CrossFit Games Open – 16.1

As most people involved in the CrossFit brand of fitness know, the Open is upon us. The first of five workouts was announced last Thursday to a chorus of groans, sighs, and expletives aimed at Dave Castro. Yet another workout that not only would test the abilities of all participants with a new movement, but push most of us to our limits with its length. The first workout of the CrossFit Games Open was:

  • In 20 minutes, do as many reps as possible of:
  • 25ft overhead lunge at 95/65
  • 8 bar facing burpees
  • 25ft overhead walking lunge at 95/65
  • 8 chest to bar pull-ups

Initially, I admit, I wasn’t too worried about it. For once, I knew I could do the movements as prescribed. The problem was that I’ve been nursing an injury to my abdomen for the past couple weeks & the stress from the lunge as well as the chest to bar wasn’t going to help. That excuse aside, I practiced the movements a bit that evening after the announcement just to get a feel for it. Friday evening would be the day I give it a shot.

I should also mention that my mantra for this Open was “1 and done”. No repeats, just leave it out there on the floor, friends’ scores be damned.

Another honorable mention is the support from the community to garage athletes. Since not all of us have the space or equipment needed for every workout, the Open would be less accessible without the hospitality of local boxes, willing to open their doors. We are fortunate enough to be friends with the owners of CrossFit Danville (where my wife is a member as well) who always, graciously, allow us to drop-in for these workouts. Big shout out to them and if you’re ever in the area, make them a drop-in stop.

Back to the story. Friday rolled around & as I strategized the workout, I remembered a few things. First, all strategies tend to go out the window when you can’t feed enough oxygen to the brain. Second, I have a hard time counting, so make every rep count. Lastly, push, but remember there’s 5 weeks of this torture, so if you tear something or further injure yourself, you’re done. Not like I was making it to Regionals, but you want to do your best no matter what. So walking into the gym on Friday evening I knew my warmup, I knew my pace and my goal. Now it was time to put it into practice and see what happens.


Boy, that escalated quickly.

After peeling myself off the floor, I was able to reflect. First, as expected, my abdomen strain didn’t allow me to do the chest to bars optimally nor the lunge push-off on the left side. This contributed to having to stop at least once each 12-15 feet in the lunge & 2-3 pull-ups at a time. Annoying since this one was sort of in my wheelhouse. The 95lbs overhead didn’t feel as bad as I anticipated and my shoulders held up well (thanks in part to a nice suggestion online to keep the blades down & back as opposed to up). With a final score of 144 reps in 20 minutes, I wasn’t happy, but it was more than I thought & no additional injury.

Reflecting on it further, especially as my wife & two other friends were doing it on Saturday afternoon, led me to a couple strategies that might help:

  • Pace yourself to only rest in between movements. Try not to stop (at least not very long) during, say, the 8 burpees, but finish those reps & rest before picking up the bar for the next lunge.
  • If you can keep the bar up the whole 25ft, do it. Single biggest waste of time is dropping it, move it back, and get it overhead again.
  • If you know you can’t butterfly or kip all the chest to bar don’t try it. Hanging there to prep for the next one also stresses your shoulders. Drop off & try to get right back up there. Even if it’s singles.
  • Lastly, don’t have anyone calling out the time, unless you want specific intervals (half way, 2 minutes, etc). It just gets frustrating when you feel like you’ve gone 17 minutes and it’s really only been 5.

In the end, it was another good test from Mr. Castro. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 16.2

How did you do with 16.1? Leave a comment if you like…