What to expect during The Open...


This is the week that The 2018 CrossFit Games season starts.

For anyone who’s missed what we’ve been posting about this then start your reading here, then use this post to answer any questions you might have, and finally this post will remove your potential excuses that prevent you from competing.

For 47 weeks of the year we subscribe to the notion that constant variance allows for increased fitness levels across a longer period of time, and so mix and match the focus of each day in the week within a larger framework.

For the next 5 weeks, there’ll be a bit more of a structure in terms of which day will focus on what to allow for people to fully demonstrate the capacity that they’ve spent all year developing during Friday Night Lights.


So, what to expect:

Monday - regular CrossFit programming with a blend of intensity and volume with pairs and team workouts featuring as usual.

Tuesday - regular CrossFit programming with a focus on the intensity end of the I/V spectrum.

Wednesday - a chance to take the principles from our popular Balance, Strength and Structure classes and apply them to all the CrossFit classes on the day.  Expect chances to work on positional strength, focus on movement quality and develop new skills without seeing the lactic fairy and ending up flat on your back.

Thursday - we will be working on maximising your cardiac output by moving around but without a lot of eccentric loading to give you chance to keep working on our base fitness level but not feel beaten up going into Friday.

Friday - whatever Dave Castro throws at us!

Saturday - a similar format to Monday with pairs and team workouts that blend intensity and volume but don’t overly tax similar movements or muscles that Friday uses. 


Who should compete in The Open

This is a great question, and one that we get asked many times in the gym in the build up to The Open every year.

Recently I was listening to a podcast that discussed the three types of fear that might hold you back from competing in The Open.

1 - The fear of embarrassment

The fear of finishing last.  The fear of everyone seeing exactly what you can and cannot do.  The fear of what people think of you for not being able to do something.


This is normal and everyone doing something for the first time will feel this.  It's natural, it's human and everyone has been there at some point in their life.

Without getting past this fear, there can be no growth.  If you are not in a position where you have never been before then how can you move forwards with anything in your life?

CrossFit introduced a scaled division to allow people a smoother entry into The Open by lowering loads or levels of technicality.  At SCCF we run the IM Open where participation is rewarded more than achievement.

2 - The fear of how it will feel

The fear of how much it will hurt to try as hard as you can.  The fear of physical discomfort.  The fear of what you might actually be capable of.


If you have been preparing for any length of time then you should have a reasonable idea of how fit you are.  Contrary to the idea of people rising to the challenge, when the pressure (probably psychological) comes on, people will default to the level of their preparation.  The Friday Night Lights atmosphere might help you squeeze a few more reps out or shave a few seconds off, but that could just be your body fearing embarrassment more.

The number of PBs that we see during Friday Night Lights events during The Open is amazing every year.  So maybe reframe the fear of physical discomfort into an opportunity to demonstrate to your peers how hard you've been working over the past months.  The workouts that Dave Castro presents us with every year are designed to find the fittest men and women on the planet - they are designed to be difficult, they are designed to beat people - so use these coming weeks as chances to find your weaknesses so that over the next year you can start to turn them into strengths.

3 - The fear of failing to meet expectations

The fear of not being as fit as you were.  The fear of not finishing first when everyone expected it.  The fear of being able to do something without pressure, but going to pieces when the music is up, your heart rate is high and there's a bit of a crowd.

The Open is a snapshot.  It is not the measure of who you are or what you are worth.  The Open is there to find out who should progress to Regionals, but also for gym communities to rally round each other and have some fun.  Unless you have performance expectations of people on your shoulders, then the only person you can disappoint is yourself.  The only thing that you can control is the effort that you put in, and if your effort is truly your best then you've won. 

Your placing on the scoreboard will be affected by how many people enter.  You can be satisfied by knowing that you did all you could.


On that note, make sure that you're signed up to one of the IM Open teams within SCCF.  Head over to games.crossfit.com to register so that you can submit your scores online.  Come and chat to one of the coaches in the gym if you have any questions.

