Tips For Your First Open

January 2, 2024

Noah Abbott of CrossFit btwb

Tips and advice for athletes taking on their first Open, from Noah Abbott of CrossFit btwb

If you’ve been doing CrossFit for less than a year, now is the time when you’ve probably heard some rumblings around the gym: “Think there’s gonna be dumbbells again?” “Which workout is going to repeat?” “What surprise is going to hit us this time?”

Just when you’ve gotten the difference between AMRAPs and EMOMs straight in your head, the fitness gods throw another monkey wrench into your plans: the CrossFit Games Open. Now is a good time to register (seriously, register) and start wrapping your mind around the event/party/sacrifice that is the largest fitness competition on Earth and an exciting showcase of the CrossFit community.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

OK, that sounds kind of gross. But seriously, even if you are brand new to CrossFit, you should register and participate in the Open. First, it’s the biggest community-wide event in CrossFit, a month-long ebb and flow of anticipation, anxiousness, fun fitness tests, and a great learning experience, all wrapped up in one. Nowadays there are Scaled, Rx’d, and even Foundations divisions, so 99 percent of people will get three good, appropriate workouts over the course of the three weeks. Combined with being able to track your score and progress year to year (at CrossFit btwb, we’re big into that, obviously) it’s well worth the $20. 

Get Ready To Get Uncomfortable, In A Good Way

During the course of the year at most CrossFit gyms, one of the main services coaches provide their members is advice and assistance regarding scaling. Most CrossFit athletes will scale at least one part of every WOD, and that’s a good thing! During training, it’s important that we don’t lose the intention of the workout. Fran is fast, Murph is slow—if you scale improperly and do a 30-minute Fran or 15-minute Murph, you’ve missed a major part of the purpose. The Open is a little different in that the standards are absolute. If it’s written as a 95-pound power snatch, you will only score points for snatching 95 pounds and receiving in the power position. End of story. While this may seem daunting, it often leads to surprising triumphs.

Tips For Your First Open, where the Magic Happens

It’s human to set limits upon ourselves and create narratives about what we can and can’t do. The Open does a remarkable job of stretching those limits and shattering those narratives. Many PR snatches and cleans, first muscle-ups and handstand push-ups have occurred during the Open. The atmosphere and demanding standards have a way of pushing people further than they thought possible.

Take Notes and Have Fun

Just because the Open can lead to PRs and new skills doesn’t mean it always will. The Open will probably make you confront a skill, lift, or movement that you have neglected or aren’t naturally talented at, and that’s OK. Use it as a lesson to grow from—you’ve got a year to figure it out and crush it next time. Remember, the Open is about fun and community (for the 99.9 percent of us who don’t have -dottir at the end of our name) so don’t let a bad workout or missed lift ruin your experience. Remember that this stuff is fun because it’s hard. Relish the challenge and the pursuit of growth and excellence over the next calendar year.

Take Notes, Have Fun

We’ll Look Back On This and Laugh

One of the most rewarding things about doing CrossFit for some time is watching your worldwide progress (or keeping track of your regional progress, or how you did in your state, or if you beat that girl you hated in high school—it’s up to you). It’s almost impossible to keep doing this stuff and not get better. So, over the years you can watch as you go from the top 50,000 to the top 5,000 to the top 500. It’s evidence that this CrossFit stuff works and is what sets our lifestyle apart from most fitness offerings. Watch your steady climb up the leaderboard, pat yourself on the back, and then get back to work—the 2025 Open is just around the bend.

Originally published on the CrossFit btwb blog in 2019. Updated for 2024. 

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