It’s hard to believe, but the 2024 CrossFit Open is just around the corner! Well, not exactly, but it is 16 weeks out according to the latest announcement from CrossFit HQ. If you are new to the CF Open scene, be sure to read more about it in the article above.
Along with the 2024 CrossFit Open schedule, CF HQ also dropped a few interesting changes to this year’s event.
Here are the key points:
-Registration Opens 1/9/24
-One workout will be released each Thursday for three weeks starting Feb 29th.
-The top 25% of the field will advance to the Quarterfinals (expanded from 10% in past years).
-Quarterfinals will take place one month after the Open finishes, 4/17-4/22.
*Full disclosure, we have yet to fully process how we’re going to proceed with the Quarterfinals on a gym-wide level, so please stay tuned for more on that later.
Before we get into the plan for this year’s Open, let’s take a step back and look at our general programming approach.
General Programming at Aevitas
Throughout the year, you may notice that our program tends to fluctuate through different themes with various training elements, workout formats, and modality biases. However, 70-80% of what we do in any given week is general in nature and meant to promote a broad base of fitness to build your personal goals on top of. For General Physical Preparedness (GPP) we lean into the CrossFit protocol of “constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity” because it has been proven over the years to stimulate physical adaptation and more importantly, keep members engaged in the program.
Yup! That’s what keeps it interesting. Doing the same thing week in and week out just isn’t an option when it comes to how we train. That might sound like the workouts are chosen randomly but there is a significant amount of logic, natural progression, specific intention, and common sense implemented when choosing the workouts we do. Things like movement selection, weight/rep/set ranges, time domain, and energy system effects, all play major roles in how we progress from week to week and month to month.
If you were to ask 10 different coaches for a definition of “function”, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. We’ve chosen what works well for us based on our coaching skillset, member goals, fun-factor, and general effectiveness to promote health and wellness.
Intensity plays a huge role in results. While intensity can be somewhat relative, for our sake high-intensity work is going to be generally anaerobic in nature (without oxygen). It means your body is using other fuels than oxygen to do work. Too little anaerobic training and and you won’t see much change, too much and you run the risk of over-training and becoming injured. You can usually tell how intense a workout is by how long you spend with an elevated heart rate. Without getting into too much detail on zone training, you should have 1 or 2 days a week that you’re pushing just about as hard as you can at some point in the workout.
So how much intensity is just right? Well keep in mind that intensity is relative. It will change as you progress and adapt. Workouts that would have burned you up in a cloud of smoke in your first few months of CF might be rather mundane and mostly aerobic now. My personal preference is 1-2 really high-intensity days per week with another 1-2 days of moderately paced work, and ideally at least 1 day of long, slow, and steady for active recovery and aerobic endurance. Keep in mind this is a general recommendation and might not suit your specific goals. Coming in and going super hard 5 or 6 days a week is generally regarded as a recipe for over-training. Some can tolerate it for a while but training with this intensity every single day can limit growth and potentially lead to burnout and other issues down the road.
Strength is important to us because of its functionality in day-to-day life, as well as its orthopedic benefits. While you might not need to deadlift 500 pounds, being able to move furniture, pick up kids, and toss bags of dog food and groceries around with minimal effort certainly comes in handy. Heavy resistance exercise, when done reasonably well and in moderation, also provides benefits to bone density, tendon and ligament health, as well as maintaining a healthy amount of muscle mass for metabolic well-being.
The interface of strength and speed affords us the advantage to resist unexpected impulses that life generates. Power cleaning a barbell or sandbag can help you if you play sports that involve any physical contact with another person. Push mowing your lawn also requires a bit of power. Your ability to maintain power output for short durations of time can also be beneficial if you’re ever in any sort of physical altercation (friend or foe). CrossFit is as they say “the stuff of fights and fires”. In fact, Karen said she started CrossFit 12 years ago so she would have the ability to carry me out of a burning building if the need ever arose!
Your ability to keep going; endurance and stamina go hand-in-hand. They help improve our baseline metabolic rate and day-to-day energy levels. While we rarely go much longer than 40 minutes in CF, participating in events like the Aevitas Triathlon or a local 5K/10K are great examples of how our training affords you a modest amount of endurance. If your individual goals include running a 10-mile, half/full marathon, or triathlon, you’ll want to supplement standard CrossFit training with some longer-form endurance training.
The CrossFit Open
The needs of the CrossFit Open are specific to the movements we see on a regular basis in the gym. You definitely won’t be asked to go run a 5K or do Murph, but until we get an update, anything shown on last year’s equipment list is fair game. Barbell and gymnastics movements are a sure thing, perhaps a row or shuttle run of sorts. We aren’t likely to see high-volume bodyweight movements like air squats, sit-ups, push-ups, etc. for Rx prescriptions. Whatever the chosen movements are, you will certainly have to perform them with a high level “work capacity over broad time and modal domains”. For the Open, that generally means anywhere from 5-20 minutes.
CF Open Programming at Aevitas
The CF Open Prep will be broken up into two 8-week blocks.
CF Open Block 1
The first block will be a bit more strength-biased with ample gymnastics practice to build volume and capacity. We’ll be back squatting twice a week for 6 of the 8 weeks with weeks 3 and 6 as scheduled deload weeks to allow for some recovery. We will squat lighter with different variations on deload weeks.
The back squat strength work will leverage the classic 5X5 strength-building protocol on Mon with an additional 5RM every Friday (usually). The 5RM will act as a baseline for next week’s 5X5. Each week, the goal is to add a little to your heaviest 5. As we go deeper into the program, on weeks you are unable to exceed your previously heavy 5, 3 drop sets will be added to the end of the Friday squat session.
In addition to back squat strength, we’ll be doubling back on our upper body strict strength in the form of strict and bench press to pave the way for some inverted/overhead volume down the road.
We’ll also see some aerobic capacity work to improve our endurance a bit for those steady grind workouts like 22.1 and 23.2.
Barbell cycling and gymnastics volume will also be important in this block. The test points from this past Tuesday will help us calibrate the workouts accordingly.
CF Open Block 2
The second 8-week block will be putting all of the pieces together. We’ll leverage the barbell cycling and gymnastics volume to create ultra-high intensity intervals that will rev up our anaerobic work capacity prior to the 2/29 kick-off. There’s bound to be at least one really metabolic barn-burner like 22.3 or 23.1/14.4.
We’ll also focus on performing some of our recently refined Olympic lifts under duress because those heavy barbell tests tend to come AFTER the workout in Open workouts (21.4, 23.2B).
We’ll see a few other tests along the way like the 2K Row, Amanda, The CrossFit Total and Diane, as well as other classic annual workouts like The Turk (Thanksgiving) and 12 Days Of Christmas!
But Then What?
Once the Open and Quarterfinals are behind us, we’ll pivot to Murph prep and some other annual benchmarks.
If you guys have questions about how to make our program work better for your specific goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out!