Strength In Depth 2017

In May, we made a decision to try to send a team to Strength in Depth 2017. Strength in Depth is probably the largest Functional Fitness Competition in the UK. Backed by Reebok, teams of 12 face three qualifiers to get to the finals in Bath in November. Each qualifier takes a slightly different format, but 12 members from SCCF kept an eye on the leaderboard through the summer as they worked through three qualifying workouts. The group qualified in 49th of a 60 available spots.

Fast forward to November and on a chilly Saturday morning the SCCF crew arrived at the University of Bath with an agenda. The team knew they were capable of more than 49th, they also knew they had done the work to be able to deliver the required performance, what they didn’t know was the level of competition they were facing.

Event one: Max clean and jerk total plus 5k Row for time. In advance of the competition the team had spent some time running through the events, discussing the best way to take down each event. Event one was the first opportunity for that homework to pay off. Big shifts on the rower from Marcus Davis and Sam O’Connor helped pull the team to 33rd on the row, at the same time Charlee Leachman and Gareth George put up 85kg and 135kg respectively for the heaviest lifts in the first heat. It became apparent that the team were not planning to be in the first heat on day two.


Nerves out the way, and with a pit stop of food and coffee the team began their warm up for event two: 3 laps of a 1.3km course with a 20kg Sandbag, after each lap the team left four athletes at the finish pen leaving just four out on the final 1.3km lap. Ultimately the team knew running was not going to give them the best result, but as in workout 1, some serious strategy work in advance set the team up well. Sam Leachman took charge on the event and worked well with Sian Peters to lift the team across three laps to finish 44th.


Workouts 3 and 4 saw the team split into two teams of 6. Lianne Griffiths showed some prowess in the pool, leading the team to a 29th place finish. The workout consisting of swimming, air squats and climbing in and out of the pool. For a full breakdown on how hard that can be just catch up with Sam L or Rickie Lovell when you next see them in the gym; ask them how Sam OC got on with jumping into a pool.


Simultaneously Gareth Wayt was making friends with the Assault Bike, working in pairs the remainder of team SCCF Red worked through Dumbbell Cleans and Down ups before smashing through 60 calories on the assault bike. The team managed to win the heat and claim 21st on the workout.


Day one ended with heavy, very heavy and ridiculously heavy thrusters, handstand walking and some rope climbs or muscle ups. Mike Holmes, walking more comfortably on his hands than most people do on their feet, taking over from Charlee’s 10 unbroken thrusters at 60kg, scampered up and down a rope and back to the start mat on his hands to take the heat and 21st in the workout to wrap up day one. A leaderboard check after eating virtually all the food available showed the team had pulled themselves out of heat one and into 30th position. They would be taking down day 2 from heat 3.



Arriving on day two, the team faced an unknown event, a 400m obstacle course featuring an 8ft high inverted wall. Fortunately for the team the military experience of Hannah Lewis as well as Sian, Marcus and Sam L more than made up for their distaste for running. Following the change of clothes required after the water obstacle the team notched up a 32nd place finish. Not the perfect start to day two, but by far from the perfect workout. They team went into the next workout with something to prove.


Workout 7: in sub teams of 3, 75 Wall balls, 50 Toes to bar, 200 Double Unders, 50 Overhead Squats. Some magic from Dre Wesley, who pulled out 130 double unders unbroken and Marcus with 75 Wall balls unbroken helped the team to 17th place.


The 17th place in workout 7 left the team on a big high and ready to go for event 8: The snatch ladder. Hannah Lewis moved a bar faster than anyone else that weekend, and the team pulled off their plan perfectly: moving through ever decreasing reps at increasingly heavier loads. Rickie putting in the same consistent performance he did across the weekend to set Mike and Gareth up for snatches at 100kg, the men took 5th place. The girls followed and another seamless team performance took 13th in the workout. The team won the heat and left the platform with nothing else to prove.


Second City CrossFit took a group of members to that competition with something to prove, that they were better than 49th. What they actually did was show that a group of people, working hard for each other and believing in one another is worth more than the sum of its parts. There were no super star athletes on this team- but there was a team, and that is worth more than any individual contribution over the weekend.


SCCF Red: 21st. Strength in Depth 2017.