The Open

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It’s here. The Open is finally here. Don’t panic, we have a plan.


Normally in the blog we discuss what is coming up in the program and how to best approach it. Well now we don’t know what’s coming up. We won’t find out what Friday’s workout is until, well, Friday. So I’ll just glaze over lightly what the start of the week has.


Metcons – Couple of light gassy metcons but nothing designed to mess up your hands or make you too sore. Simply something you can recover from and hit the open hard on either Friday night or Saturday morning.


Deadlift – On Tuesday we will hit a heavy but not a max effort set of three reps. Make sure you move well.


GOAT day – Thursday and Friday classes will be revolving around your GOAT. What’s a goat? It’s CrossFit slang for the movement that most needs work. Which means it’s probably the movement you least like doing. Working on these movements has a few effects.

  1. It makes you a more well rounded athlete
  2. It’s probably the biggest thing that if you improve it will make the most amount of difference to your fitness level and how that improves your quality of life.


How does a GOAT session work?

It’s simple. It’s structured as a 20min EMOM. You pick 2 movements and alternate every minute.

Eg – for someone who’s GOAT’s are double unders and snatches

Minute 1 – 30sec of double unders keeping intensity low so you can focus on your position

Minute 2 – 5-10 easy light snatches, again keeping difficulty low so you can really nail it.

Repeat for 20mins


GOAT work is best done at a practice pace not a training pace. That means we keep the intensity low to moderate not high like we would when we train. Practice is about improving skills not driving adaptation in our heart, lungs and muscle cells. You can pick any 2 movements that are specific to you. In fact I want you to pick them now or in the next few days. Come and check in with me or one of the coaches at class and get an idea before Thursday of how you are going to approach it.


Now, let’s begin to structure your week to give you success. First thing is to pick a day to do the Open. Either Friday Evening or Saturday morning.


If you are doing Friday night your week will be; Monday to Thursday attend your usual classes with Thursday being a lower intensity GOAT practice and active recovery session. Do the open Friday night. If you have the time come and do the class workout Saturday morning (6am) before the open session (7:15) starts or have a rest weekend.


If you are doing Saturday morning, your week will be; Monday to Friday Classes. Thursday and Friday will be a GOAT session but Thursday we will make it a 20min huff and puff EMOM and Friday (5:00am, 6:15am and 9:00am only) a lower intensity skills practice and active recovery session. Saturday (7:15) crush the Open workout.


So whichever day you pick we have tried to make sure you can still get in to the gym everyday with something to do. Biggest thing you need to know for the week to come is what movements you want to do come GOAT day.

February 04 to 10 Program

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Firstly Congrats to the Semper Paratus Athletes who competed on the weekend. You all had an infectious positive attitude and really got stuck into the work. It was a pleasure to watch and compete alongside you all. Take your time recovering. If you are really sore and fatigued, still come in and move but scale the workouts a heap and ditch the intensity.

What about everyone else?


We have a bit of dumbbell practice this week with some movements we don’t do a lot. Single arm hang clean and jerks and front squats. There is a really high chance the dumbbell will be in the open coming up so it’s a great idea to be comfortable with them.

Double unders

Two double under sessions this week. Both are 30 rep sets so not a crazy high number but a significant enough volume that giving your calves some love should be on the timetable this week. Also we know there’s an even higher chance double unders will be in the open so practice here makes sense too. Here’s a video on some tips to help you out

Slooooooow pause squats

I know I know, this is everyone’s favourite movement. I’m sure you already know the reason behind this one but I’ll repeat the message. Slowing down and pausing in our squats really forces us to load some muscles that we may neglect when we move faster. Particularly when our mechanics change due to the increase in speed or load. This helps to strengthen the weaker muscles like the hamstrings, groin and glutes which may get ignored if we bounce off those knees (never a good idead) and squat on our toes.

Strict everything

We have a kinda un-partitioned Murph like workout without the runs. Biggest thing you need to know to succeed on the push ups and pull ups, start out with very small sets right from the start. Break often. More often than you think… Like heaps…

Barbell cycling

Snatches, clean and jerks, deadlifts, we have them all. The volume is significant so make sure you hinge with your hips and not your spine. Make use of the blocks if you’re tight. One of the workouts is a repeat of “Randy”, 75 light snatches for time. Don’t underestimate this workout. You may be able to bend your back and just get the workout done without damage but it’s never a good idea, and this weeks lifting from the floor volume makes it an even worse idea. Lift well so you can back up a few days later with a heavier barbell WOD.

January 28th to February 2nd program

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The end is nigh. The end of January that is (I can hear the parents rejoice). So by now we should have failed our new year’s resolutions and we can begin to set some real targets for what we really want to accomplish in 2019. More to come on this after we crush the open.


So what’s happening in the program this week?


Snatch city

We have a very short 5min snatch AMRAP that increases weight every 3 reps for 5 sets. The key to success here is simple. You will get plenty of warm up time to build up and find what you think is a heavy weight. Think something between 80-90% of your max. By the time you reach the top weight your legs and lungs will be gassing. So make sure it’s something you can nail when you feel like you’re getting nailed. Also any teams doing Semper Paratus this weekend. This is a very similar ladder to Workout 1.


