Your Preparation for CF Open 16.1 Starts NOW!

The Rope Climb is still one of my goats. Time to stop thinking about it, and start doing something about it.

The Rope Climb is still one of my goats. Time to stop thinking about it, and start doing something about it.

If you have followed my posts for the past two months, you have seen my wins and losses over the course of the 2015 CrossFit Open.

Last year I had managed to knock off a couple Toes-to-Bar and a couple Double-Unders. Enough to get points on the leaderboard, and to pat myself on the back.

This year, those moves cycled back into Open WODs, but I failed. Why? Because I didn’t build upon last year’s small personal victories.

What are you grinning for? You know you have done similar things. And that’s the whole point of today’s essay. We all know what we need to do to improve, but we allow ourselves to be distracted, and we simply fail to do what we must do.

Now is the time to identify your weak areas, and develop a plan to conquer them, so you can go into the next Open with confidence.

Where are you going to place your focus? How do you plan to achieve this? You know wishing about it will not make it happen.

It is worth reminding you, proficiency in movements does not necessarily come in your Box’s WOD’s.

You cannot become a Double-Under Ninja, waiting for the next WOD to come around that has DUs in it. Yet, that is often what we do. And when it does come up, we see no urgency in perfecting the movement, because we’re racing the clock.

In your Box’s daily WOD, it’s quicker to scale the workout doing twice as many Single-Unders, than it is to struggle to get the Doubles. And on it goes. Then you wake up and realize that CrossFit Games is announcing the 2016 Open, and you haven’t done a bit of work on your Double-Unders.

PUSH Yourself, cuz no one else is gonna do it for you!

If you’ve been CrossFitting for a few years, you know I’m telling the truth. Similar arguments can be made for Toes-to-Bar, Pull-ups, Box Jumps and many other standard movements in CrossFit.

Now I admit, there are those who are more elite. More dedicated. But if you’re just a regular person who does CF for fun and overall fitness, you may be prone to procrastinating. I get it. Nobody likes to do stuff that they are poor at. But then, if you do not practice them to perfect them, then you will always suck at that movement.

There is nothing new here, yet many of us need to be reminded of it. Heaven knows I have baggage. I just finished my third Open and still can’t do DUs. Really! Why? Because I am not putting in the time.

I have four movements that came to mind, that I need to work on, in the short time I have been crafting this note: Double-Unders, Pull-ups, Toes-to-Bar and Rope Climb.

Suppose I spend just five minutes every week on each of these movements, between now and March 2016.

  • Monday, do five minutes of jumping rope, chasing that elusive DU.
  • Tuesday, do five minutes of progressive work, to finally achieve a Pull-up.
  • Thursday, do five minutes of T2B, striving for consistency in hitting the bar, then stringing multiples together, before dropping off the bar.
  • Friday, take five with Rope Climb. Practice jumping up onto the rope and flipping the rope into position and gripping with the feet. Keep doing that until it’s consistent, then begin progressing up the rope, one grip at a time.

That’s about 50 sessions with each movement before the next Open!

I have a great deal of confidence that you and I can do any of these four movements after 50 brief sessions, done over the course of a year. The question is: Will you?

I will be writing about my progress in the months to come. I look forward to hearing about your progress, in whichever movement you may choose.

(photo credit: Andrew Malone – Creative Commons)

How Can You Deadlift With Your Mind?

I love to read. My kindle is filled with dozens of books. BUT there is still something about the tactile sensation of a hardcover book. It opens the mind, along with the cover.

I love to read. My kindle is filled with dozens of books. BUT there is still something about the tactile sensation of a hardcover book. You open your mind, whenever you open the cover.

Like many of my readers, I have just finished the personal challenge of doing the five week CrossFit Open 2015.

Judging from the traffic on various internet forums, I am not the only one who’s mind was totally pre-occupied with the weekly workouts, weaknesses and strengths, decisions of Rx or Scaled, and of course where you might be positioned on the leaderboard in any given week.

Now the Open is history, we will watch friends move onto the Masters Qualifiers and the Regionals. But for most of us it’s back to the same old, same old. Our routine may be a welcome relief from the rush of the Open.

