It is common knowledge that a building with a cracked foundation is no good. Stability and safety become major concerns, and typically there is a pretty significant cost associated with fixing the problem. The CrossFit Open, for many, serves as a bit of an evaluation. It tests your stamina, strength and skill work, and it often exposes weaknesses. Although a specific movement may be viewed as a weakness, there’s typically an underlying foundational crack that has more to do with lack of mobility, poor technique or inaccurate movement patterns. Use your Open experience to grow by following a few simple steps.
Do every workout to the best of your ability. Now that may sound like obvious advice, but as we all know, there is sometimes a bit of strategy involved with workouts. But sandbagging any portion of a workout should not be an option if you’re serious about measuring your abilities and future progress. Go into every single workout prepared to give it your all. Having a plan is great, but if it doesn’t go your way, that doesn’t mean you give in. Forge on — even if it’s one rep at a time.
Log your performance and take notes. This isanother piece of seemingly obvious advice. But occasionally when you’re disappointed in a performance, you may be tempted to not submit it. That’s bullshit. There is nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to the Open. You should take pride in everything you achieve, even if it’s not what you wanted. And there’s no way to measure progress or formulate solutions if you don’t have any data to work with. Log your score, and take notes to remind yourself what worked, what didn’t work and how it felt.
Talk to a coach about pain points. Usually pain points are evident (not literal bodily pain – performance pains … stuff you don’t do well). It’s knowing where to start with improving that can be tricky. Sometimes a bad lift isn’t about doing that lift more. Talking to a coach about options for accessory movements, technique improvements or strength and/or mobility solutions will give you some extra insight and some guidance as you go. Most pain points will require some commitment on your part, outside of you regular CrossFit classes.
Use the next year to improve, from your foundation up. Make a plan for the next year. If you plan to be an annual participant of the Open and want to be better than years past, you need a plan. It may be as simple as consistently working out five times per week. It may include an individually designed strength program. Whatever it is, create daily goals, short-term goals (a couple of months out) and long-term goals (the next Open) paired with a structured plan to get to those goals. Write it down and put it in a place where you’d be forced to see it every day. Then make it happen.
The Open is a true test of abilities and progress. It represents the variance and intensity CrossFit is all about, and because you never know what will pop up, it will undoubtedly uncover weaknesses you may or may not know exist. Take the opportunity to embrace what you suck at, and use the next year to address it from your foundation up — because spending time and energy on the basics will create a foundation you can safely and successfully build on.