The 2016 CrossFit Open begins on 25 February, with the announcement of 16.1 and a head-to-head featuring two of the sport’s top athletes. As always, the workout and the athletes involved will be kept a secret by Games Director Dave Castro until go time
Xendurance have teamed up with functional fitness outfitters KITBOX, to give you a complete run-down of the upcoming competition, and advice on how to prepare for the Open.
If you’re still to sign up, visit the Games website to get started.
What is the CrossFit Open and how does it work?
The Open is stage one in the qualifying competitions for the CrossFit Games. It’s the only time the average, casual CrossFitter competes directly with the best in the best in the world. For the five weeks the Open runs, you and 2014 Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet will take on the same workouts at the same time, and appear on the same leaderboard.
Hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to compete in the Open since 2011, and when the time comes, it goes a little something like this:
- Five weeks, five workouts, to decide who moves on to Regionals and eventually the Games
- Games Director Dave Castro releases one workout a week on a Thursday, with a live demonstration featuring two top athletes
- You have until the following Monday to submit your score
- There is a scaled division for those who can’t complete the movements as prescribed
Everyone, including former champions, must sign up for and complete all of the workouts for their scores to count.
Why bother if you’re not elite?
The Open is the best way of seeing where you stand in relation to the rest of the world, and your own community. It will highlight your strengths and any areas in which you need to improve. Do it for fun, to take on your buddies, or go all-out and try and make it to stage two.
CrossFit is built on community spirit, and coming together with your box to give it everything you have is an awesome experience.
2015: Froning vs Fraser
The names at the top of the leaderboard don’t change much from year to year. Scott Panchik, Ben Smith, Kara Webb, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, are all top 10 regulars, but for four years straight - from 2011-2014 - Rich Froning has reigned supreme in both the Open and the Games.
He was beaten in 2015 by eventual 2nd place Games finisher Mat Fraser. The women’s league continued to be dominated by the Icelandic.
In terms of the workouts, 2015 was praised as a test of pure CrossFit, with a few surprises thrown in. It opened with a met-con workout, followed by a strength piece - which is contrary to how most people train. It ended with a devastating couplet of thrusters and rowing, that put the best in the world on their backs.
2016: What to expect
It’s difficult to know what to expect. Nobody saw the peg board coming in 2015, and it changed the results dramatically. If you want us to hazard a guess, then look out for:
- A long chipper (lots of movements, lots of reps, for time)
- Heavy couplets or triplets
- As many bodyweight movements as possible in a timeframe (e.g. burpees)
The only thing we can be fairly confident about, is that the Open will involve movements you’ve done before. There can’t be anything too fancy, since not everyone has access to say, a swimming pool or the aforementioned peg board.
Expect heavy, and expect your lungs to be tested.
What kit to buy
Having the right equipment can make a world of difference to your performance. When you’re thinking about what kit to buy for the Open, consider the following:
Xendurance protein to help you recover between workouts
Rehband knee sleeves to keep your joints warm and safe
JAW Wraps to protect your hands from tears
SGF Speedrope to make the most of your double-unders
Good luck, and give it everything you’ve got.
Having been involved in functional fitness in the UK from the beginning, in one way or another, KITBOX always try to give something back when we can. We have many friends within the community and help out a growing number of athletes. Whether it be supporting individual athletes, sponsoring throwdowns, helping to organise grass roots competitions or just training with our friends at our local box, we are always listening and learning and trying to help out where we can.