The Open and Beyond

The Open

In less than a week, the 2016 Open will be wrapped up for another year.

I cannot believe the five-week, international competition has come and gone so quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was feeling anxiety as Dave Castro announced 16.1 and introduced overhead walking lunges for the first time.

And yet, the end is here. Regionals will soon begin, and then the Games will come.

But Affiliate, I don’t think we are past the benefits of the Open yet. I think you and I, your staff and your members, still have a lot to learn and take away from the competition.

For instance, the Open is a time where you get to see the strengths and weaknesses of your Box as a whole. You are tested and measured up against the global CrossFit community in nearly every movement in the CrossFit arsenal. Your members will find out if they can do a muscle-up — or bar muscle-up in this year’s case — or if they need a bit more practice.

Last year, my Box’s owner watched as the majority of his membership struggled through every skill/gymnastics movement programmed in the 2015 Open. As a gym, we were weak at pull-ups and toes-to-bar. They were pain points so many of us had that the Affiliate decided to do something about it.

About three to four months before the 2016 Open, my Box’s programming evolved. Each day, we had a dedicated skill training session. We began to practice our skills with a determination and fierceness we had lacked the previous year. We learned new modifications for various movements. We added strength work to build muscles that our skills would need. And the Metcons always included some sort of gymnastics movement.

The OpenIt sucked for a very, very long time. We were doing two Metcons every day, and cardio is not my strong suit. On top of the cardio problem, I typically had to modify something. Then the Open came and our Box thrived.

Bar muscle-ups were had. Pull-ups were many. And toes-to-bar, well, I got my first one a week after 16.2 — better late than never.

My Affiliate had seen where his members struggled. Very few of us are competitive athletes, but he knew we all wanted to get better. And he made adjustments to help us do just that, even if we complained about the double Metcons the entire way.

What have you observed from the Open this year, Affiliate? Where is your membership weak? Where is it strong? Where can it grow?

You and your members can’t blame Dave Castro for the movements he throws into the workouts. All you can do is prepare for the unknown and the unknowable.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at