The Beginner’s Guide to the CrossFit Open

Every sport has a season that typically ends with a championship game. The CrossFit Games Open is considered the start to CrossFit’s “season,” and it’s an exciting time to be a CrossFitter and follow the worldwide leaderboard. With the Open currently in full-swing, newbie CrossFitters may be wondering what all the buzz is about. We’re here to explain the ins and outs of what makes Open season the best time of the year for CrossFitters, and why you should think about participating.


What is The CrossFit Open?

The CrossFit Open is a five-week worldwide competition that allows any and every athlete in the world to compete in specific workouts designed for the everyday CrossFitter that can still challenge even the most elite athletes. More than 272,000 athletes sign up for the Open, ranging from 14 to 86 years old. The Open is also the first stage qualifier of the “season,” which culminates at the CrossFit Games every July. However, for most people, the Open is not about qualifying for Regionals or making it to the Games. It’s a true test to see how far you’ve come and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. It’s also an exciting and fun time to be a CrossFitter. You’ll notice a different energy and buzz in the gym as CrossFitters cheer each other on to reach new levels in their fitness.

How Does the CrossFit Open Work?

A $20 fee is required to compete, but it’s a $20 well-spent. Each week, a workout is released on Thursday night at, with movement standards, scorecards and an explanation video. Athletes then have 4 days to complete the workout in front of a judge at their affiliate, or film the workout at home and submit a link as proof. The athlete must submit his or her score online before the following Monday at 8pm EST. One the best parts about the Open is that the “whiteboard” expands from your regular box to the entire CrossFit population, so you can see where you stand compared to every participant in the world.

Scaled vs. RX

Last year,
a scaled option was introduced during the Open, along with the various divisions for teens and masters. This made the Open even more accessible for all athletes at any skill level. Scaled workouts typically feature lighter weights and modified movements for those that require higher skill. The scaled workout is still comparable in time and volume and is sure to still be a challenge. So how do you decide which workout to do? It really just depends on the standards that are released each week. You are free to perform certain workouts RX and others scaled, so you’re not stuck with scaled if you choose that option for one workout. Regardless of what you choose: Challenge Yourself!! If you’re close to getting a chest to bar pull-up, attempt them in the Open- maybe you’ll get your first one! The intensity and excitement are often motivation you need to do complete a movement for the first time.

Should I Sign Up for the CrossFit Open?

You already know what we’re going to say: YES! And here’s why:

  • You have already put a lot of time, effort and money into getting fit in your usual CrossFit classes and workouts. Don’t pass up an opportunity to test your progress and what you may need to improve on.
  • Even if you’re not interested in competing with others, make it a test against yourself. This is the time to set goals and crush them. For athletes that compete in the Open each year, it’s especially rewarding to see your overall ranking increase from the previous year.
  • It is, without a doubt, a really fun time to be a part of the CrossFit community. You’ll notice attendance soar, people talking strategy, cheering each other on and getting more into the workouts than ever before.
  • It pulls the community together. Finding out that someone else does CrossFit gives you an automatic common interest. You can talk to any CrossFitter around the world about their Open experience because we all complete the same workouts for these five weeks.

Beginner Tips for the CrossFit Open

  • Eat! Even if you’re attending the early morning class, eating a decent breakfast before you compete will help your performance. These workouts will test you mentally and physically, so consume some protein and carbs 60 to 90 minutes before you get after it.
  • Get your Zzz’s. Sleep is more important than ever during the Open season. Aim for 8 hours per night, especially the night before you complete the workout.
  • Know what’s coming. Review the workout and standards before coming to class and have a plan for the option you’re choosing, whether it be scaled or RX. Come prepared and set achievable goals for yourself that will push you.
  • Don’t overdo it in weekly classes. The Open is meant to be a true test for your physical abilities, so scale back workouts leading up to the day you compete so you can give it your best effort. We still recommend coming to class throughout the week, but monitor your intensity so you can be fresh and ready each Friday.
  • Mobilize. Mobility is vital to being able to perform at your highest ability for five straight weeks in a row. If you normally neglect stretching and mobilizing, now is the time to take a few extra minutes after class or at home to work on mobility.
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