Getting the Most Out of the Open

We are just getting under way with the Open and after coaching, judging, spectating, and participating during 18.1, it got me thinking about some tips to help those doing the Open make the most out of their experience.


With us having no idea what the workouts are going to be each week, and a gym full of members that are not doing the Open, our Sweat Shop WODs have to continue to be programmed business as usual.  Therefore modify the Sweat Shop WOD if you are concerned with being too sore.  While some people like to take off completely the day before doing the Open workout, others would rather get the blood flowing a little bit, and still others like to do a full blown workout the day before.  My advice for the day before is to get the blood going, and even getting some decent intensity, but not too much volume or things that have a lot of eccentric loading (thrusters, KB swings, deadlifts).  Rowing and assault bike are great because there is no eccentric load, and intensity can be easily manipulated.

Proper Warmup

When it comes time to doing the actual Open workout make SURE you not only mobilize the appropriate muscles, but get the heart rate up for AT LEAST  2-4 minutes, to the point where you are out of breath a little bit and you have a sweat going.  Far too often people are worried about tiring themselves out before the workout when what usually happens is that they go into the workout with their body not fully prepared and thus the initial heart rate and respiratory spike can also bring on feelings of anxiety and make the workout feel more difficult than it should.

You are a unique snowflake (most of the time)

Everyone has their own ideas on strategy, but what works for them may not work for you.  When workouts have multiple movements individual’s strengths and weakness may call for different strategies.  Chat with a coach and we’ll do our best to give you advice based on what we think will work best for YOU.

JB judging for Toovey during an Open workout several years ago. Power Clean, Wall Balls, and Toes to Bar :/

The Common Denominator

Pacing is key, regardless of your strengths or weaknesses.  For workouts that we’ve never done before it can sometimes be difficult to find that perfect pace.  If the rounds are crazy long, it’s not a bad idea to do at least one round for practice at a moderate pace and time it.  If you’re looking at a 15+ minute workout you’re not going to want to smash the first round at a pace faster than your practice round.  Even though the adrenaline is pumping and you feel great to start, the latter portion of your workout will certainly suffer.







Finally a few etiquette points to keep in mind during the Open:

Let ’em breathe!

Don’t ask someone seconds after they complete a workout “…what did you get??!!”  While we may often be excited for our fellow members, the seconds, (or even minutes for some) immediately post workout are not the time to ask what their score is.  Aside from being extremely tired, people may often not be aware of what their score is until they speak with their judge later.  A good rule of thumb is wait until the person is upright, walking around, and is able to make eye contact before you begin questioning them.

Sans Entitlement

No one or their workout is more important than someone else.  Just because your doing an Open workout doesn’t mean your omnipotent.  Yes, these workouts are certainly important to many, that’s why it’s best to only do these during times dedicated to running heats of the Open workout.  Lastly, if you’ve done an Open workout someone has certainly judged for you, make sure you too are making yourself available to be a judge as well.

1 reply
  1. Nabil
    Nabil says:

    I think proper warmup is the easiest way most people can improve their Open performances. Pacing can have an even bigger impact, but it’s not as simple to execute on as the warmup. I’ll try and make another post or video asap explaining pace.


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