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When Should I Tackle the 2014 CrossFit Games Open Workout?

Invictus Athletes Camp 2012

When Should I Tackle the 2014 CrossFit Games Open Workout?
Written by C.J. Martin

The excitement of the CrossFit competition season begins this week!!! For many of you, this is your opportunity to show how hard you have worked over the last 9-12 months. For others, this is an opportunity to be involved in a phenomenal community event, challenge yourself in a fun, competitive environment, and lend your support to the athletes who you see in the gym every day.

At this point, the question that I am hearing most frequently is, “When should I tackle the Open workout?

First, it is important to clearly identify your goal in participating in the Open. Below are my thoughts on when you should be tackling the 2014 CrossFit Games Open workouts based on various goals.

I Love My Workouts and Want to Have Fun with the Open! – If you love working out with your friends, then I strongly encourage you to participate in the Open and make it a fun community event. I want every one of the members of the Sea of Green to participate in the CrossFit Games Open and feel the thrill of pushing themselves in competition. If you fall into this category, you should be choosing one day each week to do the Open workout…either Friday or Saturday.

But as strongly as I encourage everyone to try the Open workouts once each week, I am even more adamant that they are not doing it twice or more each week. The volume of the events can be too much to handle and properly recover from each week. Inability to recover from the same repetitive movements puts an athlete at a greater risk of injury – which is certainly not worth it if you’re just doing this for fun.

More importantly, the best part of competition is rising to the pressure to perform at your best right then and there. Our competitors don’t get a do-over at Games, professional golfers don’t get mulligans, and Olympic athletes in nearly every sport train for four years for one chance to perform. The nature of competition is that you get one shot to demonstrate how hard you have worked for that moment. Don’t spoil that with the mindset that you will just keep performing the same workout until you get good at it.

Finally, unless CrossFit is your sport of choice, you should be using your workouts to support your general health and fitness, and maybe as a supplement to your other athletic endeavors. To best do that, you should be employing one of CrossFit’s foundational principles – variance. Our typical program relies on constantly varied movements to hedge against overtraining and to best develop an athlete who is well-rounded. Spending 5 weeks performing the same events multiple times cuts against this core concept.

CrossFit Is My Sport! – If you simply LOVE the sport of CrossFit and have been training your butt off for months to perform well as a competitive CrossFit athlete – this means following a program designed to prepare you for competition, or at least diligently working on your weaknesses as a CrossFit athlete in addition to your gym’s typical programming – you may be a candidate to do the Open workouts twice each week. If you or one of your coaches has honestly assessed that you have a chance to qualify or help your team qualify to Regionals and you have prepared yourself well through rigorous training, get in there and get after it hard on Friday. Assess your performance, determine how you might be able to get a few extra reps if you did it a second time, and then hit it again on either Sunday or Monday before 2:00 p.m. PST.

Athletes in this category need to understand though that focusing intensely on the Open for 5 weeks is likely to slow their overall development as an athlete. It’s a short amount of time, and you can get back to off-season training quickly thereafter, but if your primary goal is to continue to develop to be the best CrossFit athlete you can be and potentially compete for a spot on the podium at Regionals in 2015 or beyond, I would consider treating the Open as just another training session in your weekly plan.

Competitive Masters Athletes – You may need to consider performing the Open workouts twice if you are a Masters Athlete who is serious about competing in the sport of CrossFit. These are athletes who dedicate 5 days a week to training and have already hardened themselves to the volume and intensity of some of CrossFit’s toughest workouts. I hate saying that, but if I am being totally honest, I may advise some of the Masters athletes that I coach to do some of these events twice depending on their placement each week. Masters would typically be the last group that I would want performing these events twice in a week, but this is a very competitive group now, so Masters will need to ensure that they have at least done enough on the first shot to give them the best possible chance of moving on to the second qualification stage. If your first shot puts you well within that group, do not perform the Open a second time.

To give our Competitive Masters Athletes the best chance possible, I will advise that they perform the Open on Friday…and then again on Sunday or Monday before 2:00 p.m. PST if necessary.

High-Level Veteran Competitors – You need to hit the Open workout only once in the flow of your regular training week only if you are part of the small percentage of athletes out there who are veteran competitors in the sport of CrossFit andhave finished well at Regionals and/or competed at the Games in the past. If you are confident that you will finish in the top 12 in your Region, then you should tackle the Open workout on Friday only, and then continue training with the focus being to peak at Regionals. However, if you are not sure you will be in the top 12-20 in your region in the Open, I would suggest that you hit the Open workouts twice and ensure that you are safely moving on to Regionals.

I am committed to providing the best opportunities possible to ALL of our athletes – both within the walls of Invictus and in our online community – so I will be suggesting and scheduling workouts to accommodate the various approaches to tackling the Open workouts.

