The first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Open is announced tonight – if you decide to stay up until 1am to watch the announcement show you can expect to see Sam Briggs taking on Kristin Holte. If you’re not a night owl check out the CrossFit Games website – all the announcement shows are archived there.
What is the Open?
The open is the start of the CrossFit Games season. The next 5 weeks will see hundreds of thousands of CrossFitters from around the globe testing their fitness, strength and skills under judged conditions at their boxes.
This stage is truly open to and accessible to everyone and is a remarkable opportunity to benchmark your progress each year. Not only can you see how you stack up in your box, the UK, Europe and even the world – but more importantly, you will see each year how much better and more skilled you are getting.
It is great to see so many of you already signed up for the CrossFit Open. Every single member can get involved – there is an Rx workout and a scaled version. Something I have been asked a lot is whether you can you switch between the options from week to week. Yes of course, if 18.1 is burpees and DB snatch and you have the Rx version then go for it! If the next week contains muscle ups or one of the high end skills which you haven’t quite nailed (YET!!!) you can switch to the scaled.
How is it going to work at CrossFit Blackwater?
Friday is our open throw down day at Blackwater. The next five Fridays will run slightly differently to the normal class format.
The evening classes will work as rolling heats – so when you arrive get your name on the heats list and you will be assigned a judge. Expect to be given some directed warm up and mobility work and some pearls of strategy wisdom from our own in house veteran Games athlete!
Be prepared to be encouraged and pushed on by your Blackwater family. Be prepared to see some movements that will scare and challenge you. Be prepared to surprise yourself with what you can do!
We have had some great mornings and evenings during past opens. This is one of the biggest events in our CrossFit calendar and it highlights the best things about our Blackwater family. Support, encouragement and the desire to see everyone being the best version of themselves.
Recovery EMOM12 Calorie row
Toes to bar
Your final finishing place in the CrossFit Open is never determined by the workout you find the easiest or even your favourite movement. Usually is comes down to your weakest movement bumping you right down the leaderboard.
Identify your weaknesses
Having great conditioning and being able to throw a bar around with ease do help a lot. But the most common factor letting people down in the CrossFit open are their gymnastic skills. From toes to bar, chest to bar to the harder muscle up moves… these are the biggest separators in the CrossFit open. You could be flying on week one and two and then the handstand push ups appear and your goal of getting top 200 in your category is gone.
Attack your weaknesses
Right now is the perfect timing to get onto the gymnastic skills – start hitting emom’s, practice your kips, hit some strict strength work to boost your kipping numbers. Only then can you start to put your new skills into conditioning formats and start smashing every workout. If you can finish well on every workout rather than being great on some and really bad on one your final finish will be much better.
I have competed in the CrossFit Games open stage, injured or not since the beginning – including two years before the open was even called the open. I’ve qualified for 3 individual regionals and 2 CrossFit Games. The open is a big event for us at CrossFit Blackwater – we encourage everyone to get involved and join us on our special CrossFit open workout days every Friday during the season. Whatever your goals it is a great way to benchmark your progress from one year to the next, see how you stack up against the competition in CrossFit Blackwater, Witham, England, Europe and even the world!
Get started now!
I’m now beginning to launch some special PT sessions to get people ready for the open in 2018. We can focus on your personal weaknesses and bring them along in time to get your best ever open finish or, if it’s your first open, to start out in style.
In the second part of my catchup with Scott Jenkins ahead of his trip out to Carson we talk about his training regime, diet and tips for getting ahead as a masters athlete. (read part 1)
Scott, you mentioned last time that you now work full time at your affiliate, CrossFit Blackwater in Essex. How does your day look now?
I’ll walk you through my day yesterday…
I had two breakfasts.
Two breakfasts? Is that normal? No. I have my longest training session on a Monday and I also had a class to coach before I trained, so I like to get a lot of food in me early!
