Made it through all five weeks of the Open? Congratulations! Not sure where to go from here? You’re not alone.
For the majority of CrossFit athletes, the Open is the end of the competition road and it’s usually met with relief. It’s also as good a time as any for a reality check as to where you are as an athlete and what you should be doing from here.
If you’re injured…
This is common at the end of the Open. You’re pushing yourself to the limits (hopefully in a smart way) and your body is pretty banged up. First, find ways to work around it. This is a good starting point.
Second, take a step back and try to figure out why this happened. Overtraining? Skipped recovery? Did one of the workouts three times in four days? Knowing what caused the injury can help prevent it and often times forces us to look at the big picture.
Are you trying to compete for a Regionals spot? Was repeating the workout three times in five days really the best way to reach your long-term goals?
No workout is worth injuring yourself over, especially if you aren’t an elite CrossFit Games-caliber athlete. Make sure you have the right mindset about the Open so you can avoid this scenario next year.
If you need to get stronger…
You don’t have to hop back into daily WODs. If strength is a priority for you, this is the time to work on it. (It’s also the perfect time to overhaul your technique.) Find a program that is going to include plenty of hypertrophy work (bonus points for single leg stuff), make sure you’re eating enough and focus on getting strong.
You can still do some metcons, either concurrently with a squat program or mixed in at the end of your strength training, but you need to prioritize strength if that’s the goal. If you aren’t sure where to start, these guys are a great resource to help you identify your weaknesses and work through injuries while training.
Don’t have time for both lifting and conditioning? Lifting has better bang for your buck in terms of calories burned anyhow.
If gymnastics is (still) a glaring weakness…
Want those bar muscle-ups to better? Sorry, but you don’t just get better at kipping pull-ups by doing more kipping pull-ups. The same goes for muscle-ups, handstand pushups, dips and any other movement you can add a kip to.
Sure, some technique nuances factor in. But you see real gymnastics improvements by developing a strong foundation that makes the strict movement easier. This is a huge mistake a lot of people make. You shouldn’t be practicing handstand walking if your shoulders aren’t stable enough to do a couple sets of one-minute holds!
It’s also imperative to get your nutrition in check. Throw a weight vest on or add 10 lb. to a movement. Notice how much HARDER just a few pounds makes something? If you’re carrying around that kind of extra weight, you’re making it much harder on yourself. We’re not advocating everyone try to get down to 100 lb., but cleaning up your diet and getting rid of just a few pounds of fat can make a huge difference in bodyweight stuff.
If you miss the Open atmosphere…
There’s no way to recreate how awesome a community can rally around and push each other for the past five weeks. But you can come close by signing up for local competitions, re-doing Open workouts in the coming months and holding yourself to a higher standard.
A higher standard? Yes. You probably went to a really dark place at least once or twice during the Open and thought I’ve never pushed that hard. Or, I didn’t think I could even come close to doing what I just did.
You were also (hopefully) held to a strict standard of what constitutes a squat snatch or handstand pushup.
So, stop cheating reps and cheating standards in your daily WODs. Force yourself to do things the right way, no matter what “place” you get on the daily whiteboard.
If you move with a purpose, push yourself appropriately and are committed to doing things the right way, you’ll eventually blow past the people who are obsessed with doing half-squats just to win that day.
Your hard work will show up when it matters most: in next year’s Open.