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The Open – To Redo or Not to Redo

By March 11, 2021 No Comments

The Open

The CrossFit Open is an exciting time in most CrossFit gyms. For many CrossFit athletes, the Open is a fun social event where they can engage in some friendly competition in the relative comfort zone of their own gym.

The Open is a great experience for many reasons. There is a great sense of community as everyone supports each other through the workouts each week. It also gives athletes a chance to set some benchmarks and to find their strengths and weaknesses.

Many athletes will have some significant achievements during the open. Some will get their first muscle-up, PR a lift, string double unders together for the first time, or finish better than they thought they would.

Most athletes have little chance of making the CrossFit games or even making it into the top 10% needed to progress to the second stage of the Open this year. Still, it is fun knowing that you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of other athletes from around the world. The nature of the competition adds a degree of pressure. It also increases the nervous feeling of going into a challenging workout.

A unique element of the CrossFit Open is that you have four days to complete the workout and post a score. This means you can redo the workout as many times as you like before submitting your score.

One question that gets asked each year and is sometimes debated in CrossFit circles is whether athletes should redo the open workouts or not. This decision is a personal choice and one that comes with its pros and cons.

In my opinion, you should do every workout with the mindset of doing it once and giving it your all. If you think to yourself beforehand that you’ll just do the workout again if you’re not happy with the result, you probably won’t perform at your full potential. Conversely, if you give it everything you’ve got, you should be satisfied knowing that the result you got was the best you could do.

The choice to redo a workout or not is entirely up to you as an athlete. However, there are certain things that you should consider if you are thinking of redoing an open workout.

A better result is not guaranteed.

More often than not, in my personal experience, those that redo open workouts fail to improve their scores or make only minor improvements.

I see it every year. Someone finishes a workout, is happy with their score, but then someone they thought they would beat finishes quicker or with higher reps. Or maybe after they’ve finished the workout, they watch a few technique or strategy videos with specific tips on pacing the workout. They complete the workout again but improve their score by one or two reps or seconds or finish even worse than they did the first time.

Could that time be better spent working on your recovery or specific skills?

Are you still mastering double unders? Are you trying to string muscle-ups together? Maybe working on these movements will serve you better in the coming weeks rather than repeating a workout you have already done.

How is your body feeling?

Maybe the workout was extremely taxing on the legs. Maybe there were lots of pull-ups and toes to bar, so your grip is fried, and your callouses are barely hanging on.

How will repeating the workout in the next day or two affect your recovery? If you tear your hands second time around, this will likely impact your result and also the outcome of your next workout.

If you are sore and beat up, this may compromise your technique and increase the risk of injury. There is no point risking your health just to redo an Open workout. You’re also less likely to do much better after a days rest if you’re feeling more fatigued than usual.

How will it affect your regular training?

Many of the workouts are no more intense than those completed daily during your regular training, so repeating them will likely not cause any adverse effects. However, if you are redoing the same workout twice or even three times, you may be missing out on some solid days of regular training.

 

How you’ve prepared over the past year will have more bearing on your results than how you prepare in the few days before the workout. The score you get is likely the score you’ll finish with, within a few reps or seconds, even after a redo.

Your strength and fitness will not improve over the few days between completing your first attempt and your redo. Watching endless amounts of strategy and technique videos will probably not affect your score much.

 

Of course, there are always some instances where redoing the workout may actually be a good idea.

Maybe you were sick on the day you did the workout initially. Perhaps you were overly nervous and kept tripping up on your double unders even though you usually breeze through them. Maybe you had an equipment malfunction, your skipping rope broke, or your shoelaces came undone. With situations like these, repeating the workout may lead to you significantly improving your score the second time around.

It’s important to be honest with yourself. Reflect on your performance and decide whether it is worth giving the workout another go or accepting your score and preparing for the next workout.

 

If you do decide that you are going to redo the workout, here are some tips.

Think about what you can do differently.
Should you break up those wall balls into smaller sets rather than going all out on one big set? Will slowing the pace on the row slightly leave you a bit fresher going into the next movement? Where are you going to gain those extra reps or seconds?

Have a strategy and stick to it.
It might be hard to do when you have people around you cheering you on and yelling at you to “Pick the bar up!” but if you can maintain your strategy, it will work in your favour. There are always strategy videos on social media during the open. These can often give you some valuable tips on how to approach the workout.

Give it your all.
You don’t want to finish the second time around still thinking you could do better. Give it everything you’ve got and leave yourself in no doubt that it was the best you could do.

Ultimately, whether you decide to do the workout again is up to you. Redoing the workouts can be a good strategy if your goal is to do well in the Open.

If you finish a workout and honestly don’t think it was the best you could do, it may be worth redoing it. Repeating the workout to beat your initial score can teach you a lot about your true limits and capacity to push yourself.

If you know you can significantly improve your score without any adverse effects, give it a shot. But don’t be that guy who does a workout three times and gets the same score, or worse, each time.

Just remember, the Open comes once a year. Do your best and be proud of your efforts and what you accomplish.

Good luck to all those athletes competing in the Open this year.

 

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