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THE PROFESSOR PROJECT 
CROSSFIT OPEN 21.1 GUIDE

PACING & STRATEGY

This year's edition of the CrossFit Open kicks off with a massive shoulder burner! The element of shoulder stamina being tested in the Open is not a new concept, however, the addition of a new movement definitely is a big shake up to the structure! This is the first time we are seeing wall walks in the Open and with that comes a learning curve for the athletes. We need to adapt to a new movement as well as a new movement standard this week. Like most things in fitness, a little planning and preparation will go a long way!

This workout is by no means a typical sprint style workout we are used to seeing in the Open. The longer end time domain (15 minutes) and the slow cycle speed of the wall walks lends itself to a well thought out game plan. We need to zoom in on a few key details to help you pace this workout appropriately to your ability. Completing 55 wall walks and 550 double unders in 15 minutes is a tall task. We may be looking at just getting as far as possible into the workout rather than completing it but the strategy implemented will be similar for either goal.

It is very important to stay calm, cool, and collected as you work through this workout. Find your “zen” and stay in that mode throughout the 15 minutes (or less). 

Creating and sticking to a game plan, along with avoiding costly “no reps” on the wall walks, is paramount to your success.  Let's break this down a little more:

SET UP:

  • Be sure to follow the measurements and movement standards for the wall walks 
  • Have your judge watch your reps during the warm-up and communicate with you about the standard and what they are looking for as your judge. 
  • It may be a good idea to have 1 or more back up ropes measured and set aside just in case something crazy happens to your rope - I think we’ve all been there!
  • Set yourself up so you are sure you won’t drift into anything as you skip. This may include the wall. It would be best to skip parallel to the wall so you are sure you don’t hit it with your rope.
  • If you have a mat that is long enough it would be good to use that as your “floor” while doing the wall walks. It will be nice and soft to land on as you come down off the wall.

DOUBLE UNDERS:

  • If you are proficient at double unders, plan out the number of reps you will do each set as well as the amount of time you will rest. It will be best to keep some reps in reserve each round - about 10-20 - and never going to failure. 
  • For example: In the higher sets of double unders, I am going to aim for sets of 30 and will rest exactly 10 seconds between sets. If I trip, I will immediately untangle myself and continue to the next 30 rep mark. 
  • If you are not proficient in double unders you could elect to scale the workout or work away at small sets or singles to get as far as you can in the RX version of the workout. If this is the case, staying calm is the most important task for you. Stay nice and relaxed, listen to the rope hitting the ground, breathe, and move consistently through the reps as you can.
  • As mentioned above, it is best to have more than 1 rope ready for you just in case the rope you are using comes apart or something weird happens to it.
  • It would be best to skip away from the wall (or parallel to it) and anything else to avoid hitting your rope inadvertently off something and messing up your set.
  • Really manage the shoulder fatigue through these sets. They will get more difficult as the workout goes on and you have accumulated more and more reps of wall walks. If you start to get a big shoulder burn take a quick rest to shake out then get back to work on the set.
  • Make sure you set your rope down intentionally before moving back to the wall so you don’t waste time in a knot or chasing your rope around the gym.

 WALL WALKS:

  • Have a planned sequence for each rep. As an example: Hands on the line (meeting the standard), push-up to knees, left leg goes WAY up the wall, right leg follows, left hand, right hand, left hand to line, right hand to line, big step with left hand, reach right hand to the line, left hand come up to meet right hand at the line, feet slide down the wall to stomach, repeat. 
  • Remember to go through these with your judge before starting the workout to make sure you are on the same page and are meeting the standard.
  • Have a plan for your reps. It can be whatever you think will work best for you but it is important not to do a few crazy fast reps, accumulate a bunch of fatigue, then take a massive rest before doing another rep. Think of these as strict HSPU or muscle-ups in the sense that once they are gone, they are gone. You do not want to push to that red line and run out of wall walks in this workout. Be consistent, be smart, and be successful each rep!
      1. I will complete 1 rep every 20 seconds
      2. I will complete 1 rep every 8 seconds
      3. I will complete 1 rep every 12 second
  • Get to your stomach as fast as possible each rep while meeting the standards. Do not spend more time on your hands than necessary to complete the rep. 
  • Start slower than you want to on these and aim to maintain the pace throughout the workout!