Performing the Open Events at Invictus

  • Friday – Invictus members will have the option to perform the Open workouts during any of our group coaching sessions. There will also be an alternative workout planned.
  • Friday Night Lights – Every Friday night for the next five weeks Invictus will host our annual Friday Night Lights event in which our competitive athletes will perform the Open workouts in front of a massive crowd of Invictus friends and family cheering them to their best possible performance. Friday Night Lights starts at 6:00 p.m. and will be at either the Downtown or Point Loma location depending upon the equipment required in the event.
  • Saturday - Invictus members will have the option to perform the Open workouts during any of our group coaching sessions. There will also be an alternative team workout planned.
  • Sunday – I recognize that some of our members will want an opportunity to come in on Sunday to either tackle the Open workout, or because they missed out on their Friday session. Accordingly, Invictus will be open on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for open gym.

The Competition Blog Schedule

For those performing the Open events ONCE per week, it is recommended that you follow the following schedule:

  • Monday – Invictus Competition Training
  • Tuesday – Invictus Competition Training
  • Wednesday – Invictus Competition Training
  • Thursday – Active Recovery or Complete Rest
  • Friday – OPEN WORKOUT!
  • Saturday – Invictus Competition Training
  • Sunday – Complete Rest and Weekly Preparation

For those performing the Open events TWICE per week, it is recommended that you follow the following schedule:

  • Monday – Invictus Competition Training…unless you have the option of hitting the Open workout for the second attempt on Monday before 2:00 p.m. PST
  • Tuesday – Invictus Competition Training
  • Wednesday – Invictus Competition Training
  • Thursday – Active Recovery or Complete Rest
  • Friday – OPEN WORKOUT!
  • Saturday – Active Recovery or Complete Rest
  • Sunday – OPEN WORKOUT…unless you have the option of resting on Sunday also and hitting the Open workout before 2:00 p.m. PST on Monday

For those competing a second time on Sunday, you will need to make a good judgment on Monday’s training. I would suggest that you train on Monday, but adjust volume and intensity as needed to recover fully for training and competing the remainder of the week.

If you have any questions about the schedule or how to best approach the Open, please submit them to comments and we will do our best to provide a prompt reply.

And for all of those Invictus members who have not yet registered to participate in the Open, please get on it!!! This is going to be an amazing year! We are hoping to qualify THREE teams to represent Invictus at the So Cal Regionals, which will be held again at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on May 23-25, 2014.

Click here to register for the CrossFit Games Open! 

  • Amy

    If you are planning to re-test on Mondays, should both Saturday and Sunday be rest days? Or should you do a workout Saturday and keep rest day on Sunday, re-test Monday?

    • Cj Martin

      Probably…maybe some light aerobic work on Sunday before the re-test on Monday.

  • Paulo

    Would this work?
    Monday Open
    Tues Training
    Wed Training
    Thurs Recovery/Rest
    Fri Open
    Sat Training
    Sun Recovery/Rest

    • Cj Martin

      Yep.

  • Frayne A

    CJ,

    What would you recommend for the following scenario?

    Your team finished 11th in the region last year, you are a much better athlete than last year (finished around 200 in your region) and just want to focus on helping your team do as well as possible and are confident your team will qualify for the regionals? Would you recommend still doing the workouts twice on Friday and Sunday?

    • Cj Martin

      Depends on your team. Is your team better, or is it just you that’s better? If your whole team is better, just hit the workout once.

  • Mark Buskas (NW)

    Unfortunately, even with some adjustments, my schedule will only allow me to do the open workouts Thursday nights and Saturdays. Going to do some active recovery on Wed.’s and Fri.’s.

    Sound good or maybe you have a better suggestion?

    • Cj Martin

      Yep, that’s fine.

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  • Dylan Weller

    Cj, everyother week for the open I am working nights. I am in the “confident I will be top 10″… So I can do the wod Saturday those weeks. what do i do Thursday/Friday? Tjanks

    • Cj Martin

      Rest Thursday and do some weightlifting and gymnastics skill work on Friday. See that as your prime opportunity to work on weaknesses, just keep the volume appropriate so that it doesn’t smash you for the Saturday Open session.

      • Dylan Weller

        perfect, thanks as always cj

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  • Dylan Weller

    Maybe:

    Monday- Full Rest
    Tuesday- invictus program (Mondays)
    Wednesday- invictus (Tuesdays)
    Thursday- invictus (Wednesdays)
    Friday- active recovery
    Saturday- open wod
    Sunday- Saturdays competition program

    • Cj Martin

      This is a good plan too!

  • Jonalynn

    I am fairly new to invictus and the crossfit community in general. I just wanted to join for fun and to challenge myself. As of right now, I go 3x/week due to my school schedule. Would Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday work? What do you recommend because I’ve never done this…

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