The first time I did a 3 hour session I felt spent before the end of it and ended up sandbagging the last met con because I was physically tired and unused to the long sessions. When I was still working in London and doing long hours I only had time for 1 hour sessions so my body was accustomed to 1 hour sessions.
So yesterday I did a 44 minute warmup: preconditioning, stretching, mobilising, empty bar drills.
44 minutes? That’s nearly as long as most people’s training sessions?
Well I can afford the time at the moment – and I do faff around with the music so it’s not all pure warmup.
Afterwards, a 10 minute snatch EMOM. I’m working on consistency with my olympic lifts – yesterday I only dropped one so it was a good day.
Then snatch grip deadlifts, back squats, some metabolic conditioning including running, muscle ups and toes to bar and finishing with an EMOM of muscle ups and toes to bar.
What do you do after training?
I should stretch – sometimes I don’t. I get easily distracted by conversation. I’m always 100% focussed on my training but today I got chatting with somebody outside the box. Business comes before stretching sometimes!
I go home in the afternoon for a bit of downtime and a nap before I return to coach 2-3 hours of classes in the evening.
This time of year is brilliant because Springwatch is on TV – my favourite programme. I get to see how the blue tits are doing. Sadly no sticklebacks this year – Spineless Si was my favourite Springwatch character ever!
I don’t think many people would have you down as a nature lover?
I can name every British bird. Not in order – you’d have to show me a picture. Hopefully there’ll be 5 rounds for time at the Games – 20 pistols OR name these 5 British birds! That would be brilliant… Or a muscle up then recognise the bird call.
Tell me about your diet?
I’ve been told that my diet is pretty good. I do make the mistake sometimes of telling my members at CrossFit Blackwater that I eat pretty much what I want – which is the truth. But mostly what I want is a lot of MEAT!
I do have the occasional french bread sandwich with cheese, tomato and onion. I don’t have it every day but if there is a french loaf in the house I can’t resist.
So you eat pretty clean – what about supplements?
Omega 3 at the moment. I’ve started to take it consistently over the last 3 months and have really noticed a difference. I have trouble with my knees – they get sore very easily but I’m able to squat twice a week now. I still get discomfort but it’s manageable.
BCAA’s. I didn’t believe in them but I was doing these really long training sessions and struggling to recover. Since I’ve been taking them I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my recovery. I’ve been taking them since the Open and I’ve definitely moved forwards.
You mentioned last time that you are following Ben Bergeron’s CompTrain programming. Why are you using somebody else’s programming when you do the programming yourself for CrossFit Blackwater athletes?
I programme the stuff I like too much for myself. Whenever I’m in a bad mood or feel like I need a treat I programme muscle ups or handstand pushups or toes to bar or bar cycling. I love a bit of bar cycling…
I like to wake up and have something to follow that makes me address all areas. I’d been looking at Ben’s programming for quite a while before I got on board and it’s one of the only programming systems that I fully trust. Ben has been around in CrossFit for a long time – he’s done wonders with Katrin Davidsdottir. Since she moved over to him last year she seems to have a new fire. A lot of Ben’s philosophy is about mental mindset. That is an enormous part of CrossFit.
What do you think your mental game is like?
At the moment it’s good. I’m prone to a tantrum but I’m getting better at focussing it into my training now. Injuries and niggles are the things that can really wind me up and put me off my game.
What advice would you give to people training away in their boxes, working hard and comparing themselves to elite athletes?
Train for quality.
Especially as a master – there is only so much wear and tear our bodies can endure. Everything needs to be for a reason.
When you leave the box ask yourself “Did my training today make me better?” If not you’re doing something wrong. If you are going into the gym and beasting yourself at the same things over and over again you may improve your engine a little but you won’t be getting better as a CrossFit athlete.
Work on your strength base – don’t constantly max and test lifts.
Practice skills outside of timed WODs – EMOM work is great for gymnastic skills.
Don’t do three half hearted met-cons – do one, but do it right. Get intensity into your training over volume.
