Affiliates React to 16.1

Open Reactions

Last Thursday, Affiliates gathered in their Boxes, shoulder to shoulder, reacting with members and Coaches, as Dave Castro live-streamed the 16.1 Open workout from Buenos Aires.

“For 5 minutes? No. For 10 minutes? No. For 15 minutes?” Castro let out a longer pause. “No. For 20 minutes.”

The first workout of the 10th annual CrossFit Open was 25 feet of overhead walking lunges, eight burpees-over-the-bar, another set of overhead walking lunges and then eight chest-to-bar pull-ups. The athletes were to repeat that set for the entire 20 minutes at 95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for women.

While members were nervous about the weight and having a new movement added to the Open — the overhead walking lunges — Affiliates started grabbing tape and measuring out how to fit multiple members performing 25 feet of overhead walking lunges with a 7-foot bar held overhead.

In keeping with the Open’s tradition, no one but Castro knows the workout until it is announced via livestream. The next four days, the community is supposed to complete the workout for a score. And because the walking lunges took many Affiliates for a logistical surprise, we asked three Box owners to share how they prepared for the 2016 CrossFit Open, how they handled the WOD and what advice they have for other Affiliates, in case 16.2 is just as unexpected.

Charlie Sims of CrossFit Regeneration

the Open reactions

How did you Prepare your Gym?
“We moved away from that strength-bias and focused more on building work capacity.”

Sims explained EMOMs were paired with another Metcon in classes. “Which gave us the opportunity to develop that working under a heavy load while heavy breathing.”

What was Your Reaction to 16.1?
“I understand the logistical struggle posed by 16.1. We had an initial mini-freak out at the release, because we have over 120 athletes to put through the workout. However, there’s nothing like a challenge to push us to excel. We reformatted our schedule to accommodate and it has gone without a hitch. I love this workout! It’s pretty close to perfect and makes me feel pretty smart for all the lunges and chest to bar pull-ups we’ve been doing this year! Bring on 16.2!”

How are you Preparing for the Rest of the Open?
“I don’t program Friday and Saturday until I know what the workout is on Thursday. Which usually means that I have to make an adjustment on the fly … I find that the Open tends to be very balanced across the domains of fitness that we talk about – the 10 domains. And so, it’s a good indicator of our community.”

Any Predictions for 16.2?
“I do think that it’s going to be shorter and probably quite a bit heavier. So my nightmare, put it that way, is that it might be a 10-minute time window for a max-effort 1,000-meter row, and then with that time left maybe a single of the Clean and Jerk or the Snatch, like how much weight you can put overhead, which would be very, very horrible. But, our athletes will be prepared for that after having done the heavy weights while also being out of breath, because that will be the challenge of that.”

Case Belcher of Four Barrel CrossFit


How did you Prepare your Gym?

“We program pretty traditional CrossFit movements. We focus a little but more on conditioning leading up to the open and more just trying to maintain strength at that point. But it’s unknown and unknowable so you always have that group of 25 movements or so that you feel like are going to show up but then, low and behold, something like overhead walking lunges show up, which you didn’t really expect to see.”

What was Your Reaction to 16.1?

“I was excited to see a new movement in the Open, but then it quickly went to ‘Oh crap, we’ve got that Throwdown tomorrow night.’ We don’t really know the attendance for it. The heats are kind of first come first serve. And how many lanes can we realistically set up for this thing? … All in all, it ended up, we were lucky because the gyms that we are affiliated with are pretty big, so space I don’t think was as much of an issue for us as it could be for a lot of gyms.”

What Advice would you Give to Affiliates Celebrating their First Open?

“The first thing would just be to have fun with it. Figure out a way to build your community around it and communicate well to your members.”

Any Predictions for 16.2?

“I do not. Everybody at my gym likes to predict and all my Coaches like to ask ‘what do you feel like 16.2 is going to be?’ and I’m typically the guy that says, ‘You’ll know Thursday night come 8 p.m. eastern.’ So, I feel like trying to give a prediction is pretty futile.”

Forrest Rollins of Fourth Street CrossFit


What was your Reaction to 16.1?
“The first thing we thought of was go find tape and figure out how to start measuring stuff out. Try to figure out how we were going to run the heats … so we tried to keep our more competitive people that were signed up for the Open close to the rig and then the other people that were going to have a longer transition time in the other area.”

How did you Prepare your Gym for the Open?
“We’re still doing lifts and we’re still working on our strength and everything. But we kind of dial down the intensity to suit our members … but try to keep everything where we’re not beating everybody up so bad, but try to keep them moving, working on Metcon a little bit stronger.”

What Advice would you Give to other Affiliates on How to Program During the Open?
“Don’t neglect your lifts or things you may think are going to come up and you don’t want to wear people out and say ‘Oh well Wednesday we’re going to [do] muscle ups.’ And then Thursday comes out and it’s muscle-ups. You can’t be scared of something happening like that. You can’t neglect movements or lifts just because you think it might come out. You’ve got to focus on everything and keep moving toward the goal and be prepared for everything that comes out and just keep moving forward with that.”

Is your Box Doing Anything Special for the Open?
“We split everybody that was signed up for the Open into four teams and then we made four different Coaches team captains. And we did a draft, just like normal sports draft, and we divided up the teams and now we’re all set up into teams and now we’re all seeing who can win the Open. So in four different teams and the winning teams, we haven’t decided on a prize yet, but the winning team is going to get a prize.”

Any Predictions for 16.2?
“Well Dave Castro did really push that it’s the 10th year of [a] really competitive Open … I feel like we’re going to be seeing some new things that haven’t been done, just like the overhead walking lunge, which it’s not a terrible movement or that hard, but it’s something that we haven’t seen and people weren’t expecting.”

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.