crossfit open by grant


    My guess is that a lot of people don’t know what CrossFit is, let alone the Open. For a short explanation, CrossFit is a weightlifting sport that incorporates cardio into its workouts--whether it be running, double-unders, handstand walking, or high-repetition workouts with the weights--and is classified as “the sport forging elite fitness”. A new workout is given out on their website every day for the people who want to follow their programming directly. I go to CrossFit Loft, which comes up with their own workouts every day. These workouts can be scaled (often done if the weight that is prescribed is too heavy, or there is a movement that you can’t do yet) to fit your athletic capabilities, to be both easier and harder. Professional athletes tend to do three workouts every day.


Every year, CrossFit holds a competition that almost everybody in the sport participates in: the Open. This is the first stage of three competitions. It’s five weeks long, and consists of five workouts that are released every Thursday. The athletes get until Monday to turn a score in that was recorded by an official judge, or you can submit a video to get your score validated. Then, you are placed on two leaderboards: regional and worldwide. Those who do well enough in their region get to move on to the next competition, which is called Regionals. After that comes the Games, which is pretty much the Olympics of CrossFit. I didn’t even make it to regionals, so you don’t have to worry about understanding that bit.


Each workout in the Open has a name. This year, they were all called 18.x--the “18” being the year of 2018, and “x” being which week it is (i.e. 18.1, 18.2, ... , 18.5). Upon completion, you enter your reps/time online. Once it is validated, you receive your score. The point system is sort of like golf; your goal is to have as little points as possible.


I had just finished my second year of swimming for West Seattle High School when I returned to CrossFit. My coach told me to take a gap month in order to be at peak performance for the district meet. After my first workout back, I realized I had made a grave mistake. It was almost as if all of my endurance with lifting heavy weights at high repetitions had just completely left my body. There was roughly two weeks in between my first day back and the Open, so I had to make sure I worked out every day to ensure not being dead-last on the leaderboards.


This year the director of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro, tried to incorporate new movements into every workout. I believe this was to make an effort to include movements that he knew are not generally practiced. I actually really like that he did this because it gives people who can’t dedicate as much time to all of the standard weight movements a chance to not completely suck (i.e. me). This actually came back to kick my ass, though, because 18.1 was my worst score.


18.1:

AMRAP (As many reps as possible) in 20 Minutes:

  • 8 Toes-to-Bar

  • 10 Dumbbell Hang Clean & Jerks (5 each arm; men use 50 pounds, women use 35 pounds)

  • 14/12 Calories Rowed on a Concept 2 Rower (men/women)


    First of all, dumbbell hang cleans are absolutely horrible. I struggled getting the dumbbell to my shoulders for most of the reps. I’m also terrible at rowing, so the toes-to-bar were the only thing I had going for me. This year, the west coast region expanded to include California. In 2017, California was its own region. In Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, and part of Canada, I finished 110th place, out of 207 athletes, with 170 reps.


18.2:

FOR TIME: 12 MIN CAP

1/1, 2/2, 3/3 - up to - 10/10

  • DB Squat (50 lbs/side)

  • Bar-Facing Burpees

  • 18.2A - 1RM clean (in remaining time)


    This is one of those workouts that seems easy when reading, but actually doing the work makes it a lot harder. 18.2 was a ladder workout. We had to start with one rep of a dumbbell squat (two fifty pound dumbbells on both of your shoulders) and a burpee facing a barbell that was elevated by plates on the ground. After you finish one, you move on to two, then three, and all the way up to ten. If you finished the ten reps of the burpees, you got to find you one rep max clean with the remaining time in the workout. This was called 18.2A. A clean is when you pick up a barbell from the ground and stand all the way up with it on your shoulders.

   

    When I was doing this workout, I pushed myself to what I thought was the very end of the workout, collapsing on the floor afterwards. For some reason I forgot that this workout was twelve minutes, instead of eleven minutes. I was lying there, nearly passed out, when everyone was yelling at me that I only had two burpees left. The moment that I opened my eyes, I realized that there were still forty seconds left in the workout. I got up, finished the last burpees, and had thirty seconds to do my clean.


The bar that we had to do our burpees over was preloaded with my starting weight, which was 108 lbs. After a workout like that, this felt like a really heavy weight to be moving. I approached the bar and bent down, grabbed it with my hands, flattened my back and just didn't think about it. My brain went into autopilot for my clean. I had done the movement so many times before, I didn’t need to overthink it. My coach, Chelsea, told me that overthinking a lift makes it that much harder.


