It’s about time I sat down and forced myself to write something. I’ve constantly been doing stuff, focusing on reading and learning since the last time I blogged in October, and longer still since I worked on the series of sketches that first appeared here in September. The problem was that I haven’t really dived deep enough into any particular topic to come up with interesting ideas or had many engaging conversations with friends that typically inspire new ideas in me. I’ve been getting by with sharing whatever I do come up with on Twitter and App.net.
What had my attention in the last month was the 2013 CrossFit Open (which is a part of the CrossFit Games). This was my second year participating and besides seeing how much stronger I’ve gotten in a year, there were a couple things I took away.
Last year when I did the open I was pretty weak and there were a lot of movements I simply couldn’t do. It explains why I was 35 positions from the bottom in my region. Twelve more months of training, dozens of hours on the CrossFit Journal, and many extra weekend sessions working on technique put me into a better position to compete. My 2013 Open ranking for Canada East of 1742/2001 was a respectable improvement, but it also shined a light on what weaknesses I still have to work on.
Each workout pointed out what I have to work on in the next year:
- 13.1 showed me I’m strong enough to perform snatches at 135lbs or heavier, but I need to maintain regular practice and focus on that movement.
- 13.2 showed me I need to work on my technique and to maximize efficiency of doing 24” box jumps, especially at high rep counts of 50+ and when combined with medium weight barbell movements.
- 13.3 showed me that my wall balls had gotten better with an improvement of 67% since last year, but that I still couldn’t even finish the first part of the workout and only performed 140 of 150 wall balls in 12 minutes. More high rep wall ball work and including them in more high intensity workouts is in the books for next year.
- 13.4 showed me that I could do 135lbs clean and jerks really efficiently after some practice, but that I need to get stronger in order to handle that workload for longer durations
- 13.5 reminded me that I can’t neglect pull-ups for too long or else they get really bad.
The Open Routine
The group of people who participated in the Open from our gym increased from only two people last year to seven. That made everything about it a lot more fun, and relevant to our day to day experience at the gym. People were more interested in following the Open, in tracking the workout announcements, and in learning how to maximizing their movement efficiency.
Watching the MobilityWOD Open workout prep videos was some the most useful material I’ve seen all year. Instead of getting general tips on movements as usual, I got to watch and relay onto my team specific tips that took into account the set of movements in the workout, the rep scheme, and the length of the workout. They also included valuable information on warm-up and mobilizing that I can use again in the future.
It also helped that everyone participating was really open to getting feedback and tips on how to do the open workouts more efficiently. Just like my experience through the five Open workouts revealed my weaknesses, everyone else going through the Open had their own experience of discovering their own strengths and weaknesses, but in a way that made them more committed to overcoming them than I would have seen in normal day to day training.
Being able to judge more than just one other person this year was also rewarding because just like everything else in CrossFit, my confidence wasn’t really there at the beginning and I only became comfortable judging after practice.
Preparing for Next Year
Coming off the open it feels like everyone is committed to tackling their weak points, and training hard in preparation for next year.
I know when January comes around there are a few things I’ll want to focus on in my day to day training in order to achieve better results:
- More olympic lifting practice
- More rest days
- More high intensity workouts (heavy weight met-cons)
- More training of the “Open Movements” (the standard set of movements that typically find their way into the Open WODs)