What weaknesses did you learn about yourself? The open has the magical ability to dig into our human spirit and pull out some of our best efforts and abilities we didn’t know laid within. It also has the ability to crush that spirit and leave us wondering what the heck we have been doing the past year. As you finish (or don’t) each workout of the open you’re left with some new data as to how you could improve on that workout in the future and thus your overall fitness to ready you for next years challenge. So as you end the open season and return to your regular fitness routine let’s reestablish some places to improve and think about some areas that were exposed.

Consider each open workout. What stuck out the most from each? Not just as the effect or goal of each but also how you faired or suffered in that particular event. This shouldn’t just be a reflection of skills you have or areas you are good in. Let’s look at each briefly.

18.1: The ability to maintain a high pace on the rower and move through the dumbbell and toes to bar without interruption.

Potential Weaknesses: Rowing efficiency, rowing technique, steady state cardio, accumulating volume of toes to bar, dumbbell rhythm and timing, grip fatigue.

18.2: Move as quickly as you can, maintaining a high pace between the burpee and squat movements.

Potential Weaknesses: Agility, burpee speed, comfort with dumbbells, squat form and strength endurance, high intensity anaerobic capacity.

18.2a: Lift heavy with leg fatigue and an elevated heart rate while also being able to recover quickly enough to perform the technical lift.

Potential Weaknesses: anaerobic capacity, strength, clean technique, lower body strength endurance.

18.3: Maintain consistency on the jump rope and perform technical movements with an elevated heart rate.

Potential Weaknesses: Double under capacity, steady state cardio, overhead squat mobility and strength, muscle up technique, muscle up capacity, dumbbell rhythm and timing.

18.4: Perform high repetitions of deadlifts at a moderate to heavy weight as well as coordinate the standards of handstand pushups and handstand walks all within a short time cap.

Potential Weaknesses: Unpracticed standards, upper body strength, handstand balance, deadlift strength and endurance

18.5: High volume chest to bar pull ups and thrusters with an increasing rep scheme

Potential Weaknesses: Squat depth, upper body strength and endurance, high end cardio output, bodyweight control and consistency.

How do you specifically want to improve them?

-It’s not enough to say your clean was weak in 18.2a. Do you normally have a solid clean? Was your ability to maintain your mechanics disrupted by your elevated heart rate or did the leg fatigue from dumbbell squats impair your ability to receive the weight? It may be all of the above but one thing is for sure; having the most specific approach to improving a skill in the exact conditions will yield the exact result. Basically if you retest the workout over and over again you will improve or systematically approach each element to improve. Both sound miserable and boring, not to mention time consuming and thought provoking. While, results are not expected to come around sooner than later, the easiest way to approach it may be with simplicity and the exact effect you are trying to achieve. Lifting heavy under fatigue. Namely the clean and with leg fatigue and an elevated heart rate. The solution is then to pair sub maximal cleans with anything that lights up your lungs and legs. For example: wall balls, air dyne sprints, box jumps, thrusters, etc..   An interval approach will allow you to maintain some form of control and composure for this workout and mimic the ability to recover as quickly as you can before performing a heavy lift while also giving you experience and comfort in this type of workout situation.

Specific example: EMOMx5
10 Cal Air Dyne Sprint
recover :10                                                                                                                             perform a clean @75-85%.

This format is easy enough to modify if you get bored of routine by simply replacing the 10 cal air dyne with 10 wall balls or 10 thrusters, yet still effective to the result we are trying to achieve, lifting heavy under fatigue.

Creating your Plan

Use each weakness as a warm up throughout the week or additional practice session before or after class, depending on the nature of the movements. This plan should not replace your current CrossFit program or class schedule but supplement your training to help you improve overall and fill some fitness gaps. All in all expect these extra sessions to take no more than 15 minutes if that.

#1 on Monday: Approach your largest deficit first.

#3 on Tuesday: Following your first weakness you won’t want to work on something too difficult as it’s still early in the week.

#4 on Wednesday: Most CrossFitters working out throughout the week will be more fatigued at this point and should spend time practicing a weakness that does not require a great deal of work or stress.

#5 on Thursday: Thursday is typically a lighter day in most CrossFit programing so this weakness will need the least amount of work and will thus be the least taxing on the body.

#2 on Friday: With Thursday’s usually being lighter days that leaves you recovered enough to make a big impact on your second weakness.

As your weaknesses become stronger adapt your approach.


Consider our workout example for improving your performance on 18.2a from above.


10 Cal Air Dyne Sprint
recover :10                                                                                                                                                               perform a clean @75-85%.


The nature of this piece is progressive. Start out practicing at 75%. Once you’ve developed consistency and comfort at this level bump your percentage up to 80% and so on. Over time you’ll be consistent with your technique while fatigued and possibly become more comfortable with it as well. The same could be said for any of your weaknesses from any of the open workouts. By the time next years open starts to approach you will have accomplished nearly 50 sessions systematically practicing your weaknesses. That leaves you with just one thing left to do… retest the open workouts to see if it made any affect.

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