Test Your Fitness: Surviving the Open – Hints and Tips

 In Blog

By Coach Rusty

Welcome to the 2014 “Fun” competitive season, kicking off with the fourth year of the CrossFit Open. In classic style, Crossfit have brought back the first Open WOD from the first Crossfit Open 2011.  Open 14.1 is an exact replica. Test. Retest.

Open 14.1 is a couplet of two highly skilled movements, each to be respected…

10min AMRAP

30 double unders

15 power snatch 35 / 25 kg

Double Unders

Hands – Keep your hands where you can see them, as the hands drift back the rope gets shorter and you clip your feet.
Eyes – Pick a point and stay with it, where your eyes go your body will follow
Body position – Maintain a hollow hold position and stay relaxed. Tension in the body results in fatigue.

Power Snatch

Set Up – ensure from rep 1 to 100 that you set up the same way each time, drive the knees back lift the weight with your legs and not with your back and arms. Check with a coach to ensure you are in a correct set up position
Grip – Wide, this is a jump in to a shallow overhead squat, so take a grip that reflects that.  A hook grip would be recommended to save the arms in the pull.
Bringing the bar down – The reset is just as important as the set up. Performing touch and go reps or steady singles bringing the bar from overhead to floor takes as much care and skill as lifting it.  Lower the bar from overhead to the hips then to the floor.  This loads the glutes and hamstrings allowing you to use the elasticity (tension) of the muscles to load and explode into your next rep and saves you from “rounding” or “breaking your back”
Pressing Out – At the top of each lift you must finish in a fully extended “locked out” position.  As you take the bar overhead you want to land in this “locked out” arm position. Receiving the bar with bent arms overhead will force you to press out the last couple of inches and be far more taxing on the shoulders.  As mentioned, lift with your legs and jump into an overhead squat. Keep it simple.


This is a fast paced WOD with two highly skilled elements, designed to move quickly from movement to movement.

For Open First Timers:

  • Aim for unbroken doubles, but take a breath to rest if you miss one.
  • Start with 3 to 5 touch and go reps on the snatch and/or be ready for steady singles – hold onto the bar.
  • 80/80 rule: 80% of  your energy for 80% of the WOD; 100% for the last 20% of the WOD e.g. 8mins at 80% steady but tough, last 2 minutes, give what you have left without sacrificing form and GO FULL THROTTLE = 100%

Experienced crossfitters

  • Top Games athletes will start by using a muscle snatch, quicker and will save some energy in the legs for the doubles. This however will be more taxing on the shoulders if you do not have the strength.
  • Touch and go power snatch or steady singles is the way forward; hands should never leave the bar.  If you keep your grip on the bar you will be able to load the hamstrings more and use the tension “energy” in the system to pop out your next rep, even if doing steady singles.  Each time you let go of the bar you have to reset that tension and potentially spend more time chasing your bar around the room.
  • When you start to fatigue aim for sets of 3 or 5 touch and go reps.

Remember: the Open is a Test of Fitness but ultimately it is all FUN!!

* Remind me that again in week five….  😉

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