I cleaned the weight, and everybody in the room was cheering in excitement. My judge was helping me add weight to my bar to do another lift. He grabbed a two and a half pound plate, but saw that I was loading a ten pound plate instead. A look of concern was on his face, but he grabbed the ten and loaded that, instead. I looked at the clock, and saw it read “11:50”. I had ten seconds do lift this bar. Again, my brain took control of my body and began the clean. I was at the bottom of my squat, screaming at myself to stand up with it. (Also unconsciously. Your brain does some weird stuff when you’re tired.) My knees pushed out, and I stood up. My head turned to look at the clock, and it read “11:59”. I did it.


That story would probably sound a lot more interesting if you knew what a clean (and maybe the whole workout) looked like, so here’s a link to the standards of it. In the west coast, I finished in 86th place for 18.2, and 89th for 18.2A.


18.3:

2 rounds:

  • 100 double-unders

  • 20 overhead squats (115 pounds)

  • 100 double-unders

  • 12 ring muscle-ups

  • 100 double-unders

  • 20 dumbbell snatches (50 pounds in each hand)

  • 100 double-unders

  • 12 bar muscle-ups

The time cap is 14:00.


    Alrighty. This workout is full of a lot of words that probably don’t make sense if you don’t do CrossFit, so here’s a link to a video that explains the workout. Muscle-ups are a movement that have been in the Open before, but ring muscle-ups are new. Traditionally, they are done on a pull-up bar. Many people say that they are harder to complete on rings, but I actually got a ring muscle-up before a bar muscle-up. I knew that the muscle-ups would be a stopping place for people in the Open, because most people can’t do them. With this in mind, I knew that I had to get to the muscle-ups to secure a high-placing score. There was another challenge that I faced, however.


    After the first set of 100 double-unders, you had to do twenty overhead squats with a barbell, weighing 115 pounds. I knew that I would be able to do this weight, but I also knew that twenty reps would take me awhile to finish. As I was doing it, I had to break it up into groups of five reps, four reps, four reps, three reps, two reps, and one rep. The reps that I could do in one go went down, as my shoulders began to grow tired from holding the weight above my head for so long. I got through it and went on to do my second set of 100 double-unders. By the time I finished these I had about a minute and a half left to do as many muscle-ups as I could. I only ended up getting two, but those two put me ahead of a lot of people. In the west coast, I finished in 55th place.


18.4:

21-15-9 for time of:

  • Deadlifts (225/155)

  • HSPU

  • Deadlifts (315/205)

  • Handstand Walk (50’)

9-Minute time cap.


    This workout is a lot easier to understand than the previous, but here’s a link to the standards. Handstand walking was the new movement introduced to the Open in this workout, but handstand push-up standards also became stricter than 2017’s. You have to get your feet to be higher when you are fully pressed out, and your feet also can’t be pointed. I only finished the second set of deadlifts in this workout because I got no-repped so many times on my handstand push-ups. Even though I didn’t get very far in this one, handstand push-ups are also a hard movement for everyone to do. I finished 57th in the west coast for this workout.


18.5:

7 Minute AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) of:

3-6-9-12-15-18-...

  • Thrusters (100/65)

  • C2B Pull-ups

    18.5 was probably the coolest workout in the Open. Dave did something that they had never done before. We were given three workouts, and we got to vote for which one we wanted to do. The workout I voted for didn’t end up winning, but this was my second choice. Finally, after five weeks of competing, the last workout had come. I happened to get a cold the day before I did this workout, which sucked, but I was just happy that I didn’t have to carry the stress of competing once per week anymore. I finished 67th in the west coast for this workout.


    All in all, I finished in 68th place in the west coast, and 1,252nd worldwide. My goal for the Open was to finish in the top 50%, which I was able to accomplish. The reason I love doing CrossFit is because it keeps me in shape. The Open is just an excuse to push myself to be in even better shape, which will help me so much in the long run. Both my physical and mental health have improved because of this sport, and it successfully tricked my brain into enjoying the feeling of dying in a workout.


Rating the Open on a scale of 1-10 is really difficult. Yes, I hated it when I was competing. But, after two years of competing, I always look back at the Open with a smile on my face because I know how hard I worked to get to where I am. So with this in mind, I’m going to ignore my thoughts towards the Open from when I was competing and am only going to consider my thoughts now: 10. The Open gets a 10/10 from me because it successfully unites the sport of CrossFit to be even closer than it already is. It promotes healthy living among everyone who participates, and all-in-all is a fun experience to have. I’m grateful that I have the opportunities to do CrossFit. Who knows, maybe you would like to do it too! If you are interested, follow this link.




Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:

8 toes-to-bars

10 dumbbell hang clean and jerks

14-cal. row

Men use 50-lb. dumbbell

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