So that’s another Open in the books. I’m quite proud that I now stand in the top 10-20% of people that have done every single Open workout ever. Go me! Castro, I’m waiting on my lifetime achievement award.
This year’s Open for me was very different. Aside from a few remote coached athletes, I didn’t have an affiliate to take care of. No more planning to be there Friday-Monday for 5 weeks (and it clashes with the 6 Nations like), setting up iPads from multiple angles to catch every member of the gym.
So because of that, I really didn’t get to see how scaling versus Rx’d came into play, and how that affected members and affiliates.
Before the season started, I predicted Regionals would continue but now they would take the top ten non qualifiers across all Regions to The Games. Nope, we’ve gone Super Regionals. This gives us an insight into Castro and Glassman’s mentality around the season. It’s clear that they want to highlight, as early as possible, the best of the best. (Remember that Eric Roberts’ masterpiece? No, go watch the entire movie now, and come back to this blog in 98 minutes)
I’ve also predicted that there’ll be swimming at Regionals, perhaps Thursday night/Friday morning. I think it’s time swimming makes its way to the Regionals level. This remains to be seen but I think it would be pretty cool.
The Open, to my mind were 5 tests, rather than 5 workouts. I don’t see a problem with this. Regionals 2014 gave us a clue of this, with arguably the Snatch, Handstand Walk, Rope climb, and Pull Up/OHS being closer to tests than what we consider to be CrossFit metcons.
There’s a notion that somehow we decide what CrossFit is, rather than Castro and Glassman. It’s nice, but it’s no more than I decide what football is (FIFA and NFL do that – see what I did there? Appealing to audiences both sides of the pond.)
This probably stems from our first CrossFit workout. Just by sheer virtue of being inefficient and ignorant we were trust into a place that hurt like hell. We never knew we could go that far into the dark place. And much like our first hit of heroin we are chasing that ever since. That’s what CrossFit is, right?
In fact, this Tabata Times article seems to say that’s the very thing. The mental ability to “go to that dark place” has no intrinsic merit above patience to learn how to do a toes to bar, or develop the wherewithal to Clean & Jerk under fatigue. Sure, gassing yourself out may release endorphins and feel like you majorly pushed it that day, but that’s not all there is to our sport.
I’d also bet that those who complain about lack of “pure” workouts are those that complain about going balls out all the time.
Castro said in 2014 that the three attempts at the Hang Snatch, and the one attempt at the Handstand walk, were to increase the cost of failure. Isn’t this what we wanted all along with CrossFit? Increased risk of failure enforces a higher level of precision. This is a good thing.
Has it become too gymnastic focused? I don’t think so either. If anything, it’s become more balanced across all tenets of fitness. CrossFit has long held the mission to raise the bar of what’s possible. There was a time a 100Kg deadlift in Diane was heavy, and Games athletes missed 60Kg snatches!
Now we’re at the stage where it’s expected that anyone in the sport, regardless of gender, should have chest to bars, muscle ups and handstand push ups. The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but we’ve avoided it because learning weightlifting is easier than learning gymnastics (I said “learning”, not “mastering”) and we weren’t forced to have these skills. We are now.
So now what?
I knew there was something I forgot in my final video, and that’s how The Open should determine your year ahead.
If you don’t use this test as a chance to re-evaluate your programming and focus for the year ahead, in my mind that’s a waste. You have an opportunity here. If right now you intend on staying CrossFit for another year and giving The Open another shot, this is the time to set goals.
Firstly, we really do need to understand just how long a year is. It’s a long time. So be patient with your training. If you added one pull up a week to your max set, you’d improve by 50! Okay, so you probably won’t do that. But what if you added 1 rep to all your movements every month? Wouldn’t that be something. That means over 4-5 weeks you only need to increase your toes to bar or pull ups or HSPU by 1 measly rep. Over time it will add up.
I think, and we’ve all fallen into this trap, is that we blitz at our goats for 3-4 weeks gung ho. We’ll do handstand push ups everyday. Monday, you hit 17 in 3 minutes. Tuesday, again and this time 18, Fuck YEAH! Then Wednesday, 13. Shit. Thursday, 9. Bollocks.
Now come Saturday you can’t stabilise a snatch overhead and that’s down 20Kg.
Okay, extreme example but you get the point.
Another thing we can look at is, is it the programming, or your application of it? Are you now frantically looking at The Comp Train, OPT, Training Think Tank, Invictus, Outlaw, and The Training Plan? One of these has got to hold the secret, right?
Or maybe, maybe you haven’t trained as consistently as you’d have liked? Maybe instead of 16 sessions a month you’ve really only averaged 13. Instead of 80% paleo, you’ve been closer to 50-60%? Maybe you’ve been mindlessly doing your jerk drills because you hate the Clean & Jerk, or missing our percentage work on the squat cycle.
Hey, we’re all human, and we’re doing the best we can. Just before we try and do a drastic overhaul, what if a few small changes, over time, made a bigger impact? I know the big drastic overhaul seems like the thing to do, but it rarely is. Take away a few things stopping you, add one of two aids, and trust the damn process.