A Guide to Your First CrossFit Open (2016)

Finishing a tough open workout last year with our friends at Burg CrossFit.

Finishing a tough open workout last year with our friends at Burg CrossFit.

The holidays are over and you are back in the gym hitting it hard and trying to negate all the nonsense you just put your body through over the last month...or two. Well, kudos to you. You are just in time to gear up for the CrossFit Open! This is an annual worldwide (online) event, in which exercisers everywhere at every skill level can participate in 5 weekly workouts that are aimed at testing your fitness. Here's everything you need to know to get prepared and put yourself to the test!

The Basics

Registration for The Open begins January 14th, 2016. You can find it at games.crossfit.com. It costs $20 to register. 

Workouts are announced each Thursday night starting February 25th. Announcements are broadcast live on YouTube, followed by a head-to-head matchup of high level CrossFitters completing the workout. Watch it, learn from it, and channel those visuals when it's your turn.

 You have until the following Monday to complete the workout and submit your score to be validated by your affiliate gym. Each workout is scored by a registered judge from your gym or wherever you are completing the workout. There are scaled and RX versions of each workout, so you can participate at any skill level.

The Nitty Gritty

Here at SPSC CrossFit, our preparation has already begun. While a lot of our year is spent improving your strength and overall work capacity, the prep phase going into The Open is spent hammering the essential CrossFit skills and metcons. We know from history what movements and skills you HAVE to brush up on going into The Open:


  • Double Unders (jump rope)
  • Handstand Pushups
  • Toes-to-Bar
  • Pull-ups and Chest-to-Bar pull-ups
  • Burpees
  • Muscle-Ups
  • Box Jumps
  • *Wall ball shots
  • *Rowing on Concept 2


  • Snatch
  • Clean, Clean and Jerk
  • Thrusters
  • Deadlift
  • Overhead Squat
  • Shoulder-to-Overhead (get good at push jerks!)

While this isn't a guaranteed list of everything that will be included, these are sure bets. If some of these movements --- take muscle ups for example --- are out of your league over the next month or two, don't stress about it. You can default to the scaled workout that week or go for that first muscle up if you are close to getting it already. Either way, you could end up with some kind of personal record. That's what it's all about!

Mentality and Practice

Other than spending time honing in on your skills, especially the gymnastics variety, there's really no better practice than doing past workouts from The Open. You'll get familiar with the types of tests in place and there's a good chance one of them will be repeated this year. Focusing on your 1RM back squat isn't going to help you much at this point in the year. Become a better technician in your lifts and become more skilled overall if you want success.

If this is your first time, the primary focus is completing each workout with your best effort. It doesn't matter so much where you rank in the world (you can beat that placing next year). Right now is the time to figure out your pacing, capacity, and willingness to go into (and stay) in that dark place during your workouts. Training is practice and The Open is game time. 

Most of us aren't trying to go to Regionals, in which case there isn't a bunch of pressure on us. However, this is a chance to put all your hard work to the test in a different setting. Compete with yourself and rise to the occasion. I'd put my money on surprising yourself with what you can accomplish with a little different mindset and environment.

Here's to another CrossFit Open and wishing you success and PRs in the near future!

-Taylor Race, head coach and co-owner at SPSC CrossFit