Technique above all else. Everybody is different but success and progress at all levels depends on establishing a solid base of strength and technique.
Thanks Scott for taking the time out of your day to chat with me. I know I can speak for all the guys at CrossFit Blackwater when I wish you the very best of luck out in Carson. We’ve all seen how hard you train and are looking forward to seeing you attacking the Games workouts in 2 weeks time!
CrossFit Blackwater athlete and head coach, Scott Jenkins has qualified for the CrossFit Games 2016 for the second year running in the Masters 45-49 category.
Ahead of his trip to Carson I caught up with him to ask him a few questions about his preparation for this year’s competition.
Scott, we haven’t seen you at any of the UK or European competitions this year – what have your goals been this year?
I have taken a step away from other competitions and have focussed all my efforts on making the return trip to Carson.
My goals this year were:
1) Get back to the Games
2) Win an event
3) Get on the podium
Of course I want to win it! It’s going to be tough – Bill Grundler is still the guy to beat in my mind.
So what’s the plan at the Games this year?
Last year I was thrilled to qualify for the Games. I had been trying for 7 years to get there and I felt that I’d achieved my goal just by going. The first couple of events out in Carson weren’t great for me and I ended up in 18th after two events with a fight on my hands just to make it into the final.
This year I mean it to be different. I feel like I’ve earnt my place and I want to go out there and scare a few people! If the programming goes my way I don’t see why I can’t be a podium contender. If there are a lot of one rep maxes and a pistol marathon – maybe not.
How do you think you stack up against the big names in your category – Bill Grundler for example? I think the odds are slightly in his favour. My engine is better this year so I think I can challenge him on the met con type workouts. My problem is the strength wods – I lose a lot of ground on those workouts whereas Bill does consistently well across all the board – he nearly always finishes in the top 5 across all events.
I’ve been working hard over the last 3 months – my training plan includes 3 days a week of heavy olympic lifting. I am working really hard on my weaknesses – I am getting better – maybe not at the pace to get top 5 at the games in those events but if I can squeeze into the top 10 it won’t have such a profound effect on my overall rankings.
So is there anything you’ll do differently this year with the benefit of last year’s Games experience to draw on? I made a lot of rookie mistakes at the Games last year. I took my top off too much! Got sweat all over my equipment and made some movements even harder than they were already.
You have no idea how much you sweat out there – especially in the tennis stadium. It’s like being in a sauna – the air burns your lungs.
How do you prepare for that – you’re based at your CrossFit gym in Witham, Essex with the variable British weather and then suddenly you have to transplant yourself into California and make your body perform optimally? Fortunately we have a glass roof in the box at CrossFit Blackwater. When it’s sunny I train directly underneath it. I put the rower outside when it’s sunny. It’s not the same as California but I do everything I can!
What’s different to last year in Scott world? Now I don’t have two jobs. Last year I did an eight hour day in an office in London, commuted 3 hours a day and then coached 2-3 hours most evenings. So I have more time for training and recovery.
I’m on a special masters programme – Ben Bergeron’s CompTrain. I train 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week.
I feel fitter. I’m a little bit stronger – it’s hard to get stronger when you’re really old! Now it’s more about fighting against losing strength. But I can and have got fitter.
Tell me about injury – how do you balance the need to train enough and keeping the volume to a level that doesn’t cause injury? I trained so safely last year because I was so nervous about getting injured. This year I’m training sensibly but I’m pushing the intensity as much as I can.
I have a strain in my supraspinatus at the moment so I’m working around that. I have to be careful with muscle ups and snatching.
Do you think the Masters are sidelined by CrossFit? You’re scheduled before the main individuals events, there are no offsite workouts – do you think you are treated as a lesser category? Not at all! There’s not as much interest in the Masters – we don’t draw the big crowds. CrossFit HQ provide us with the same warmup facilities, same soft tissue therapists – we are in the same stadiums… I think we are very well looked after!
