For competitive Crossfitters, Crossfit Games is the pinnacle of the sport. Athletes will sometimes spend all year focusing their training for a chance to make the Games and a spot on the podium. But first, athletes have to make it through five weeks of the CrossFit Games Open.
For trainers of Open competitors, this can sometimes necessitate a change in programming, and sometimes even rest and training cycles, during the Open season to keep athletes healthy and at the top of their game.
Jeff Tincher, veteran Games competitor and head programmer for CrossFit Reston and Fairfax, doesn’t alter his training leading up to the Open, but he will opt for lighter programming once the Open season has begun. “I’ll try to take it a little bit lighter so I don’t overtax the central nervous system and the posterior chain before the Open workout,” he says.
"For those who are trying to make Regionals we are training a little more seriously for the Open" - Andrew Killion.
With approximately half of his athletes competing in the Open tackling the workout on Fridays and the other half on Sunday, Tincher says each group will usually take the day before as a rest day. “For an overwhelming majority of our competitors” Sunday is a rest day. In order to be fully rested to try the workout on Sunday they’ll take Saturday as a rest day instead.
Over at Patriot CrossFit, coach and programmer Aaron Moburg-Jones takes a similar approach to programming during the Open. “Volume goes down during the Open season,” Moburg-Jones says. “With the pool as big as it is this year, we can’t take getting to Regionals for granted, so there I am willing to sacrifice continued improvement during the Open season to make sure they are rested, uninjured, and ready to put their best foot forward on Thursday or Sunday.”
Patriot differs from Reston and Fairfax in how they approach programming leading into the Open season. Where Tincher prefers not to alter his programming when approaching Open season, Moburg-Jones shifts the focus of his programming in the weeks leading up to the Games.
Keeping in mind “HQ's desire to be as inclusive as possible and looking at last year's WODs” the Patriot programmer predicted the Open workouts would lean a little lighter, with an emphasis on met-cons. “We focus on that as we get closer to the Open workouts,” Moburg-Jones, says. “There are also a number of movements that appear a disproportionate number of times in CrossFit competitions, especially when you consider the equipment restrictions HQ works under for the Open. Let's just say we did a lot of burpees, snatches, and box jumps in the six weeks leading up to the Open.”
Across the Potomac River, Andrew Killion, one of the coaches and programmers at District CrossFit, along with Noah Gabriel-Landis, and veteran Regional competitor Jenn Jones, takes a slightly different approach to programming during the Open season. “If your sights are set on making the CrossFit Games, you can't be worried about the Open,” Killion says. “So for those who have a legitimate chance at making the Games, we train right through it and just kinda add in the workouts to their regular programming. For those who are trying to make Regionals we are training a little more seriously for the Open.”
No matter the approach to programming leading into, and during, the Open season all three coaches and programmers have set their sights on helping as many of their athletes as possible reach both the Mid Atlantic Regional and the CrossFit Games.