CrossFit Open 18.3 Workout Reflections: How did you do and how to improve.

CrossFit Open Workout 18.3 Recap

Written by OPEX Head Coach Sam Smith

18.3 was an extremely interesting workout within the context of the CrossFit® Open as a whole.

I’d like to break my thoughts down into three parts in this Blog. First I will discuss the double under portion of this workout, then the muscle ups and finally the dumbbell snatch and overhead squat portion. Each section tackles the movement that may have limited you from achieving a good score on 18.3

Don’t forget to sign up for the OPEX Open Prep Guide if you want to get the best strategies and tips for each event from myself and Director of Coaching Mike Lee. Seriously, it’s free. What are you waiting for?

Part One: The Double-Unders

For one, it was the most amount of reps in any open workout, ever. Granted, 86% of the total reps were double-unders. However, this was only the case if you finished the workout under time time cap, which is not the case for most participating in the Open. For most people, you were doing upwards of 400-600 DU’s and potentially 2-3 times within 72 hours, which more than likely meant the absolute destruction of the calves.

Double Unders have always been a staple in the CrossFit® Open and this time they were more than a staple, they were arguably the most vital piece to success in this workout. Proficiency in movement, breathing mechanics, and disciplined rest breaks between sets were all very important pieces to success in this workout. AND, having built enough training volume of double-unders to allow you to go deep into that workout as well. You have to take a step back for a second and ask yourself,

“How many Double Unders was I averaging a week in my training? And, what was the most I did in a single workout over the last 9-12 months?”

If your answer was 100 or less, then that workout was probably very challenging for you as your system hadn’t built enough volume of the movement, let alone in a fatigued state, to allow you to fully express your physical potential.

Now let’s flip the script and assume you DID have the volume built up yet still didn’t reach your potential on the workout, we can now start to look at movement proficiency, the combination of non-complementary movements, and potential asymmetries in the upper or lower body that get highlighted at certain rep marks which accentuate fatigue and force you to slow down. When it comes to the Sport of Fitness, your ability to “grind” will always be limited by your movement limitations.

This sport rewards those who have GREAT movement proficiency and volume built with those skills/movements. If you consider yourself someone who isn’t very “smooth” or relaxed on certain movements, like a Double Under, then I’d suggest you begin working on improving your virtuosity of that said movement to allow you to express your maximal potential. The more complex a workout becomes, the more your movement limitations will limit you before your physical threshold will.

What You Can Do Now…

Address your limitations this off season, build quality reps with the new-found patterns you’ve engrained, and then and ONLY then start to add intensity and fatigue to stress the new patterns and find their new ceiling.

Part Two: The Muscle Ups

If you completed the workout, which is about 0.001% of all participants, you were looking at a total of 48 muscle ups. Most people were probably falling between 24-36 total Muscle Ups completed. Now, in the grand scheme, that might not be a lot of total reps relative to what you’ve hopefully done in your training over the past year. IF that was a daunting task, then you obviously didn’t build enough volume in your off season to properly prepare you for this workout.

One way us HQ Coaches at OPEX look at it, athletes need to be building upwards of 30-45 Muscle Ups in a single session 2 times per week, in various settings, to have a strong enough base of volume to support them in the Open and/or Regional Workouts. If you didn’t build enough volume relative to standard just mentioned, then I’d suggest you start with skill development and build from there. A simple progression I do with people is find there AMRAP UB 1 set of Ring or Bar Muscle Ups and utilize a percentage of that number in an EMOM format building volume linearly week to week. For example,

Athlete’s max UB Ring Muscle Ups: 12

1st week:
EMOM x 5 minutes:
3 UB RMU
-rest 1 min-
EMOM x 5 minutes:
3 UB RMU

2nd Week:
EMOM x 6 minutes:
3 UB RMU
-rest 1 min-
EMOM x 6 minutes:
3 UB RMU

3rd Week:
EMOM x 5 minutes:
4 UB RMU
-rest 1 min-
EMOM x 5 minutes:
4 UB RMU

4th Week:
EMOM x 6 minutes:
4 UB RMU
-rest 1 min-
EMOM x 6 minutes:
4 UB RMU

5th week:
EMOM x 5 minutes:
5 UB RMU
-rest 2 min-
EMOM x 5 minutes:
5 UB RMU

6th Week:
30 Ring Muscle Ups for time
2 Scores:
1) AMRAP UB up front
2) 30 reps for time

You can see through this progression we are starting with 25% of his max UB set and progressing to 41% of his max UB set before retesting to see improvement. While the sole goal of this idea isn’t to just improve his max potential set, we are also working on his battery or ability to recover between sets faster so he can work again. This concept of “battery” (also known as muscle endurance) was a key piece to success with the muscle ups in 18.3 in addition to having enough volume built up.

What You Can Do Now…

Come this off season and start at ground zero. Build volume in a non-fatigue setting and slowly start to add volume and intensity. Once you have a competent number built then start to sprinkle in some tests to evaluate your progress. The insight from these tests will give guidance on what the next step will be.

Part Three: The Overhead Squat/ Dumbbell Snatch

There are only a few athletes who would have been limited in this workout because of these movements. Why? Because these movements didn’t do anything for this workout. The dumbbell snatch and overhead squat portion of CrossFit Open Workout 18.3 were fillers for the rest of the action. I will say, IF the DB Snatch WAS replaced with 20 OHS, the workout would have turned out MUCH different for everybody. An extra 40-60ish seconds of tension on the upper body, in a high demanding structural position, would have done some serious damage (ie- muscle fatigue) for everyone and would have made that workout much more difficult. Separating the pro’s from the average joes.

 

I hope you found some value in this write up. The overarching theme I was trying to touch on was how complex and multivariate this workout was. To maximize your success in this workout, and this sport, there are a lot of moving parts you must pay attention to to reach your maximum potential. One thing will affect all things, and that’s where the beauty of an individualized coach comes in who can unbiasedly design and guide you to your maximum in the Sport of Fitness.

 

ABOUT Sam Smith

Sam Smith Remote Coach and Research Assistant

California born, Sam graduated with a degree in Communication with an emphasis on Sports Psychology from the University of Southern California. A former professional golfer, his interest in movement led him to pursue further study in Physical Therapy. After five years in the clinic, Sam turned his attention to fitness coaching. Sam now combines his love of coaching with his passion for learning as an OPEX Head Coach and Research Assistant.

Request a consult with Sam now!

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