Today we have a guest post on the blog from super coach Luke Starr. “Starry” has been working with CrossFit Volume in the lead up to the 2017 open and today leaves us with his tips on succeeding in the open.

Meet Luke..

8 times Regionals competitor, 2 times CrossFit Games competitor, Strength and Conditioning coach, current high performance coach at Starr Strength and Performance. Starry has years of experience with the CrossFit Open and today leaves us with his tips on succeeding in the open..


1. Full Effort = Full Victory

Don’t be too attached to the outcome of your results. It’s good to have goals around what placing you would like to come on the leaderboard, or what score you think you should be able to get in the WOD, but these things are usually not completely within your control. What is fully within your control is how you prepare for and execute the WOD each week and your attitude during the inevitable ups and downs over the 5 weeks. If you can walk away from each workout saying “that was the best I could do on the day” then consider that “full victory”, regardless of the leaderboard outcome or what the guy/girl next to you scored.


2. Immerse Yourself in the Community Aspect

Many of my most enjoyable and inspiring memories of CrossFit over the years have come from the Open. It’s a time when the community comes together and people support each other to push to new levels. Whether it’s someone getting a muscle up for the first time, or simply someone new to CrossFit putting themselves out there by registering and committing to the challenge of completing all 5 weeks as best they can. Everyone has the right to compete as an athlete. Carry a positive, sports(wo)manlike attitude. The way you project yourself impacts everyone around you. If you are worried about the difficulty of the WOD, that’s completely normal! Seek the support of your coaches who will be more than happy to support you. Be careful not to walk around the gym telling everyone how much you suck at “XYZ” movement and how much you are going to struggle. This can seem like a cry for attention and it just brings down the morale of the group. The energy in the gym is awesome when there is camaraderie and everyone is enjoying the process of getting out of their comfort zone together.


3. It’s Worth Doing Some Prep

I’m not talking about the 3 months of training you did (or didn’t do, lol) leading up to the announcement of 17.1. I’m talking about the things you do in the time between each WOD announcement and when you actually do the WOD. Things like putting together a basic pacing strategy, mental preparation and a structured warmup can go a very long way to ensure that you give it your best shot on the day. So here’s a little checklist of some things you might want to include in your final prep each week:

Watch the entire announcement, including the demo WOD and movement standards, alone and without any distractions. Take some notes down if necessary, including anything you are not sure about and may need to ask your coach.

  • Jot down a basic plan for how you think you would approach the workout. Include breakdown of reps etc. From my experience it is usually best to have a conservative pacing plan that doesn’t involve too many big sets of reps that might fatigue you too early.
  • If possible, observe some other people you know do the WOD before you, so you can get a gauge for what it looks like for someone whose level of ability you are familiar with. Compare their approach to yours and adjust your plan as needed.
  • Obviously, speak with your coach about the best approach for you. They will be the best judge of whether you have a good plan in place. There are also usually some good online tutorials published by popular coaches. These are worth checking out but keep in mind that your coach is the one that sees you train every day and knows your ability best.
    As basic as this sounds, it’s a fundamental that is completely overlooked by so many people. It’s not good enough if your first pull-up for the day is the one you do in the first round of the WOD. You have just done yourself a disservice by making every subsequent rep in that WOD harder and slower than it needs to be, plus you have risked injury. The tissues and energy systems in your body need to be primed before you ask them to give their best effort. An adequate warm up should include a 5 minute general warmup to increase blood flow, oxygenation, core temperature and joint laxity. Then, a specific warmup should follow. This should include gradual introduction of the movement patterns and loads that will be encountered in the WOD itself. The specific warmup will usually be between 10 and 20 minutes and should be timed so that it finishes just before you are scheduled to start the WOD.

I hope that this has been helpful to you in some way.

Remember, it’s just sport! But….. in my humble opinion, sport is best enjoyed when you give it your best AND you carry an attitude that contributes to a positive experience with the people around you.


Enjoy the ride in 2017.

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