2017 CrossFit Open Prep: Movements to Master

To compete in the Open, there are more movements than ever to master.

In my previous article – 2017 CrossFit Open Preparation: 8 Weeks Of Workouts And Coaching – I told you why you should do the Open, and got you set up to start on my athlete’s workout routines for their competition prep. There’s still a lot of ground to coer until the workouts are announced in February and today, I’m going to cover the movements of Competition CrossFit.

The list is long. As the Games, Regionals, the Open and other competitions have evolved, so too have the movements you need to know. Here, I’ll talk about what you need for the Open, some things you might see in the Open, and what it takes to compete at Regionals.

Let’s start with barbell movements. You need not only a high one-rep max for each lift, but you’ve also got to have proficiency with barbell cycling in high rep ranges. Barbell cycling is a key element of competition CrossFit, and something that in many ways defines CrossFit as the unique sport that it is. The barbell movements include everything from basic power lifts (like deadlift and press) and the clean-and-jerk and snatch, as well as movement styles unique to CrossFit, such as thrusters, ground-to-overhead, and shoulder-to-overhead. Plus, there are many variations for these movements—too many to describe here. So you’ve got to be very comfortable with a huge array of barbell moments to do well in the Open or at Regionals.

In gymnastics, you’ll need to have mastered a wide range of basic and specialty movements, and again in high-rep sets. With handstand push-ups, you’ll probably be looking at kipping, but don’t be surprised to see another variation, such as deficit. No, we haven’t seen strict HSPU yet in the Open, but I think you should not be at all surprised if you do. To be successful in the Open, think about getting comfortable with 75 reps within 8 minutes. For muscle ups, let’s not fool ourselves—strict is a real possibility for the Open; but you’ll almost certainly see ring MUs and don’t be surprised if there are bar MUs tossed in this year. With toes-to-bar, you probably should be able to hit 25-rep sets; high-rep T2B is CrossFit right now. Pretty much the same goes for chest-to-bar pull-ups—think high volume. Will you see handstand walking in the Open this year? It’s a real possibility. After all, last year they created a 25-foot lane for walking lunges for the Open; what’s to say they couldn’t use that lane this year for handstand walking? It’s fairly straightforward to judge and score, so I think it’s a real possibility. For Regionals, you’ll want to train for 180 feet or more, and sprints of 100 feet.

Now let’s talk about some other movements. Something that you just have to accept as a Fact of Life in CrossFit is double unders. This is one of the first movements of CrossFit, and if you don’t have them, you simply can’t be successful in competition. Work on hitting 400 reps with unbroken sets of 30-50 reps. And when it comes to another classic CrossFit movement, wall ball, you’ve got to be ready for high reps as well. Work on sets of 50-55 reps. Remember, we’ve seen the equivalent of “Karen” (150 reps) in the Open a few times combined with other movements. And there’s no way to leave out burpees and all the many variations. Especially expect bar-facing burpees. You might see burpee box jumps and maybe even lateral burpees. There are always burpees; it’s just a matter of what variety and in what rep scheme.

Traditional box jumps are a possibility, but box jump-overs are more likely. Other movements include Pistols, which are expected at Regionals and a real possibility in the Open. You’ve also got to expect GHD sit ups in high reps (up to 100-rep range). Prepare also for kettlebell snatches, something I consider a replacement for the swing, which is harder to judge. Of course, prepare for rope climbs. And you’ve seen overhead walking lunges in the Open and you’ve seen them at Regionals, so get set: CrossFit loves a good overhead walking lunge.

As far as machines go, CrossFit has always loved Rowing, but if you’ve been rowing for distance, you’re on the wrong track. In competition, it’s all about calories. When you row for calories, it’s really about power output, and that’s should be trained differently than rowing for distance. Consider when you compete against your gym buddy, and his 60 calories gains him 750 meters, but your 60 calories gains you 1,150 meters. Know the difference and train for it. Assault Bike may be added, and it’s a whole different beast from rowing. Regionals have been using TrueForm running for a while, and it’s also something to consider, but unlikely in the Open.

In the end, remember that when it comes to the Open, CrossFit loves what’s easy to judge and easy to score, but they also love to throw a curve ball. So while this is a long and complete list, prepare for surprises.

In the following video, I talk you through CrossFit’s movements and prepare you for what you can expect in competition workouts:

You might be cutting it close right now, but you might want to jump on board with my 2017 CrossFit Open Prep Workouts. This is just an 8 week program, you may only get through the first 4 or 6 weeks with time being so short.

You can, during the course of the rest of the year, try my 12 week CrossFit Open Prep Workouts. At the end of the day, if you want to compete, it is a year long commitment to training.

It’s a great motivator to keep you pushing hard throughout the year instead of just jumping on board with new year’s resolutions and resolve. Those tend to burn out for a lot of people by the end of the first month, if not sooner.

The CrossFit Open is a great way to have clear cut goals with a dedicated workout regimen that takes your through the whole year. Can’t get any better than that, no matter what level you are at and what your ambitions are ultimately.