Just like last year, for the next 5 weeks, my blog posts will be about the Open workouts. Every year, the Open brings out the best of us. At the same time, it humbles us and shows us what we need to work on. Despite the changes of the CrossFit season, the Open remains the most challenging, yet fun time for the CrossFit community. This week, 19.1, was a simple workout. But it taught us a lot:


19.1 was:

As Many Rounds/Reps as Possible in 15 Minutes of:

19 Wall Ball Shots

19 Calories on the Rower


At first glance, this looks like a long, boring workout. But, like everything with CrossFit, it has a specific stimulus it wants to hit. Contrary to what many people believe, every CrossFit workout is designed to tackle one or multiple areas of your fitness. It may be strength, endurance, stamina, power, technique or all of the above.

So, the most important thing you can do after a workout is analyze it and figure out exactly why it was hard for you. Many people might do this workout and struggle through the Wall Balls. Then, wrongfully attribute the struggle as “I suck at Wall Balls”, when in reality, it might be their coordination, or stamina.

Both movements in 19.1 are pretty simple, so technique is not something that would make a ton of difference. With that said, technique on both of these movements can minimize their damage to your performance. But the most important areas this workout targets, in my opinion, are your endurance and your stamina.

The difference between these, sometimes used interchangeably, attributes is that endurance refers to your body’s ability to use, store and process oxygen, and stamina refers to your body’s ability to use, store and process energy. Together they form a big part of your cardiovascular system. Your ability to breathe and keep your muscles moving.

“Isn’t that like every other workout?”. Yes, but more so on this one because both of these movements should be aerobically done. What I mean by that is that you should be able to breathe and and move SIMULTANEOUSLY. For most people that is not the case. They turn the row into one hard pull, holding their breath as they pull and/or the Wall Ball into one hard toss, try to breathe when the ball is in the air and as they catch it, they hold their breath until they toss it again. These actions turn aerobic movements into anaerobic. If you have a hard time breathing in these movements, one of the following actions is needed:

  • Increase muscle strength

So every rep isn’t a max effort rep. If it takes all your strength to toss up the 20lb ball, you need to increase your strength.

  • Increase muscle endurance

It might not take a lot of strength to pull hard on the row, but if your MUSCLES fatigue in a few reps you need to increase your muscle endurance.

  • Improve your cardio

It might not make your muscles burn, but if your LUNGS run out of air as you move up and down you need to improve your cardio.

  • Dial in your technique

You might get fatigue on your muscles or breathing due to working harder on these movements, when you could be spending less energy to do the same amount of reps.

Week 1 has come and gone. It was a tough workout but it was also just the beginning. The Open has already taught us some valuable lessons and it has much more in store! If you struggle with the attributes mentioned above, come chat with your Celebration CrossFit coaches and figure out a plan to tackle your weaknesses!

by Coach Matt