3, 2, 1… The 2016 CrossFit Open

The 2016 CrossFit Open kicks off Thursday. Our Masters grinder looks at what he loves about the Open and why you should probably do it.
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I love the Open. Not really all the workouts, but I love this time of year in the CrossFit Games season and the atmosphere it creates in all the affiliates.

CrossFit always prides itself on the “unknown and unknowable” element of competition, and that aspect remains as true today as it did in 2007 at the very first CrossFit Games. What we do know (probably) is that in the past five years of the Open, there seems to be a finite number of movements that we will be seeing pop up in some manner over the next five weeks. Among others, you have a good chance of seeing: wall balls, double-unders, thrusters, pull-ups, muscle-ups, box jumps, cleans, deadlifts, rowing, handstand push-ups and some form of snatching.

Being a member of the CrossFit Games Media team, I have no advanced knowledge or special insight into what these workouts might consist of from Thursday through March 28. But we do know when and where each of the Open announcement matchups will be. There are some really great combos this year, but the two I’m looking forward to the most are Shawn Ramirez, 41, vs. Nicholas Paladino, 17, and Rich Froning, Ben Smith and Mat Fraser at The Ranch. I think it’s genius to stack a Masters champion up against a Teenage division champion and showcase youth against age in this battle. Then in the fifth and final week, taking the past two champions, Ben Smith and Rich Froning, and throwing in one of the biggest threats to the top of the podium in 2016, Mat Fraser, and putting the whole thing together in the place where it all started, The Ranch in Aromas, California, creates an incredible matchup.

Photo of Mat Fraser ©2015 CrossFit Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit Inc.

Photo of Mat Fraser ©2015 CrossFit Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit Inc.

My opinion is that everyone should do the Open. There are a lot of reasons that people do and don’t do it. One I hear quite a bit is that they “aren’t ready” or “haven’t been doing CrossFit very long.” That’s not a great excuse. With all the workouts for the Open being scalable (as are all CrossFit workouts, by the way), there is no level of experience that anyone needs to have in order to participate.

In the new Open Bar segment on games.crossfit.com, Adrian Bozman, head judge for the CrossFit Games, pointed out that the same reason people should spend $20 to register for the Open is the same reason people would spend money to do things like 5K runs. It creates value and buy-in and lets you see your results up against everyone else’s. Could you do the Open workouts on your own in your box or affiliate? Sure. Could you go run a 5K on your own around town? Sure. But paying to be a part of the official experience and to put your scores out there for the whole world to see cultivates a vested interest in the process. I know — I’ve done it both ways.

As the CrossFit community braces itself for an onslaught of online members bitching about the workouts being too hard while a like number of participants cry for much heavier and more difficult workouts, we, as a group, will sit together and eagerly watch the numbers on the Games site countdown clock tick away until this coming Thursday.

The Open leads to the Regionals and the Regionals leads to the Games. This first step is for everyone, and that’s what we love about it. It’s a chance to compete. It may only be for five weeks, but just like me, you, too, can sign up and test your fitness against your friends at the gym or around the world and see where your numbers stack up against the best athletes on the planet no matter how far back you end up.

What do you love the best about the Open? Which Open announcements are you looking forward to watching this season?

Stay on the grind.