Lessons from CrossFit Open 18.3

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Lessons from CrossFit Open 18.3

By far, 18.3 was the toughest Open workout in 2018. For many, it was a workout that had to be scaled more than they had hoped. That didn’t come as a surprise though, as the two previous workouts had mostly low-skill movements. 18.3 was all about skill. The workout consisted of two rounds of 100 double-unders, 20 overhead squats, 100 double-unders, 10 ring musle-ups, 100 double-unders, 20 dumbbell snatches, 100 double-unders and 12 bar muscle-ups. It had a cap of 14 minutes. Needless to say, many people didn’t finish the workout. But, maybe, that was the intent: to show that we can’t do this… not yet.

As it happens in life, the more challenging the task is, the biggest are our takeaways from it.

The balance between practicing and training.


In CrossFit we train a lot. We train hard. That’s the sexy stuff, the videos we like to post on social media. Heavy squats, PR’s in Olympic lifts, a tough workout. All are necessary in our journey to fitness, but sometimes that can take too much time of our training. Not many people like practicing double-unders. It hurts when the rope hits you, you get marks, it’s frustrating. Nobody likes doing squat therapy. It’s boring and it’s hard to stay close to the wall as we squat. Nobody likes working on kips, or pull-up technique. It rips our hands and it gets our shoulders sore.

But that is exactly what we need. Practice. You don’t need big muscles, or a good engine, to practice double-unders. All you need is a rope, patience and many repetitions. You don’t need to be in the gym to work on your overhead squat. You just need a wall, maybe a broom. People think of CrossFit as a workout regimen and therefore, they need to be sweating and huffing and puffing to become a fitter. But CrossFit is a sport, and we are athletes. We need to practice the movements, so we can train them. 18.3 was tough because it showed us what we need to practice.

Working on your weaknesses.


It turns out CrossFit is really good at this. It shows what your strengths are, but it also exposes your weaknesses. We all have that one movement, or maybe two or three movements, that we are praying doesn’t show up in the Open, or in any workout, ever. Chances are, it will pop up in a workout, and you will have to face it. So, instead of praying about it, why not work on it so it becomes a strength and not a weakness? The goal of CrossFit is to make well-rounded athletes, non-specific. That means not only have a sub 8 min. mile, but also to be able to squat 300lbs and do 5 unbroken muscle-ups. We are neglecting our training if we avoid a specific movement, or domain.

The Open happens once a year, and every year it exposes the weakness in thousands of athletes. If 18.3 showed you what you need to work on, you have a full year to improve in that area. There should be no reason why your weakness this year, is the same weakness as next year. Ask a coach for help, come to open gym, hold yourself accountable. The 2019 Open season starts in two weeks!

Bring out your gymnast side.


As a group, we are pretty good at moving external objects. We’ve been doing it our whole lives. But it can be even more challenging to move our own bodies in certain ways. If you think about that for a second, it doesn’t make sense. That might explain the misconception that gymnastics is a sport for the few (and why people think you have to meet certain requirements to be good at it), while everybody can lift weights. But the truth is, we need to be able to control our bodies in space first, before we can really work on moving external objects. Afterall, we only got this body, and we will have it until we die. So we better learn how to use it!

18.3 involved many movements that required body awareness, and that might be why it was tough on most people. Improve your gymnastics and you will see every other fitness measure go up as well. Plus, you can learn to do some really cool stuff!

In the words of Dave Castro: “If you guys thought the first 3 tests were good. Wait until #18point4. That’s going to be something special.” Any guesses on what we will see this week?

by Coach Matt