To preface- The Open is a worldwide competition where ANYONE can sign up and see how they compare. It costs $20 and you have to sign up online via games.crossfit.com and this is also where you log your scores every week. The Open is a 5-week competition where every Thursday, a workout is announced online and then every athlete has until Monday at 5pm to submit their scores online. You can perform this workout in your garage, your crossfit gym, or if you are traveling- you can drop in somewhere and do it there also. So, with that, let me tell you my CrossFit Games Open journey—-
I can’t explain to you what the open means to me until I start from the beginning. In January of 2013 I joined CrossFit and on March 6, 2013 the first workout of the Open was announced. The workouts are coined names such as 13.1 which means the 1st workout of 2013. (13.2 is the 2nd workout of 2013, 14.3 is the 3rd workout in 2014 etc.) 13.1 was a workout that involved burpees and snatches and at that time I had never snatched over 70lbs and for some reason during the workout I decided to split-snatch. Never do this. It’s ugly and awkward.
I did the workouts that were announced and every week I logged my scores. Every week I shocked myself and pushed myself harder than ever before. That is when I realized I was hooked on CrossFit. For me, it wasn’t about where I placed among others, it gave me a baseline to do better in 2014, and then better in 2015 and this year I hope to do even better. You have to have goals to keep pushing and The CrossFit Games Open is my own personal baseline. Better than before.
Fast forward to 2015. This was the first year they announced an Rx version and a Scaled version. This was also the first year that Muscle Ups were at the start of a workout (for Rx). So, if you didn’t have muscle ups, you had to do the scaled version to get a score. Last year I was determined to do all workouts Rx no matter what my score was. 15.3 was announced which started with Muscle Ups, and I had never in my life got a muscle up before. I practiced.. and practiced.. and practiced.. and no luck. Saturday rolled around and I had to not be so stubborn and I did the scaled workout instead. Right after finishing I decided to play around on the rings while the next group of people performed their workout. First attempt. Fail. Second, third, probably fourth attempt- fail. But then. Holy-f*in-shit I got a muscle up. And then two more after that before the time cap went off. What a rush.
Again, every year I surprise myself. In 2013 I PR’d my snatch, in 2014 I went unbroken on all 5 rounds of double unders and was sponsored every week to compete, in 2015 I got my first muscle up. From February 25-March 28 the CFG Open will be going on at our gym and I cannot wait to see everyone sign up and push themselves and to be better than yesterday.
Mastering the pull up is still something I am doing even after 3 years of CrossFit. There are so many variations, such as, strict, kipping, butterfly, supinated, pronated, etc. This week in my BodyFit class we are going over the Pull Up and all the different variations, plus what to work on if you don’t have your first pull up quiet yet.
I have explained to the people who have came to my mini-clinic that these variations aren’t necessarily easier or harder, they are just different things to practice to build up their strength or if a workout calls for pull ups, these are alternates that you can use during.
These variations are not the only things out there I would try, but this is what I recommend in order to get your first pull up:
- Jumping Pull ups: Get a box so that your arms are bent at about a 90 degree angle while holding on to the pull up bar. Jump to get your chin above the bar a few times, rest and repeat.
- Jump & Hold: When you feel comfortable enough getting your chin above the bar, grab the pull up bar, jump up and hold yourself as long as possible with your chin above the bar. You will start to shake and this is okay. Then slowly decent and repeat.
- Bands: I would recommend using 1-2 bands, but never more. Most coaches would prefer that if you are using a band to have them be strict pull ups. I think this will obviously build the strength you need to get a pull up, but if kipping is something you also want to practice, I would not discourage you from using a band. Just don’t let the band whip you in the face. I personally have been using a band to help me with my kipping bar muscle up, and in my mind- if this is helping, a band to help you with a kipping pull up is fine by me. If you have to use three bands, I would recommend building your strength up first so that you only need <2 bands.
- Pronated: This is simply when your hands are wrapped around the bar, palms facing out, away from your body. This is the most popular type of pull up. While on this subject, I would recommend wrapping your thumb around the bar during your pull ups to prevent slipping off the bar. Just think about hook grip in a snatch or clean, if it gets heavy, you should hook grip. With a pull up, you’re lifting 100+ lbs of body weight into the air… wrap your thumbs.
- Supinated: Or as some people call it, a chin-up. This is the opposite of pronated, when your hands are facing in, towards your body. This is more bicep intensive.
- Kipping: If you have been doing CrossFit for awhile, you have seen what a kipping pull up looks like and it seems easy and fast… right? Well- yes and no. Hands down it is faster, but a kipping pull up is complex and unless you get the movement down of what your legs need to do I would recommend building your strength working on strict pull ups before attempting a kipping pull up. To break down the kipping pull up, watch this video: Gymnastics WOD (I love Carl Paoli who is the face of Gymnastics WOD and his instructional videos are awesome, so check him out to get more in-depth info about all sorts of things).
- Strict: This is when you pull your body weight up, get the chin above the bar and then lower down using all upper-body strength with no kipping (or pumping) of the legs.
- Butterfly: This is what games athletes are doing. Very fast, very efficient, very complex. There are two videos I want you to check out for more info:
Are you lost yet. Do you feel discouraged? Don’t be. Practice, practice, practice. You’ve got this and to help you practice here is a small warm up and workout for you to try on your own:
10 PVC pass through
10 ab-mat sit ups
5 jumping pull ups
12 minute AMRAP
5 Jumping Pull Ups
4 Iron Mikes
3 Push Ups
2 SlamBalls (20lb)
1 Pull Up*
*choose any variation of a pull up you want and it is good to switch it up every round
“Are you doing the open,” is a question I have heard a few times and my response was always, “Uhhhh, I don’t know.” Well, in the past week a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about joining the open and why everyone should do it. After reading it, something clicked, and I signed up for the 2013 CrossFit Games Open. Yes, me- the girl who has only been doing CrossFit for two months, just got her first pull up, and still cannot do some workouts Rx, (Rx = prescribed) signed up for the Open and now can answer that question as, “Yes, I am doing the open,” … “And have no idea what I am getting myself into.”
The Open is a five week program that on every Wednesday, from March 6 to April 3, and Open workout is posted and everyone has until that Sunday to complete the workout. Last years workouts for the open were… for a lack of better words… insane. 12.1 was to complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of Burpees. 12.4 was to complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of 150 wall balls, 90 double unders, and 30 muscle ups (anyone have a bucket to throw up in?!). I wont go through all of them, but I can only imagine what they have in stores for this years Open.
If any of you are interested in checking out my progress, or Dan’s here are our Crossfit Games Competition pages. Wish us luck- these next few weeks are going to be brutal.
My CrossFit Game Page: http://games.crossfit.com/athlete/164551
Dan’s CrossFit Game Page: http://games.crossfit.com/athlete/110147
The blog I read that inspired me to join the open: http://nikimathias.com/body/7-reasons-why-you-should-do-the-crossfit-games-open-yes-you/