You did it. You completed the 2018 CrossFit Open. You probably achieved some new skills, maybe set some PRs, and exchanged some high-fives. There have been a couple weeks to reflect. Perhaps you’re happy with your performance, but not satisfied. The Open pushes us to show what we’re capable of while simultaneously revealing areas we can improve, and definitely gets the competitive juices flowing.
Here are 3 very broad ideas to help you make the most of your training hours between now and the 2019 CrossFit Open.
Solidify New Skills
It is true, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Or at least have to do a majority of the work all over again to get it back. There were a whole bunch of first pull-ups, toes-to-bar, handstand push-ups and handstand walks. Many of you are already putting your new found skills to use in workouts. Great! Skills require practice to maintain and improve. Practice means focused work under controlled conditions (steady breathing and heart rate), not just doing them when they come up in a WOD and racing the clock.
You can put in less than an hour a week and it will probably be enough to build on what you’ve already developed. If you just got pull-ups or toes-to-bar you will probably want to spend some time refining your kip. This is as easy as 3 focused sets of 5 before or after class a few times a week. You should also be working on strict pull-up strength, especially if you’re performing kipping pull-ups and haven’t gotten a strict one yet. 20 minutes of on the minute (OTM) work once or twice a week will have you well on your way.
If your Open included first handstand push-ups or handstand walks, generally being upside down more will better these skills. There are many, many drills to choose from here. For handstand push-ups in particular, negatives are great. Making sure you can kick up to the wall and control yourself all the way from full extension to the mat while keeping your head and neck firmly attached to your shoulders is a good thing. Once you’re down there you can work on coordinating a strong kip. All this could be done in as little as 10 minutes a couple times a week.
A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. Our fitness is only as good as our weakest attribute. Chances are the Open exposed an area or two you can improve. By bringing up an element of our fitness that is lacking we will improve our overall capacity.
This can be trickier than solidifying strengths though. First, it’s always more fun to practice stuff we’re good at. Second, where to begin? Sure, you might not have muscle-ups, but why? You can do strict pull-ups and even some ring dips, so what’s the deal? This is where a skilled coach comes in. Maybe your kip is off, you’re pulling too early with your arms and not quite coordinating it properly, or there’s a mobility limitation holding you back. Working with a coach can help you more quickly identify potential issues and choose the right drills to correct them.
Once you’re pointed in the right direction it’s as easy as investing a little bit of time and energy each week. Remember, as a test the Open is about showing what you can’t do. You have a little less than 10+ months to be able to do more.
Try New Things
– Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO
If you enjoyed the friendly competition of the Open, or found it pushed you to perform at a higher level, there are a variety of competitive outlets that overlap nicely with CrossFit training for you to try. Road races, trail races, obstacle course races, power lifting, weightlifting, and of course local competitive exercise throwdowns to name a few.
Signing up for any such event can drive your training and give you a deadline (Ready or not, here it comes!). It can also be motivation to work on a weakness. Love the barbell? Maybe try an endurance event to build your engine. Got a motor for days, but heavy deadlifts stop you in your tracks? Perhaps dipping your toe in the waters of a strength sport is the answer. We have coaches at your disposal with some experience in everything named here and more!
CrossFit is a general physical preparedness program. The goal is to be ready for just about any physical task. This preparation develops well rounded, better athletes and more capable human beings. You’ve got about 300 days until your next fitness check up. What will you achieve between now and then?