Why Changes to the 2015 CrossFit Open are a Great Thing

By: Jonathan FitProhere

On February 11, 2015, The Box Magazine, a publication that follows all things Crossfit posed an interesting question on social media. “What do you think of the new Open structure? Has it changed your training approach? “ Let’s dive into that.

Now let me be honest, at the end of the Crossfit World Invitational, when Dave Castro first announced the super regions and the scaled divisions, the first thought in my head was, “damn, the CrossFit Open Programmers are going to just have us lift a lot of heavy weight.” For a short, while I considered skipping this year’s Open to focus on adding 5-10 pounds to my 175lb frame to enter in 2016. After some considerations, I’ve come to find out that the modifications to this year’s structure will prove to be excellent. Here’s why.

It will encourage newer Crossfitters to make long term goals

Many people at my box know that for my the CrossFit Open is like the winter holiday season for most as I ‘ve look forward to it since I first got into Crossfit a little over2 years ago. It’s common for me to ask around to make sure everyone has registered and this year, as with every other year the Open was met with a fair amount of resistance. It wasn’t until I explained the fact that there would be a scaled division that many of the athletes reconsidered.

I think we have to understand that in this community of fitness there are varying degrees of skill and while a double under maybe child’s play to me, it is a huge challenge for some people. While last year’s 14.1 did encourage people to get their first double under, I think many more people were scared away from even trying. I think allowing scaled athletes to enjoy the fun of the open will encourage them to improve and try to do a few RX workouts the following year and maybe even get to a point where they can go full RX down the road.

It will make experienced Crossfitters more well-rounded athletes

I’d consider myself a tweener. While I may be one of the more talented athletes in my box, and/or general area, I’ve never made the regionals and would like to one day. There are a lot of things to consider as you probably plan to go RX the whole way through. Let’s address them.

Let’s talk about Weight

If you haven’t noticed, the load in the regionals and the games has gotten a little lighter compared to previous years. Crossfit is about constantly varied exercises done at a high intensity. High intensity doesn’t always mean heavy weight.

  • A 135lb clean & jerk was used in 13.3 and left the 2nd fittest man on Earth, Jason Khalipa on the ground in 7 minutes. The same 135lbs was used in the finale of the 2014 games so it’s really all about how weight is manipulated.
  • The squat clean speed ladder was arguably the most exciting WOD of the 2014 CrossFit games and that was relatively lighter (and in my opinion, WAY more exciting) than the 2013 Clean and Jerk Ladder. Remember, this is CrossFit, not a weightlifting competition.
  • For those of you that are hoping for heavy weights, CrossFit does offer an opportunity for you to express your strength as they did with WOD 14.3. The deadlift/box jump couplet allowed you to show how strong you were but only while you proved that you were still an athlete with the box jumps.

So let’s not get hung up on weights because that’s not what CrossFit is completely about. While I presume that the load may increase a bit, it will probably do so in a ladder fashion like 14.3 or 13.1. Guess what, if you can’t handle the heavier loads at the end, you probably wouldn’t have made a splash at the regionals anyway.

Let’s talk about Variety

Who didn’t know what WOD 14.5 was going to be? Everyone under the sun knew that it was going to be thrusters and burpees. As a matter of fact, thrusters have been part of the last WOD for at least the last 3 years. Gerald Sasser of the Central East Region made a very good point when he noted that if you don’t know what’s coming, it’s probably programmed well, so we need variety.

I felt the best wrinkle of the 2014 Crossfit Open was the chipper workout (14.4). It gave us something different to look forward to. When I saw the rower on screen I nearly fell over in fear. This fear however is the kind that challenges you to work hard. I don’t mind surprises in CrossFit because it separates the people who just practice a few “Open” exercises over and over from athletes who are really fit across broad domains. There are tons of measureable movements that one would see if they made it to the regionals that are practical for the open. I say bring on the pistol squats, the bar muscle-ups, the kettle bell swings, the dumbbell snatches, and the handstand pushups. If you’re fit enough to compete in the new super regions don’t worry, the open will prove you.

 

So that’s it, my goal was to keep this under 1000 words and I will just about barely make it. If you belong in the regionals, the open won’t stop you. Just commit yourself do CrossFit’s overall goal for you, becoming a better athlete and everything will work itself out.

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I hope you found this post helpful there will be many others to follow but if you want to chime in with feedback feel free. Don’t forget to add me on the facebook, and as always, remember to eat healthily, hydrate, drive safe, stress levels low, get rest, don’t slap anybody, love your clients, they will love you back, I will see you all tomorrow, or the next day, and you have a GOOD ONE!