One of my routines that I cherish is my mid-day visit to a local coffee shop. I do this whether I am at home, work or the gym. I like to write, read or converse in this environment. I thrive on the sights, the sounds and the smells.

When I am at work, I drive past Walden Pond to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks in Concord. Usually, since I need to get back to work, I grab my coffee and sit briefly to relax, before going back to my world of Ones and Zeroes in IT.

This week, I have had the pleasure of conversing with a gentleman who captured my imagination six months ago. He is an actor, named Steve, who performs several one-man plays in the Boston area.

Yesterday he mentioned he was doing a performance of Shakespeare at the Concord Library in a couple weeks. I was disappointed that I had plans and I couldn’t make it. He offered a private showing and immediately stood up in the shop and performed the two minute introduction of his play, a piece crafted by Bernard Levin.

Today, I ran into him again, and we had an opportunity to discuss memorization skills. This subject fascinates me, because it is like a gymnasium for the mind. It’s like weight training between your ears.

I have been developing some memorization skills in recent months, but I find that once the challenge has been met, I break the habit and I forget what I had memorized. Not unlike skipping the gym for a month. Steve mentioned the need to constantly review your previous material. Use it or Lose it. He uses his driving time as an opportunity to exercise his memory by reviewing old material.

I believe it is essential to keep your mind engaged, especially in these times of attention deficits caused by our mind-numbing addiction to internet content consumption. Okay, maybe that’s not you, but it sure is me.

Memorization is also an excellent way to draw yourself into the habit of embracing the present. It requires minimum distraction, focus and repetition. Think of it as the Deadlift of Your Mind. Do you even lift, Bro?


CrossFit Open 15.5 – Post Mortem

We may have been last to perform 15.5 at our local box, but we were far from last on the Rx leaderboard.

Something strange happened last Thursday evening when Dave Castro announced 15.5. I smiled. For the record, I did not like 14.5, a Descending Ladder of Thrusters and Over-Bar-Burpees. In fact I thought I'd die doing that WOD. It took me about 35 … [Continue reading]

CrossFit Open 15.5 – My Strategy for Survival

Here we are. Five weeks have flown by. The last week of the 2015 Open season is here. These past five weeks have actually been a great deal of fun - unless you ventured onto any CrossFit forum on Facebook. In that case, it has been five weeks of … [Continue reading]

CrossFit Open 15.4 – Post Mortem

This place sure looks empty after everyone puts their barbell away.

As is my custom, during the CrossFit Open Season, I like to predict my score, or at least my strategy prior to the event. Then after I have been given a dose of reality, I follow-up with a Post-Mortem. Should I go Rx or Scaled? This event was a … [Continue reading]

My Personal Prediction for CrossFit Open 15.4

Photo Courtesy of Sharon Drummond - Flickr

When I gathered with friends to watch the announcement of the 15.4 workout, I was a bit confused. I knew I wasn't going to be subjected to Handstand Push-Ups (HSPU), but I thought Dave Castro said scaled would do Push-ups. Many of my buddies … [Continue reading]

Open 15.3 Post Mortem


This weekend tens of thousands of CrossFitters gathered in boxes throughout the world, to perform Open 15.3. This was perhaps the ugliest CrossFit Open WOD I have ever witnessed. And that was just on the internet forums! Facebook groups were … [Continue reading]

Initial Thoughts on CrossFit Open 15.3


Announcement Last night I gathered with a handful of friends at CrossFit Reach Barbell Club as we watched the CrossFit Open 15.3 announcement. Everyone looked at one another in awe when Dave Castro said, "No Bars, No Barbells". I think we've had … [Continue reading]

Open 15.2 – Post Mortem

How much have you progressed over the past year? Open 15.2 should have given you a hint.

Last week I posted a link to my Open 14.2 Post Mortem, as a "preview of coming attractions". A year ago I struggled with Overhead Squats. I mean I suffered to get 8 in 3 minutes. This year I knocked off 10 in about a minute. I then moved onto … [Continue reading]

My Post-Mortem of my 15.1 Performance


When one uses the word "Performance" the imagination may conjure up a well choreographed ballet, an eclectic jazz quartet, or a brilliant comedian. My debut in the CrossFit Open 15.1 most closely resembled a comic performance. It wasn't even … [Continue reading]