What is the CrossFit Open?

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the upcoming CrossFit Open in your box and you might have no idea what people are talking about. Well, let me help you find out what it is and if it’s something for you.

The CrossFit Games
I can’t start explaining the CrossFit Open, which is the beginning of the line, without talking about the CrossFit Games that is at the end of the line.

The snail: a big, heavy barrel shaped object filled half with sand.

The CrossFit Games are our world championship. A week where a selected few battle to claim the title of the Fittest on Earth. It is a week of pure CrossFit workouts that push athletes to their absolute limits in a reckless fight for the title.

How does it work?
The CrossFit Open is the first step of the selection procedure to get to the Games. Everyone can join. It’s a five week event where workouts get released online and you have a couple of days to do them, log your result and see your result compared to the whole world. Last year, 355,198 people registered for the Opens which makes it the biggest online fitness competition in the world.

Workouts are most typically held in CrossFit Boxes. Athletes are judged by their mates to keep the movement within the standards. These standards ensure that everyone is doing the same movements so the scores are comparable. You are also allowed to perform the workout outside the CrossFit environment. The only thing you need to do then is to video your workout and upload it so it can be judged but the community.

Top 3 podium and top 5 goes to the Games.

From the results from the Open, the top athletes are selected per region and then compete at the Regionals. The Regionals are a weekend long ‘mini’ CrossFit Games event where, again, the top 3 (this can vary depending on the region) go to the games.

Why do we need this long process?
CrossFit claims that our program makes people fitter than any other program. To be able to support this claim, the ultimate test are the Games. They need to be accessible to anyone, even if they train with a different system.

Can everyone join?
Basically, yes. The Open workouts are the same for everyone. But there used to be a catch. Most of the higher skill/weight movements were previously placed in the end of the workout and you had to earn it before you could even try to do the movement. This system had the disadvantage that the workouts tended to be more cardio/endurance oriented and even higher level CrossFit athletes could not sometimes compete on their level. Even worse, for new CrossFitters the exercise was simply too difficult. Scaling the movement did not make any sense in “the Fittest Man on Earth” competition.

Thankfully, there was a change. Now there are two levels: Scaled and Rx’d, and the beauty of it is that you can choose. Can you perform this WoD as Rx’d? Do it! You can’t? Scale. Everyone can finally take part in the competition on their level. The workouts are scaled in all possible ways. Reps, movements, weights.

Click here to check out last years workout en see how they where scaled.

Should you join the Opens?
This is not a simple yes or no question. Even though there are two categories, which make the intensity more scalable, it is still a competition and the idea is to push yourself really hard. We all know that even with the simplest movements the risk of injury soars with intensity and exhaustion. Ask your coach and listen to his advice. He probably knows your level very well.

I’m not competitive. Should I join the Open?
Yes, absolutely! I’m not very competitive but this once-a-year kick-in-the-butt is a lot of fun. You get together with friends from the box and compete. You’ll get cheered on, push hard and work like never before. You’ll discover something about yourself. You’ll be amazed by what you can do and how much fitter you are then when you started. Even when a workout does not go your way, you’ll get confronted with it and find a reason and the motivation to hit those weaknesses harder than ever before.

The Fun!

Trust me. I have been involved in the Open since they began and it’s always great fun.

Also, it’s a great way to connect to the lager CrossFit community out there. You’ll be part of the biggest online fitness competition in the world. That’s something!

Bottom line
To Open or not to Open is your decision. When your coach tells you that you can join—that probably means that you should. Put those fears and excuses on the side, leave your ego at home, hit the gym. I guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun.

Good luck to those of you who join us at the CrossFit Open! To those who don’t: See you next year!




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