Last night, we watched with bated breath as Dave Castro announced the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit Open.
We’ve been hurling around predictions for weeks, tweaking our weaker skill sets and praying hard for movements in our wheelhouse.
There were several things that were different about last night’s announcement. First of all, Dave Castro wasn’t even onsite for the live announcement at NorCal CrossFit in California. Instead, Castro announced his devilish triplet from CrossFit Jotun in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Second of all, it wasn’t just Chyna Cho and Emily Abbott competing on the live announcement floor, as was announced prior to the event. Joining the two Games athletes were two local athletes — Scott McCoy and Joanna Prado-Pacheco. For the first time ever, we watched normal people just like us compete alongside the best of the best in the Open workout, further underscoring the accessibility and scalability of the sport.
16.1 is sure to be grueling. It’s the first since 2011 to last 20 minutes, a burn athletes will be feeling for days to come after completing it. The Open is usually known for quicker WOD times, so it’ll be interesting to see how athletes withstand this test of endurance.
25 feet of Overhead Lunges (95/65 pounds)
8 bar-facing burpees
25 feet of Overhead Lunges (95/65 pounds)
8 chest-to-bar pull ups
Going into the live announcement, analysts discussed the interesting dichotomy between the two athletes, referring to Abbott as the muscle to Cho’s motor. However, despite those characterizations, Abbot pulled out a surprising finish, defeating Cho by an impressive 11 reps with a total score of 290.
How You Can Conquer 16.1
There’s no way around it — this workout is going to be a grueling one. However, we have a few things to remember as you complete 16.1 to optimize your reps.
1. Pace is Everything
This WOD is not like your typical Open WOD — it’s a marathon, not a sprint. In order to work effectively for 20 minutes, limit your explosiveness out of the gate and focus more on maintaining a steady pace throughout the WOD.
For those of you who’s boxes host “Friday Night Lights”-type events where you complete the workout together, resist the urge to show out in front of a crowd. Don’t let your adrenaline cloud your judgement. Even though Cho was known as the “motor” going into this workout, Abbott was able to defeat her by maintaining a constant and unrelenting pace.
2. Make Sure Your Reps Are Good Reps
One thing that really hurt Cho in her performance against Abbott was a no-rep on her lunges about halfway through the workout. The time it took her to retreat back five feet, reset, and redo the lunges were enough for Abbott to grab a good lead — a lead she would maintain throughout the rest of the WOD.
It’s going to hurt. Your quads are going to feel like jello. But make sure each rep is a good rep. Touch your knee fully to the ground or die trying.
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but seriously, don’t waste your energy not getting low enough. Save it for crying towards the end instead.
3. Set a Rep Scheme and Stick With It
When it comes to your chest-to-bar pull ups, pick a rep scheme and stick with it. If you decide to break them up four and four or even two and two, stick with that.
The key here is consistency and to keep moving. So even if you can grind out eight chest-to-bars without breaking them up in the first and second round, resist the urge and stick to your rep scheme. Conserve your energy so that you’ll still be able to stick to that rep scheme even eighteen minutes in when your hands are torn and your shoulders feel like they’re going to fall off.
With that being said, when you start fatiguing, don’t be scared to lessen your rep scheme. We’re trying to conserve your energy in the beginning, not kill you in the end. Step down from four and four to two and two. Step down to singles if you need to. Just keep going.
4. Don’t Overextend on Your Lunges
It’s so tempting to lunge as far as you can for each rep to reduce the total number of lunges you’re doing with this massive weight over your head. However, resist the urge to extend beyond the point of stability. Stretch, but not so far that you’re going to lose your balance and drop the bar on your head.
Spend some time warming up before the WOD to figure out where your sweet spot is. How far can you lunge while still keeping that core tight and your feet steady? Remember to consider your fatigue levels as well when deciding how much ground you want to cover with each lunge.
5. Don’t Drop the Bar
Whatever you do, don’t drop that bar once you’ve got it overhead. By dropping the bar, you are adding in extra work — whether it’s a clean and press or a snatch — to what is already an almost overwhelming workload. Also, remember that bringing the bar down to your shoulders is not considered an optimal rest spot for your tired arms. It’s better to dig deep and push through and drop the bar at the end of the 25 feet.