21.1 PACING & STRATEGY SUMMARY:

  • This is all about shoulder stamina and intelligent planning
  • This is not a sprint, it is a slow grind.
  • To complete the workout you will need to go as close to unbroken as possible in the double unders and keep your wall walks to 1 rep completed every 6-10 seconds
  • Transition well between movements and have yourself set up for success

21.1 SCALED

Although the movements vary slightly, the same strategy as above will apply here. It is still a big shoulder burner that requires the same thought into the planning to create a game plan based around your current fitness and strengths. 

21.1 FOUNDATIONS

This added division to increase the accessibility of the Open workouts is amazing! Like the scaled version, you can sub in Bear Crawl for Wall Walks, and Jumping Jack for Double Unders and the same rules apply again! Just like the wall walks, be sure to practice a few reps with your judge before beginning the workout to be sure you are clearing the lines with both feet before turning around to do another rep! No reps are no good and also no fun!

21.1 EQUIPMENT FREE

No rope? No problem!

The lateral jumps are a bit tricky to get a good cadence on. As we’ve said frequently in this strategy guide, be sure to practice these reps with the judge before starting your workout to be sure you are clearing the line and meeting the standards of this new movement. Use the wall walk guide above to help dial in your game plan and set yourself up for success!

21.1 ADAPTIVE - UPPER EXTREMITY

Pay close attention to the lunge standard. It may be helpful to put a tape line on the ground to start and finish each lunge rep on to make it consistent for you and your judge. You have the option of forward or reverse lunges - typically, reverse lunges are easier to perform. It is easier to balance and control as you can see the line (or your other foot) the entire rep. This will make it a bit easier to stay within the standard as you get a bit tired. For the burpees be sure to bring your hand(s) above the head to complete each rep as you jump. Like the other versions of this workout, this one isn’t overly complicated but there are little details of the movement standards that needed highlighting to be sure you are locked in and ready to go!

21.1 ADAPTIVE - LOWER EXTREMITY, VISION IMPAIRMENT, SHORT STATURE

Back on that shoulder burn in this workout! The trend continues in regards to the movements and standards. The “alternating shoulder taps + push-up” movement is new and so is the standard - pay attention to your foot position and make sure your judge is keeping an eye on them for you to be sure they are within the allowed distance. The approach to this movement will be the same as the wall walks highlighted above. It will be important to gameplan a __ reps every __ seconds to keep you moving and on a pace and to avoid “no reps” on the push up portion of the movement. 

21.1 ADAPTIVE - NEUROMUSCULAR

Different movements but the same advice! The key to the new movements and their standards is having a clear communication strategy with your judge/coach as you work through the movements. It will be more efficient to do a lateral step over the line rather than jumping. Try not to “control” yourself down on the knee push-ups - let yourself safely “fall” to the floor each rep so you don’t waste energy on the eccentric (lowering) phase of the movement.

21.1 ADAPTIVE - INTELLECTUAL

You can use the bottom of the push-up as a “rest” position to keep yourself moving in this workout. Lower yourself down, lift hands, rest as you need to in order to complete a push with a straight body position. It will help to squeeze your hips and stomach tight as you press to avoid the sagging or snaking movement. Remember this is a slow, grindy workout. Use the step option for the lateral hop to save a bit of energy and to keep a more steady cadence.

21.1 ADAPTIVE - SEATED (WITH HIP FUNCTION) AND SEATED (WITHOUT HIP FUNCTION)

The different movement for this workout is the DB core twists. It will be important to keep a fairly light grip (with BOTH hands) on the DB - don’t death grip it and burn out the forearms. Use the bigger muscles of the back to twist the torso and move the DB rather than using the arms and shoulders to “curl and swing” the DB to the other side. We are always looking for power to come from the core out to the extremities. It will help to keep your eyes on the DB throughout the movement to allow your torso to follow your head and twist a little more freely.

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