The first stage of our community’s annual competition” The CrossFit Games, The Open is open to anyone of any shape, size, or experience. A series of workouts is released weekly for three weeks for entrants to complete. Athletes looking to progress further into the individual competition must perform the workouts as prescribed, but others who want to take part in Stage One only can “scale” their workouts to suit their ability. Each week the workouts are completed and scores submitted online before a specified deadline. Points are awarded awarded to each competitor to directly correspond to their rank, and the winner is the one with the lowest cumulative points over the course of The Open.

Workout One: 23.1

What a workout! The first week of this year’s CrossFit Open was not without it’s blips (more on that later) but despite the online community’s gripes, CrossFit DireWolf had a fantastic Friday Night Lights, an awesome Sunday Morning Lights, and even an electric (but impromptu!) Monday Afternoon Re-Do.

There were actually too many surprise/outstanding performances to shout out individually, but we really do want to congratulate all of our members who took on the workout, especially those who took the plunge and actually entered The Open. A 60 calorie row to start is pretty daunting, let alone with 50 toes-to-bar or hanging-knee-raises to immediately follow, 40 wall balls, 30 barbell cleans, and then 20 ring muscle ups or pull ups – and that’s just round one!

Watching our lot chase multiple reps on the rig was genuinely inspiring, and made for an excited and above-all supportive atmosphere through the gym all weekend.

As a box, our accumulative scores resulted in us placing 56th in Europe for this event. There are about 4,000 CrossFit Boxes in our continent… so we’re pretty chuffed!

But why was the CrossFit Community so pissed about 23.1?

Mis-loaded bars in the live announcement, typos in the social media posts detailing the workout, and outrage at the inclusion of super-high skill movements for Rx – it meant the CrossFit Karens were out en force!

Workout Two: 23.2

23.2 was a game of two halves. After watching the live broadcast on the Thursday night, CrossFit DireWolf was all set to recreate the Khrennikov versus Vellner battle in the classes on Friday… as if we don’t bang on about how great our space is enough, we had another excuse to do so when we discovered we needed multiple lanes for shuttle runs. Out came the white tape!

This time, the workout was a two-parter, with 23.2 Part A being a 15 minute APRAP of ascending burpee pull ups, and shuttle runs, followed by Part B, which was a further 5 minutes to establish a one rep max thruster. Phew!

A test of pacing, pushing, and then strength, we had some absolutely stand out performances. Callum Wright for an amazing score in Part A, Sam Prosser for some beautiful rig-work, and Ali Banks for brining the fire in both parts to conquer the pull ups and shift some weight on her barbell.

Above all, it was wonderful to watch every member, in every class, push themselves and encourage each other to achieve in every sense. That might mean a PB, it might mean mastering a new movement, and it might be overcoming some competitive-jitters to just have a go.

What was the CrossFit Community pissed about in 23.2?

The final frontier, indeed. We are extremely privileged to have been able to facilitate the shuttle run portion of this workout so easily at our box. Of course, for the busier classes, we had to run heats and ask our lot to be patient, but many (like, MANYmany) other affiliates aren’t so lucky.

CrossFit HQ does release an equipment list before the beginning of each Open, and this year’s did detail 25ft of “clear floor space”… but that’s as far as the detail went. Having a station, let alone multiple stations, to perform Part A was a relief. Thankfully, none of us had to seek out new life and new civilisations by Dropping In at other boxes.

Workout Three: 23.3

If toes to bar and ring muscle ups in week one, and jumping pull ups and a heavy barbell in week two didn’t trip you up in this year’s Open, then the wall walk/double under/snatch/strict handstand push up combo for the third and final week will probably get ya!

What. A. Finisher.

A super-mix of high-skill gymnastics and technical lifting tested both the proficiency and efficiency of our experienced athletes, but gave those newer to the sport a chance to make some wins at the wall, and test their ability on the barbell. (Multiple attempts at a 43kilo snatch, anyone??)

The structure of this workout meant that it looked different for different people depending on their level of experience and ability:

In a 6min window
complete as many reps as possible of…
5x wall walk
50x double unders
15x snatch 43/29 kilos
5x wall walk
50x double unders
12x snatch 61/43 kilos
If completed inside the 6min window +3min to complete…
20x strict handstand push up
50x double unders
9x snatch 83/56 kilos
If completed inside the 9min window +3 min to complete…
20x strict handstand push up
50x double unders
6x snatch 102/70 kilos

But with a tie break after each set of snatches, it was a sprint for everyone in the first window, either to get a decent time, or to save as much time as possible for the second and third windows and all those HSPUs!

As with the previous two weeks, there were loads of highlights for our gym: Angela Bracey PBd her snatch (over and over!), Hannah Davies got her first wall walk, Sian Plume racked up DOUBLE FIGURES on her stricties, and Michael Blackmore went all the way through to the 12-minute mark in his scaled category, much to his own surprise (so surprised, he didn’t even take off his quarter-zip!).

Surely the CrossFit Community wasn’t pissed off with 23.3 as well…

As explained above, The Open is fie first stage in qualifying for The CrossFit Games. Which is a competition for elite CrossFit athletes. So it stands to reason that the third of three tests would be the hardest. But along side the cries of “it’s not fair” when asked to go upside down, snatch, or navigate a skipping rope, there was a big kick off amongst the OG CrossFitters when they saw the new Handstand Push Up standard.

What to do once The Open is over

In the weekend following The Open, the Open Gym slots at CrossFit DireWolf were taken over by a handful of our members whose scores were in the top 10% worldwide. This meant they were invited to the virtual Quarterfinals – the second stage of the CrossFit Games season – having to complete one or two advanced workouts every day for three days for a chance to push their position worldwide and fight for a spot in the Semis.

As if those three weeks of testing weren’t enough!

But for the rest of us, we returned to something resembling more “normal” training.

Rather than fighting the post-Open-magic blues, it’s actually time for the most powerful part…

Unlock the power of The Open

Love them or hate them, those three-ish workouts were the reason we gave our absolute all during class! Whether that was to see how we faired against the rest of the CrossFit community inside our own box/our region/the world, or to judge how we’ve grown in our own ability over the last year, now’s the time to reflect.

1. Celebrate the wins
Remember: those workouts were hard going! And it isn’t always about top scores or big lifts. Maybe you surprised yourself with your toes to bar, first pull up, or strict handstand push ups? Let’s make a big deal!

2. Understand disappoint’s ok too
On the other hand, it’s totallyTOTALLY fine if you feel discouraged. Wishing it had gone better after pushing yourself to your limit is a very natural response. But…

3. Ask yourself “what else is possible?”
Wherever you ended up on the leaderboard, now’s the time to use that score to think bigger, believe in yourself, and give yourself permission to dream. And then act on it. Put in the work. Start doing the small things every day to make that dream happen.

Then, next year, when 24.1 gets released, you’re all set to reap the rewards.