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The CrossFit Open… coming sooner than you think


The CrossFit open is the first step to the CrossFit Games

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.

Ring or bar muscle ups are always a huge separator in the open

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.

The open always brings out that extra effort

Test yourself

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.

Benchmarks CrossFit Games Olympic Lifting Open WODs Snatch WOD

The open is coming!

One of my attempts to get a chest to bar pull-up in the 2013 Open. Turns out that consistent training and strength work is more effective!
One of my attempts to get a chest to bar pull-up in the 2013 Open. Turns out that consistent training and strength work is more effective!

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 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

15 hanging knee raises
10 deadlifts 38/25kg
5 snatch 38/25kg

Open WODs

Why are you doing the open?

On Monday Matt W came into the box and quietly got on with 15.4.  He had some concerns about his back so did every handstand pushup strict with no kipping.  Not only was this awesome to watch but it was great to see someone make a decision that benefits their health, strength and fitness rather than chasing a few places on the open leaderboard.

Matt W muscle ups in 15.3
Matt W muscle ups in 15.3

It’s easy to dive into the Open and get carried away with beating your friends, getting into a certain place on the leaderboard or just executing moves that you may not quite be ready for.  Most of us are not in contention for the next stage of the Games – in fact I’m guessing that having two guys likely to advance to the masters qualifiers is pretty unusual for a single box.

Simon and Steve doing handstand pushups in 15.4
Simon and Steve doing handstand pushups in 15.4

That’s not to say that the rest of us shouldn’t fight like hell for every rep and do our very best.  But the open is 5 weeks out of a whole year of training – if you aren’t going to qualify for regionals or the masters qualifiers, what do you get out of the open and what do you think you should get out of the open?

There is no doubt that the heightened pressure and excitement of an open workout can push you to achieve new prs.  We’ve had first pull-ups, handstand pushups and toes to bar in the box.  Snatch prs, clean and jerk prs and ohs prs.  Brilliant!!!

The groundwork for these achievements is laid in your day to day training.  Good, well programmed consistent training that you do day in and day out at the box.  If you did some dirty reps to get a score in an open workout don’t bring those to your everyday training.  Scale back to your progressions and make yourself a better and stronger athlete – then when the movement comes up next year…

Scott cleaning in 15.4
Scott cleaning in 15.4

When it comes to what you think you should get out of the open – how many of us even considered this before it started?  We all know what Scott’s goals are – qualifying for the Games is his primary goal.  His training is focussed around events that will help him get there and addressing weaknesses that he knows could hold him back.

What are your goals for the year?  A competition or event later in the year, body composition changes or improvement in health markers?  It doesn’t matter what your goals are but put the open into context – how does it get you closer?

My personal mistake this year has been standing around trying to achieve Rx scores in WODs that are at the limit of my skill and strength ability.  My primary goal at the moment is to improve conditioning – with the benefit of hindsight, I should have scaled every WOD for 5 weeks of disgusting conditioning work.  I had to  scale 15.3 because I didn’t have a muscle up. I hated every minute of it – I thought it was over scaled and I hated doing singles.  But – it has been the WOD best aligned to my primary training goal.

Open WOD 15.5

The last open workout of 2015 will have been announced overnight.

Let’s come together as a box and enjoy the opportunity to push ourselves and each other on.  There have been personal successes and disappointments over the last 4 weeks but let’s take the opportunity to be kind to ourselves on the last WOD.

Celebrate your achievements over the open season.  If there are things that you haven’t been happy with, nail down the reason why and set a plan of action in place to get yourself to the place you want to be.

Good luck!

<- Review of 15.3


Open WODs

Open week 4 and review of 15.3

Review of 15.3

More mixed feelings about 15.3.  The triplet of muscle ups, wall balls and double unders has been a popular offering over the last few years.  The difference of a 7 muscle up opener ruled a number of us out of the Rx WOD immediately and prompted a few to wish that they had dedicated more time to practicing this skill over the last year!  The scaled (or over scaled imho) alternative was a 14 min low skill bootcamp effort of light wall balls and single unders.  Nevertheless it certainly exposed my current lack of conditioning!

Matt C muscle up in 15.3
Matt C muscle up in 15.3

This weeks spirit of the open award goes to Matt C.  Despite being a bit tentative about his muscle ups, when he heard 3,2,1, go he pulled something extra out of the bag and ended up nailing 10 muscle ups in total.  Matt is also a really positive and encouraging personality around the box.  He always gets involved cheering on other athletes and offering words of encouragement.  Great work Matt!

