected. Thursday night was supposed to be a trial run, since I did 45 Deadlifts at 225 the day before, as well as 45 HSPU. I was SAF (Sore as F*#$). I figured just do a test run to see if I'm comfortable with my plan. Then Coach Chris decided to go head to head with me. It was on like Donkey Kong.

                                    So what was my plan that allowed me to crush last years score(s) while I was sore and tired (9pm is past my bed time)? Before I break down each movement, there is one important tip to help you decide the correct way to break it up. Know Your Body! I've been CrossFitting for a little over 4 years now. I know when I can move fast, and what makes my body scream at me. The most important thing is to know how your body handles each movement, then break up each movement accordingly. This is called "Pacing". To me, pacing is the most important thing in any WOD. Not only knowing how to break it up, but when to rest, and when to push your limit. 

                                    After you figure this out, now comes the fun part. Breaking down each movement.

  1. The Deadlift. 55 of them. At 225. Ouch. That's 10 more than "Diane". Since I love Deadlifts for reps, and can do "Diane" unbroken, I needed to pick a good number that wouldn't destroy my back and burn me out for the rest of the 13 minute WOD. I knew that 10 reps would be a magic number, where I wouldn't get tired, and my back and hamstrings wouldn't burn. But since the rep scheme was 55, I wasn't going to do 10.s with a last set of 5, so I decided to do 5 sets of 11 reps. Like I said, know your body. Figure what works for you. Break it up into 5's if you have to. I coached Gil through that and it worked for him. Just think of a number that works for you and STICK TO IT! Make sure the number you pick allows you to take short rests. Do your reps, drop the bar, count to 5, or 10, then get back to it. Short rests are key in this entire workout. Another big tip - SAVE YOUR BACK! Use your hamstrings! Make sure you do legit deadlifts. Not the low weight, high rep, totally screwed up deadlifts that most people do in WODS. I can't stress this enough. If you don't listen to this tip, you'll see what I'm talking about.

  2. Wallballs! Everyone who knows me, know that I like wallballs like Elf likes maple syrup.  Not sure what all the hate is about. For the wallballs, the key is the same as the deadlifts. Break it up into a manageable number. Don't burn your shoulders for the HSPU's. Again I chose 11 as the magic number. Doing 11 reps allowed me to save my shoulders, and take very short rests. None of my rests were longer than 10 seconds. Pick your number, do tour reps, and rest as little as possible. Drop the ball on the last rep, the take a few deep breathes and get right back to it. I think it's a bad idea to try to open with a big set. You'll save time and energy by breaking this up. You have a lot of rowing ahead of you.

     3. The Calorie Row.  Another one of my faves. For the row, there is no breakdown. The key here is to keep moving an to breathe. Calorie rows differ from meter rows, in that, on a calorie row, you should be pulling as hard as you can and taking a short rest (about one deep breath) at the end. Men should shoot for close to a calorie a pull, women should shoot for a cal every 2 pulls. Men will have a much easier time on the rower. Just try to keep the same exact pace throughout the entire row. Your hammies will probably be on fire at this point. Just work through the pain. When you complete the row, you will not use your legs for the rest of the workout. If you don't know how to calorie row, please ask a coach to teach you before you attempt the WOD.

    4. Hand Stand Push Ups. Oh boy. We worked our butt's off to get to this point. Now What??? The best advice I can give here is as follows. If you don't have handstand pushups, go for it. Try one. With your adrenaline going, you may hit your first one ever! If you are ok at HSPU's, break them up into very small numbers. Even singles. Just do one at a time. Come off the wall, breathe and get back to it. If your HSPU's are good, just like everything else, break it up right away! I did sets of 5's to start because I was feeling good. I originally thought sets of 3' (which coach Chris did and stuck to the whole way) but I was feeling good so I listened to my body. I got all the way up to 30 before I started to tire then dropped to sets of 3's from there, and eventually to singles. I think for these, you need to listen to your body on the first set. Don't come out with too big of a set, or you will burn your shoulders out quick. See how you feel and adjust accordingly. That's the best advise I can give. Side note - If you make it to the wall with little time to spare, just go! All out! Whatever you have.

                           If you are skilled enough, or lucky, to make it back to the Deadlifts, a game plan would be based on how much time you have to spare. If little, then go all out, if over a minute, then break it up into smaller numbers. I'm hoping to get to this point on Sunday so I'll have better advice for you on this part. =)

                          As far as the warm-up, we will have a good one written on the board. The key is to get your heart rate gong, stretch those Hammies, and open the shoulders and wrists.

                          Whatever you do, and wherever you make it to, just remember to breathe and have fun!!!

Three Reasons Why You Should Participate in the CrossFit Open

Those new to CrossFit may not be aware of it, but we are only weeks away from the most fun time of year in any CrossFit gym.  I am talking about the CrossFit Open.  The Open, as it is called, is a five-week test of fitness. During those five weeks, every Thursday night CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro will announce a workout. Then athletes will have until Monday evening to complete that workout in the presence of someone judging them, and then enter their scores online. They then get to compare themselves to others around the world on that workout. The Open is designed to be accessible to all athletes, and for the past two years has included an option for scaling workouts.

The Open is unique in sports because it means CrossFit is the only sport where non-professionals will do the exact same work as the professionals. This means for those five weeks you will be doing the exact same workouts as 2016 CrossFit Games champions Mat Fraser and Katrin Davidsdottir. The exact same workouts! This is truly unique. You may be a great softball player, and hit .450 in your local softball league, but you can’t compare yourself to Major Leaguers based on the performance since the quality of the pitching differs. In the Open, Mat Fraser will be doing the workouts in a CrossFit affiliate, just like you will, in the presence of a judge… just like you!

So, here are the top three reasons you should participate in the Open:

1.     You will regret if you don’t. I have to admit; I did not participate in the Open my first year of CrossFit. I had begun CrossFit about a month and a half before the Open and I didn’t think I was ready. It was before there were scaling options and I couldn’t do a Muscle Up or a Double Under. So, I didn’t think should do it.  I regret it. Once the Open started I was doing the same workouts as the other people in the gym, but their intensity level was higher than mine because they were registered.

 

2.     It’s fun! There is nothing quite like the energy in the gym during Open workouts. Everyone steps up it up. Everyone cheers each other on. There is always talk of strategies for tackling a workout. Everyone is impatient to see the Thursday night announcement of the next workout. Plus, there is always friendly competition amongst friends.

 

3.     You get to be a part of the worldwide CrossFit community. During the Open, CrossFitters from every nation and continent are all performing the same workouts. During the Open you realize that although you workout at CrossFit 103, there is a worldwide community of more than 13,000 CrossFit affiliates where people are persevering through the same workouts as you. Let’s face it, CrossFit offers us fitness, but also community. Unlike a traditional gym, we are here for each other to cheer one another on and celebrate our successes together.  

So, at only $20, there really is no reason not to sign up for the Open. Registration starts Thursday, January 12, and the first workout, 17.1, will be announced on February 23. Sign up and participate!  

At CrossFit 103 we will use the Open to celebrate our local community, as well as the CrossFit community as a whole, and we will have fun throughout the five weeks. If you are not yet signed up for CrossFit, there is still time to join us at CrossFit 103, go through Foundations, and participate in this year’s Open.

Click here to learn more about the Open: http://games.crossfit.com/about-the-games/the-open.