Spectators want to see athletes doing superhuman things. Although the stuff we do as masters is amazing for our age, it doesn’t make as good viewing as the individuals with their superhuman feats! That’s why the big sponsorship and attention is on the individuals competition.
The way the Games is programmed is perfect. It means I get to do my bit and then sit back, relax and watch the individuals and enjoy the rest of my trip.
What’s the vibe with the other guys out in Carson – super competitive or friendly? It’s pretty friendly and there’s lots of banter. But inside we are all competitive beasts! It doesn’t matter how friendly we are – we all want to beat each other like nothing on earth. Most of the guys have competitive experience from other sports so there’s a lot going on under the surface.
Who have you got rooting for you at the Games this year? All the guys at CrossFit Blackwater, my CrossFit gym in Essex, are really supportive – I know last year they were all catching up on the action when they woke up in the morning. The time difference means that a lot of the events happen late at night real time in the UK. One of the guys said that he woke up his neighbours yelling at the live feed when I came really close to winning the third event SQT last year!!
It’s only 17 days until the first workout of the 2016 CrossFit Open is released!
Since the scaled division was introduced last year, the open has been more accessible than ever. Taking part in the open year on year is a great way to benchmark your progress. I did my first open in 2013 and had to get a snatch PB to do the first workout, struggled to score a few toes to bar and had a hideous battle to achieve a single chest to bar pull-up. But it was brilliant – I achieved things that I didn’t think were possible and was forced to push my limits.
Scott will be programming the open workouts for the classes so register now at http://games.crossfit.com You’ll get to see your scores on the worldwide leaderboard, set yourself some benchmarks for future years and, most importantly, be part of the CrossFit Blackwater team!
build to a heavy triple, then 3×3@90%
Snatch High Pulls 5×4
Open workout 15.1 9min AMRAP:
15 toes to bar
10 deadlifts 52/34kg
5 snatch 52/34kg
Todays amrap comes from the 2011 CrossFit Open. This was also the first week of the very first open. It was 6 weeks with 1 workout to be completed at an affiliate or filmed at a globo gym per week. 26,000 people entered to try and get a place at the finals in California. Compared to now that is nothing. Over 200,000 people entered this year including 55,000 in the masters divisions. Back then masters also started at 45+ and being a fresh faced 41 year old I was in the hat with the individuals. The top 60 went on to the Reebok stadium in Bolton for the regionals that year, I managed to qualify 21st in Europe.
Hard to think it’s all over. One of the best experiences of my life, totally lived up to the 7 years of trying to get there. Epic week in Los Angeles, brilliant people, treated so well by CF HQ and will never forget it. Now here is a run down of the events, my mistakes and highlights.
40 GHD Sit ups
10 Bar Muscle ups
100lb Sandbag Run 50m
32 GHD Sit ups
8 Bar Muscle ups
120lb Sandbag Run
24 GHD Sit ups
6 Bar Muscle ups
140lb Sandbag Run – CAP +8 14th
Bar muscle ups have been a weakness of mine addressed lately and I thought I had got quite good at them. After 40 ghd sit ups (of which I don’t own one to train on) not so much. 3 unbroken before having to hit doubles and singles. Was laying in 18th before finishing with a sprint and some unbroken ghd’s. No mistakes just need to work more ghd sit ups and bar muscle ups.
Event 2: Max Thruster
This was always going to be a bad event for me. My 1rm are never good on any movement, stamina is much better than my explosive strength so needed to just limit the damage here.
My best is 220lb so not far away. Was quite unsteady on event the good reps and was lucky not to pick up a few more no reps.
So after 2 events I was in 19th. I knew it would be a bad start with my worst events first but hoped to be laying more in 12th now.
Event 3: SQT
Now I was confident on this one. If there’s two things I can do it’s snatch and sprint, light snatches of course not 1rm.