_MG_0436_edited-2Technique hound is Steve again this week.  Beautiful muscle ups even under pressure.

Most bizarre behaviour in a WOD goes to Gaz for the abnormal quantity of liquid he managed to consume in 14 minutes.

This was a tough week for the girls.  We all attempted to get a muscle up but only Sam was successful.  After getting her confidence going on the first attempt she came back on Sunday to score 14 muscle ups.  Her score on 15.3 is in the top 500 women in Europe – well done Sam!  Lindsey won the scaled WOD by a significant margin with her superior conditioning and speedy singles.

Scott muscle up 15.3
Scott muscle up 15.3

Scott continues his dominant performance in the 45+ competition.  Once again he place first in Europe leaving him in first overall in Europe and 7th worldwide after 3 weeks.




Same format as previous weeks.  What will come out of the hopper this time?

As always, questions and strategy advice available from Scott via Facebook and come down and join in the fun on Friday evening.

<- Review of 15.2 | Review of 15.4 ->

Open WODs

Open Week 3 and review of 15.2

Review of 15.2

15.2 bought quite a different mood to the box this week.  The combination of two potentially tricky movements, the pressure of meeting the 3 minute cut offs and chasing last year’s scores led to some nervousness and anxiety.

A few were chasing phenomenal scores laid down in 14.2 with others of us striving for full depth overhead squats, first pull-ups or chest to bars.

Jeff doing a back squat at CrossFit Blackwater, Witham Essex
Jeff hitting some back squats

First up this week is Jeff for his contribution to the spirit of the open.  Jeff started CrossFitting in January and was on Blackwater’s very first Foundation course.  Jeff has made amazing progress and is a great presence in classes with his positive attitude.  Although he hasn’t entered into the open (this year!) he has been 100% behind all of our members who are competing.  Jeff has spent two long sessions at the box with his camera capturing action shots of the athletes hitting the open workouts.  Thank you Jeff!

PR’s for this week: Frances and Giles for successfully achieving 29kg overhead squats after loads of mobilising and shouting and Lindsey with her first pull-up.  None of these PR’s were flukes – all 3 have been working hard at these moves with mobility exercises and eccentric strength training.

Crazy burpee lady and grumpy cat go head to head
Crazy burpee lady and grumpy cat go head to head

Huge respect to all of the other athletes who were technically strong and had endure the pain cave of multiple rounds.  There were a lot of sore legs around the box at the beginning of the week!

News of the CrossFit Blackwater Sunday grandad throwdown seems to be spreading as we were delighted to welcome Andy Collings to join fellow old boys Scott and Simon this week.  So, for anyone who has a penchant for 45+ sweaty men with six packs – Witham on Sunday lunchtime is THE place to be.

Top lady this week, Sam, and Scott takes the win for the boys… with Gaz in close second only 8 reps behind.  Great work guys – let’s kill 15.3!

Open WOD 15:3

Same format as last week. Come along and join in the great atmosphere as we hit 15.3.

Dave Castro's attempt to upset Scott
Dave Castro’s attempt to upset Scott

Dave Castro has been upsetting people with his pistol/double under teaser.  Let’s wait and see what actually comes up before hitting the panic button…

If you have any questions during the day fire them at me on the CrossFit Blackwater FB page and I will help you out with tactics, decisions on weights or just advise when others will be there to cheer you on.

See you tonight.


<- Review of 15.1 | Review of 15.3 ->

Open WODs Squat

Last chance Open 15.1

Front Squats 10-8-6-4-2

Get a solid 10 reps then build 5k plus girls, 10k plus men.

Good Mornings 10-10-10

Keep weight manageable with perfect form.

Scott Jenkins and Simon Wilson-Storey after hitting 15.1 together.  Two of Europe's top over-45 CrossFitters at CrossFit Blackwater, Witham
Scott Jenkins and Simon Wilson-Storey after hitting 15.1 together. Two of Europe’s top over-45 CrossFitters at CrossFit Blackwater, Witham

Either repeat 15.1 or

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 rep rounds:

Push Press 40/25k
Box Jumps 24/20″

Finisher: Shout at anyone having their last shot at 15.1