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The CrossFit Open: How To Prepare

Made 2 Move Physical Therapy loves the Open! It’s that time of year again! CrossFit gyms across the world are preparing for this year’s CrossFit Open! In our Charleston community, gyms like Sacred Pine and Iron Bridge are excited and ready to give it their all to see how their members have improved over the past year! The CrossFit Open can be scary and intimidating for a lot of gym members. The team at Made 2 Move wanted to provide some helpful insight towards how we approach the Open!

Gearing Up For The Workout –

With the first Open workout being released on Thursday, February 24th, it is important to recognize that you will have a very hard time trying to improve high skill movements (toes to bar, pistols, muscle ups, etc) between now and then. This week, we suggest not going all-out in your workouts leading up to the Open workout. Crushing yourself now trying to improve your ability right before the Open announcement might actually prove to be detrimental to your score/result.

How Our Team Will Prepare –

We recommend deloading/gearing up to perform your absolute best on the day you choose to do the Open workout. Most individuals will end up doing the workout on Friday so our Made 2 Move doctors will likely have a light workout on Monday and Tuesday to “brush up” on skills that will likely be in the Open. These skills will be: Double Unders, Toes to Bar, Thrusters, HSPU.

Next, our doctors of physical therapy will take an off day either Wednesday or Thursday depending on their schedule. The other day will be a light, low-stress day that involves some Zone 2 cardio (60-70% heart rate). This will keep the body moving but will not be physically demanding enough to hurt our recovery leading up to Friday.

Sleep –

One of our core principles of recovery and overall function is sleep. Sleep is how our body restores and rejuvenates in order to attack the day. We should try and build up our “sleep bank” so that we can give ourselves the best chance at performing at a high capacity on gameday. We suggest trying to get in bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally do on the 3 nights leading up to the workout.

We also suggest reducing screen time, alcohol, and caffeine in the hours leading up to your new bedtime. This will allow you to get the most restful sleep possible so that we can take advantage of that extra 30 minutes. This study talked about how reducing screen time improves the body’s ability to secrete and use melatonin, which is responsible for our sleep rhythm.

Anxiety/Nervousness –

Everyone gets nervous leading up to the workout. It is very normal and you shouldn’t feel alone when those butterflies start stirring in your gut. Different people approach feeling nervous in different ways. For some people, it will fuel them to perform at an even higher level. For others, the nervousness might inhibit them from feeling like themselves and cause them to underperform.

In our opinion, the best way to combat nervousness/anxiety before a workout is to do 2 things. The first is to understand/meditate on the fact that your self-worth and success is not determined by 3 workouts. You are much more than your score in the Open. It is easy to get caught up in the comparison and competition that the CrossFit Open brings. However, most of us have jobs and lives and families and stressors outside of the CrossFit world. You are more than your workouts. Always keep that in mind.

The second tip is to repeat a mantra or coaching cue right before the timer starts. This will focus your mind on one practical thing you need to think about during the workout. Anxiety can increase when our mind races to all of the things that the workout will incorporate. Focusing on one single cue or statement throughout the workout will often simplify your goal. One mantra that I tend to tell myself during an Open workout is one simple word: “Breathe”.

The word “Breathe” keeps me focused on slowing down and keeping my heart rate under control. The Open workouts typically reward athletes who pace the beginning and do NOT go out of the gates too fast. Pacing correctly is probably the best way to give yourself a chance to perform your best. Your goal should be to increase your speed at the end of the workout, not the beginning.

Remember Your Why –

Lastly, remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Set a goal for the Open and stick to it. For a lot of us, it is about celebrating our successes and enjoying our gym community. In the heat of the moment, it is easy to forget why we are playing the game of CrossFit in the first place. Try and take stock of your achievements. Celebrate the achievements of others. And just have fun with your friends and gym family. The Open is one of the coolest events in sports. Celebrate!

I hope this article helps you and brings some perspective to the CrossFit Open. Our Doctors of Physical Therapy will be doing the workouts these next couple of weeks at Iron Bridge CrossFit, Sacred Pine CrossFit, Rhapsody Fitness, and Ethos Athletic Club. If you are interested in learning more about what we do at Made 2 Move or if you are injured and want to experience a physical therapy evaluation with us, please reach out to!


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