The 2018 open is now behind us, and for 99.9% of us our season is over. Now we assume our role as the world's fittest fans and set our sights on our training in the year ahead. I hope the 5 weeks of The Open brought you some wonderful moments of performance and community. I also hope you had some weaknesses exposed and were left feeling frustrated so that you can stay hungry in the year ahead. Love him or hate him, Dave Castro has a gift for finding and exposing the holes in our game.
So we're hungry and we'd like to reinforce our armor, so to speak, to be better prepared for whatever Castro throws at us next year. What should we do?
Us, in 2019.
First, commit to being committed. Consistency is probably the single biggest factor you can control to generate results in the year ahead. My gym has The Committed Club, recognition for those that get their butts in the door 20 or more times each month. 4-5 days a week adds up to 200 workouts over the next 10 months between now and the start of The 2019 Open. That's a lot of fitness.
Second, bring focus and intensity to each of those training sessions. Ask yourself a simple question: What am I getting better at TODAY? You have 200 opportunities to challenge yourself, push a little harder, move a little better, and get a lot fitter. Or you can waste those 200 opportunities by staying comfortable, shorting reps, gaming to your strengths, etc. In the words of CrossFit's founder Greg Glassman:
Intensity is the independent variable that determines favourable adaptation.
In other words, this shit doesn't work unless you do. You have "to work hard and you have to feel really really uncomfortable a lot of the time.
Now lets assume you've got consistency and intensity dialed in, you are showing up and busting ass on the regular. In that case, you probably did pretty well in The Open this year, but you likely had 1 workout, or maybe just 1 movement, that knocked you down a peg. Lets talk about addressing a particular weakness.
Do you have 5 minutes? Of course you do. You have 5 minutes before or after the start of your CrossFit class, and you definitely have 5 minutes when you're scrolling instagram or watching Netflix. What follows is a list of 5 min skill, strength, or mobility pieces that can be added to your regular training. Many can be done at home, while some are better completed immediately following a hard workout. Be sure to always check with the coach and make sure you're not interfering with anything else happening in the gym.
The caveat: These should only be added in if you are already showing up frequently and executing the main Workout of the Day at high intensity. If you struggle with consistency or intensity, you need to work on those first before adding in more volume.
If you struggled with:
Conditioning --> Add in tabata assault bike, row, or run sprints. 20 sec of all out effort, 10 seconds of rest, repeat 8 times.
Toes to Bar --> Incorporate a 5 min EMOM of linked toes to bar. Start with 3-5 reps and work up to sets of 10, 15, or even 20 on the minute.
Grip Strength --> Try 1 min dead hang on the pull up bar, rest 30 sec x 3 sets. Work up to 2 sets of a 2 min hang with 30-60 rest between.
Pull Ups, C2B Pull Ups, or Muscle Ups --> All of us can use more work on our pulling strength. To work the lats and build that ImaxBack, try EMOM x 5 min of 3-5 strict pull ups with variation of supinated and pronated grips. When this is easy, move to strict C2B Pull ups. When that's no problem add a dumbbell between the feet.
Double Unders --> Immediately at the end of a workout, have your rope ready and do 100 reps for time (or 5 min max reps). Do not rest or catch your breath before you start. You want to get your practice in when you are maximally fatigued and out of breath! When that's no problem, try max unbroken sets of 50 in 5 min.
Overhead Squats --> For 99% of us, the limiting factor on OHS is the mobility in your posterior chain. To work the shoulders, hips, and ankles spend 2 min in this thoracic opener, followed by 3 min in a "toddler squat" with the feet as close together as possible.
Push Ups --> The scaled division this year and last year required solid push ups from the toes. If you struggled to maintain your midline and got a lot of no reps for worming off the ground, add in 3 sets of a 1 min plank (on your hands) with 30 sec rest between. If the strength to push yourself off the ground was lacking, try EMOM x 5 of your very best quality push ups and build up the number of reps each week. 5 sets of push ups first the thing in the morning when you roll out of bed is a great way to wake up and get the blood pumping!
Handstand Push Ups --> The new (improved) standard this year caught many by surprise. To prepare for next year, incorporate an EMOM x 5 min of 5-10 handstand push ups, with variations of strict, kipping, and deficit reps. If you struggled to get your heels across that line, be sure to practice with hands closer to each other and closer to the wall, feet together and heels pushing up, as well as staying "stacked" through the midline. Periodically throughout the year measure out your line and recruit a friend to count a few reps for you.
Handstand Walking --> Commit to 5 min a day spending time on your hands. Build the foundation of your handstand by mastering the basics of planks, wall walks, and freestanding holds before graduating to your first steps.
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out