The CrossFit Open kicks off tomorrow night. If you are new to the Open or have forgotten many of these workouts that have become legendary for making people’s low backs, quads or shoulders miserably sore for weeks after. So this week I wanted to share my tips for thriving in the CrossFit Open without getting injured.

#1. Be One & Done

I know everyone else in the CrossFit community does the workouts 2 or 3 times, but guess what they are often being dumb. You have a brain, you do not have to follow everyone else. If you do a workout like 17.1 (dumbbell snatch, burpee box jump over) on a Friday and you sell out on it and are your low back is totally smashed come Monday, don’t let your friends talk you into doing it again. Check your ego, FOMO or whatever psycho-emotional hang up you have outside and be logical. You do not need to redo a workout unless you are getting PAAAIIIIDD to do it.

#2. Adequately Warm-Up

We all get a little anxious and worried about these terrible workouts and just want to get them started, but you will perform better if you get sweaty & out of breath before doing them. The rules I like for warming up are:

-Do something for 10 minutes
-Get your heart rate spiked above 150 bpm and have an average of around 135.
-Don’t do any “loading (i.e. don’t deadlift a bunch fast to warm-up)
-Make sure you hit that point where you feel really uncomfortable and then back off.
-After that just practice the movements of the workout and then go.

The warm-up/prep doesn’t need to be complicated or sexy, it just needs to happen.

My go-to warm-up is:

“The Mountain” (done on a bike, rower, running..etc)
:10 Sprint, :50 Easy
:20 Sprint, :40 Easy
:30 Sprint, :30 Easy
:40 Sprint, :20 Easy
:50 Sprint, :10 Easy
:60 Sprint, :0 Easy
:50 Sprint, :10 Easy
:40 Sprint, :20 Easy
:30 Sprint, :30 Easy
:20 Sprint, :40 Easy
:10 Sprint, :50 Easy

#3. Do Soft Tissue Self Care Immediately After

Once you are done writhing on the floor over-dramatically and then have your post workout analysis session with friends on the floor it’s a great idea to spend 10 minutes intentionally working your soft tissues. It doesn’t matter if you use a foam roller, lacrosse ball, Theragun or a friends fist, just do something.

Open workouts are going to make your muscles contract often and fast and the result will be a host of trigger points littered through your tissues. If you don’t handle these you’re going to feel awful for days (maybe even weeks after) and also set yourself up for injury. If you don’t know how or what smash after the workout stay tuned to my Instagram. I will post some weekly Open self care videos on Friday’s.

#4. Reject Ego, Embrace Scaling

You know what really hurts my soul? Watching people attempt to do chicken wing muscle-ups for 12 minutes straight.

It’s just totally unnecessary. Generally the athlete has no business attempting the movement in the first place, but because it’s the Open we embrace taking on challenges that our bodies are not yet equipped for. I know it’s a really moving Instagram video when Unis gets that first muscle-up, but there are no videos of Unis not being able to sleep at night for the next 6 months because her should hurts so bad.

The only reason any of us do this is because of ego/pride/FOMO/emotionalism…etc. If we were in the gym alone we’d try exactly one bad muscle-up and then call it a day, but because we are “pack animals” with a social stratification we let the moment and the group influence us to sit their for 12 minutes praying that this rep is the time we slither over that bar. It’s dumb. There is nothing wrong or lame about scaling a workout and smoking it like a Newport. Don’t let your friends, coach, the leaderboard or Instagram tell you any different. If you can’t do the movement, weight or just know whatever is written on the board isn’t for you SCALE IT and be proud about it.

5. Get ART at Atlanta Sports Recovery

Let’s face it. Most of us (me included) probably won’t do things 1-4 for perfectly. So there will be situations come up where we get jacked up. A great solution for undoing some of the soft tissue issues we create is Active Release Technique (ART for short).

ART is really unique and effective soft tissue treatment method that uses movement and special hand “moves” to unstick injured tissues, restore function to muscles and increase blood flow which helps us heal faster and get you ready for the next week. It’s so effective that Tim Ferris listed it on his “ways to fix unfixable problems” in the 4 hour body. When your back is a mess after a workout, don’t ignore it. Come in, get some treatment and stay in the game.

If you want to nerd out on what ART is you can do so here .

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top