3 rounds for time:
10 Snatches 42.5k (muscled of course)
4 x 50m Shuttle – 3.24 – 2nd
Set off on first round in joint 2nd, then moved into a clear second after the 2nd set of snatches. Craig Eisman had a lead on me which I see was going to be hard to catch then on the 3rd round he no repped he’s last snatch and I see a door… And with that bombed after him like mad, for 30 seconds I see 1st place and a what would have been a funny interview at the end. As I hit the last 50m he came back past me, I reacted but my legs didn’t, the message was clear, run faster, I did not care about pain, but my legs did not receive the message. But this was a huge improvement, back in the game and the commentators finally had to flick through their notebooks and find out my name.
Event 4:The Long Chipper
1000m Stadium Run
25 D Ball Over shoulder
25 Box Jumps
25 C2B PUll ups
50 Wall Balls
25 C2B PUll ups
25 Box Jumps
25 100lb Sandbag over shoulders – CAP +21 – 8th
Started great. Went past 4 to 5 people on the run then got to the downhill. Knees hate running downhill or steps so people filed past me here. Finished the run in 16th. Next mistake NO TOP on D Balls, covered ball in sweat which made it hard to pick up. Then came box jumps and time to start moving up the field, I know they are not my favourite but it was more about who could keep moving rather than who could do fancy box jumps. Managed to make up 5 places and then in the last 30 seconds another 3 places on the sandbag which felt like a bag of pigs at the end. Still 8 places gained from the run which if on the flat I would have killed.
Event 5: Double Hanger
100 double Unders
7 Hang Power Clean & Jerk 185lb/85k – CAP + 1 – 10th
Amazing finished 100 doubles in first. Now the 185lb felt like 205, plan was unbroken which soon turned into 3/2/2. I’m good with bar cycling but this was just out of my comfort range, lost out on this one to stronger people, this will be addressed this year.
Ended day two in 10th place. Top 10 move onto the final after Event 6. Sleepless night.. Must make the final.
Rowing good, push press was total pain, broke down from 10 to 4,5,6 rep counts. Few no reps which was correct as unbalanced. But when I got to the deadlifts I knew I would not drop any places. Although only 25 unbroken. Plan was 80 unbroken all the way. Much harder than expected.
BUT I WAS IN THE FINAL 9TH PLACE.. not bad seeing as after two events I was in 19th.
Next the final was rumoured then announced as Amanda.
Event 7: Amanda
Problem was my knees were so sore I could hardly walk. I knew though I would have a few hours in the tent rolling and massage before going out there so set to work getting ready for the last workout, the final, in the tennis stadium, so excited for it.
9-7-5 reps of:
Ring Muscle ups
Squat Snatch 135lb – 9.31 – 7th
The experience and walking in the tennis stadium was so great. Got goosebumps, probably for the 50th time in 3 days but they were proper bicep pump goosebumps all over. Fantastic.
BUT I made huge mistakes. No taping on hands and they ripped pretty bad. Secondly I left the step thing under the rings and severely restricted my kip basically because I hate jumping for rings. Manned up and threw it away for the 7 and 5 and the ring muscle ups became easy. All about the squat snatches which also got easier and easier. Problem was the 20 mins after warming up, I tend to go cold. So could have gone faster on this one. My pb is low 6s.
Overall Finish – 9th in the world
Can’t knock it, my initial goal was more but after seeing the standard of my competitors it is very satisfactory. As they called me ‘rookie’ I made plenty of rookie mistakes which will not be repeated, probably make different ones next year.
I will be back in 2016. My training will be speared towards the games, nothing else. Worth every minute of anxiety, pain and suffering to get there. Absolutely loved it. Huge thanks to HQ for throwing such an unbeatable event. Coach Christine, the judges helpers, crowd and my friends and family were superb. Huge thanks to all of them.
Snatch Grip Deadlifts 3-3-3
Snatch High Pulls 3-3-3
Squat Snatch – build to a heavy single / Beginners practice drills