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My Least Favorite Open Workouts

I love testing my fitness in Open workouts, but there are a few I hope to never see again.

I want to start off by saying that this is my list. Yours is probably different and that’s fine. But as we teeter on the brink of the 2016 CrossFit Games Open, I want to take a minute to reflect on some of my least favorite workouts from the past five years.

Third Worst Open Workout: 12.4/13.3

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:

150 Wall Balls (20 pounds to 10-foot target)

90 Double-Unders

30 Muscle-Ups

I have no recorded score from 2012, because that year, I did most of the Open workouts but not all of them, and I probably skipped this one as soon as I saw it. I hate doing “Karen.” One of the worst workouts we did back in 2011 was Karen (150 wall balls) followed by a five-minute rest and a 1-mile run. In July. It took almost the first 800 meters to get my legs to engage enough to be able to run at all. Add the double-unders and the looming prospect of muscle-ups and this one is a killer.

I had watched all the suggested videos and read all the “prep and strategy” articles. My plan going in was to break up the wall balls right away into sets of 15 for as long as I could and then go to 10s. It didn’t last that long. By about the six-minute mark, I was struggling with sets of five. I had made the decision to do the wall balls wearing my lifting shoes and had not really practiced doing double-unders with them on. This was a mistake. My legs were already shot, and my heart rate was high, which had me pretty winded already. With about three minutes left in the 12-minute cap, I grabbed the rope and started hammering through as many as I could. I don’t have a problem with muscle-ups, so getting that far wasn’t a concern. But I did want to make it through some of the doubles. The combo of my legs being smoked and the total lack of bounce because I was in the lifters resulted in a disappointing result. I ended up scoring 191 reps and had absolutely no desire to try it again.

Second Worst Open Workout: 15.5


27-21-15-9 reps for time of:

Row (calories)


I hate thrusters. I couldn’t understand after 14.5 (more to come on that one) why we really needed to do another workout with thrusters and no time cap. While this one had less total reps, I spent two straight days talking myself into attempting it. There is something so rewarding and satisfying about finishing all the Open workouts in a year, but this one had me second-guessing a lot of my life choices. With such high volume on both movements, I knew I’d have to break up the thrusters immediately if there was any chance to finish this before the next class started. But the most fun was busting out 27 calories on the rower first, then starting on the thrusters, which I hate (did I mention that?). Already winded even though my “pace myself” strategy was kind of working, I started in with sets of five thrusters in the beginning. By the end, I was doing singles and had to talk myself into picking up the bar. Yes, I became that guy who everyone stood around and clapped and motivated so that I could finish this one. The end result was a time of 15:12 and me lying on the floor, panting and happy to be finished.

Worst Open Workout: 14.5

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:

95-Pound Thrusters


My initial reaction to this announcement was simply this … NO! It was as if Dave Castro texted me and asked, “Hey, what are two movements you hope will never be in the same Open workout as a couplet and at high reps?” and then he made this with an evil throw-your-head-back-in-triumph laugh and immediately programmed thrusters and burpees. Whenever someone talks about 14.5, I always interject, “Screw 14.5.” There may have been only one other time in almost six years of training that I seriously considered quitting a workout and walking out. No time cap on this one, Dave? Thanks, man! In my mind, I thought that if I could simply push my way through the round of 15, I had a chance of surviving. But after the round of 18, almost 80 reps in, I wasn’t sure it was going to get done. Hats off to my judge who got on his hands and knees and encouraged me to crawl toward the bar and hop over again and again. Honestly, I don’t even remember doing the round of six or three. But I finished that bastard, although it took me 23:33 to do it. The icing on the cake, as they say, was that I was one of our certified judges and I had to drag a chair over to the floor so that I could sit in it to count and monitor reps for the next person because I lacked the ability and willpower to stand.

Everyone has workouts they hated from the Open. What are yours?

Stay on the grind.