Each year Crossfit hosts an online challenge called “The Open”, a global five week competition that gives athletes the opportunity to see where they rank amongst the people in their box, town, state and the world. Anyone and everyone can participate, and the workouts aren’t much different from what you would see programmed day to day at Soul. In reality though, the stakes feel much higher. You can still scale and have your favorite bar or spot on the floor, but this time instead of competing against the 14 other people in your class, you’re competing against thousands, and even the least competitive amongst us can’t help but check the global leaderboard to see where we rank with our counterparts around the world. That being said, we try to keep things light at Soul because, as tough as the workouts are, we know nothing bonds people like suffering together does.
For the second year in a row, we made intramural teams comprised of our members from all the different programs we offer. Each week, the Panthers, Wolves, Bears and Tigers came together to compete against one another…and things got a little crazy! Not only were they vying for the best scores in each individual workout, but they were doing it in costumes, flooding social media with pictures and completing challenges all in an effort to earn extra points for their teams. To say that our intramural open brought out the competitive side of our members is an understatement, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. T-shirts were made, chats discussing strategy were going off during all hours of the day and everyone was giving every workout their all, leaving it all on the floor every Friday night. By watching our members compete week in and week out, we learned a lot. The Open workouts may make us stronger, but the people around us make us better as side by side we push our limits and somehow find a breath to encourage one another to do the same.
The liveliness of our intramural competition may have dominated the foreground of the Open here at Soul, but in the background many of our members were able to finish with top spots in the global competition. With every country assured a spot at the Games by Greg Glassman, more athletes are able to represent their country and we are lucky enough to have a few. Kerry (Nicaragua), Julian (Columbia), Vedarth (India), Will (Costa Rica), Brenda (Mexico), and Pochy (Panama) all have potential spots at the Games this year as National Champions, and Laura (Venezuela) and Negra (Mexico) finished 2nd with Julie (Columbia) coming in 3rd. If you know any of these athletes, you know the work and time they put into earning these spots reflects nothing short of their dedication and drive to get where they are today, and we couldn’t be prouder to have them represent Soul to the entire world.
With the two 2019 opens behind us, many of our members are looking to the future with the data they collected during February and October to guide their training. The Open truly has a knack for humbling us, and we need that if our training going forward is going to truly benefit us. Thought you had dubs? Well, here are 20 rounds for you to test that. Thought you were strong? Weird. You couldn’t get past the third Clean and Jerk bar. Thought you had an engine? Here are four workouts with a twenty minute cap to test it. Coming up short in the open shouldn’t set you back mentally. As a matter of fact, it should only make you stronger because you now have concrete goals to attack for the next one. We firmly believe that as important as your weaknesses are in guiding your training, your strengths in the open play just as important of a role. Every single PR and successful attempt at a movement that was once impossible should provide the mental fuel your mind needs to stay positive and focused on improving your weaknesses. If you’re having a hard time reaching a goal, think of all the strengths you have that were once weaknesses to remind yourself that your training is truly a journey.
What exactly should that training look like now? For many of us,the Open has created a long list– barbell cycling, heavy deadlifts, dubs, pull ups, and everything else in between– of things that will drive our focus in the upcoming months but can be quite overwhelming. So, the first step? Breathe. Then, look at how you did in high vs. low skill, long vs. short time domain, heavy barbell cycling vs. light and other factors like nutrition, sleep, stress, stretching and mobilization. Now that you’ve done this and found some holes (because no one’s open performance is perfect), it’s time to pick a couple of things off your list and tackle them. Programming going forward is strength based, specifically in olympic lifts and gymnastics movements like pull-ups and handstand push ups. If you want extra focus-based work, we always have our beginner barbell class and skills class. Our next training cycle is geared toward preparing for Wodapalooza and will follow a track that aligns with the demands of competition level fitness. Volume will be higher to prepare for multiple demanding workouts a day during the three day comp, and Wodapalooza staples, such as long runs, swimming and grunt work, will be programmed in. Even if you’re not planning on competing specialically at Wodapalooza, pay close attention to the programming, see what aligns itself with the goals list you created from your open performance, and take it from there.
Till the next open kicks our ass!