Tabata Gymnastics

It’s a great WOD alternating between lower and upper body. It starts with handstand push ups and moves to single leg squats before switching back to push ups and finishing with jump lunges. Best part about this day is we are putting some time into learning how to take command of our shoulders. So if this is a workout you would look and think I should avoid this so I don’t jerk up my shoulder. You should definitely rethink that and get in and learn how to create a shoulder position that sets you up for some long term “gainz” instead of long term “painz”…


An infinite AMRAP of light barbell stuff

Ok maybe not infinite but it may feel like it. Light barbell amraps seem to last longer because the bar is so easy to move at the beginning, but therein lies the strategy. Start slow. Slower than you think. If you think you will have to break later in the workout then break from your first round. Anyone who has done a long light barbell workout can tell you, they really build your engine.


Get in and attack this one, by that I mean pace it slow and attack the last 5mins.


My first ever crossfit Workout

You may look at it and think how boring. I did the first time I did it, and I payed the price. It’s so simple. It’s 4 rounds of run 400m and 50 air squats. Looks boring right? The simplicity is the key to why this is such a great workout. You know you can run, even if it’s slow. You know you can do 1 air squat at a time. However you can’t seem to come up with an honest reason why you should rest. There is no reason to rest.


In hindsight I love this workout, in all it’s simple glory. All you can do is work. Just remember to start slow and pace your first 2 rounds. You can always sprint the last 2 if need be


Open Gym

Again we have a variation of the same components. However this week I’ve named what the purpose of each is. They are

Huff and puff (cardiovascular endurance and stamina) – Building your workout engine and learning to pace

Upper body/gymnastics strength – Getting stronger up top. Help you progress your pull ups, muscle ups handstand etc

Midline/core metcon – Make you sweat and get a 6 pack… win win

Lower body strength – Get stronger pegs and learn how to use hammies and glutes. Help your barbell lifts like snatch and clean.

Rep cycling/grip endurance – Engine building and efficiency of repeating reps at things like barbell/Dumbbell lifts or pull up/toes to bar etc.


Now there are more workouts there than days to do them. The intention is not to do them all but to pick what’s most relevant to you. Also if you can’t find them on beyond the whiteboard make sure you go into tracks you follow and tick follow open gym.

January 21st to 26th program

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We’re already past halfway of January. Life should be getting back to some sort of normalcy. We missed the blog last week so today’s is a little long, please bear with me though.

So what do we have coming up this week?


1- Clean and Jerk

There are two heavy clean and jerk sessions this week. One is a pure 7×1 strength session the other a really heavy metcon coupled with some burpees.

So what’s the goal with this?

  1. Move better. Virtuosity should be a target everytime we enter the gym… But how do we get there? Well everyone is at a different level. For some breaking the movement down into a deadlift (1st pull) and hang clean (2nd &3rd pull) and the jerk (overhead bit) builds a really strong understanding of the positions of each movement and is the fasted road to improvement even though you just want to do the whole thing. For the more experienced lifter it’s going to be different. The way a more experienced lifter improves is by getting a cue from the coach and deliberately drilling that cue into every lift you do. It’s called deliberate practice. The biggest key here is taking that advice from the coach. It may mean dropping the weight or slowing down and controlling a certain phase of the lift but if you take it on board and make a change then you are changing (improving). If you don’t make a change…. Well obviously you won’t change.
  2. Create a routine. We talk alot about consistency when we coach. Having a deliberate way you set your feet, brace your core, set your hands (hookgrip) means that every time you lift you will be setting yourself up to do the same thing. If we are learn how to lift better because of step one, step 2 helps us do it every time. This will be most helpful for the heavy clean and jerk metcon.
  3. Work hard. I’ve used the word deliberate a few times now. Hopefully that word is imprinting itself on your subconscious. Be the master of the lift. Choose to do what is hard but necessary. That may be like in step one making a change to learn to lift better. If we are being honest sometimes it’s harder emotionally to focus on moving better than to just grit your teeth and hope. But we know which one delivers results.


2- Running metcons

There are two this week, Both are 5 rounds and 400m. Both have a barbell lift. One is overhead squats, slightly on the heavier side, the other thrusters and burpees on the lighter side. All you need to know about these two is they will make your gas tank and engine bigger….


You do them right. That is you don’t ever rest. Pick your weights wisely. Your goal every time you come back from the run is to pick up the bar up straight away, do all the reps and begin running again. If you are worried that you don’t have the gas tank and engine to do this don’t stress. You can easily scale by running slower and lifting less weight.


If you find that you pick the wrong weight and can’t move unbroken that is normal. We all do that sometimes. Just make a note on beyond the whiteboard so you know for next time a similar workout comes up.


3- Muscle up pracitce

We have a little EMOM coming up to build some volume in muscle ups. If you don’t have muscle ups it will be volume building in pull ups and dips. It goes for 10mins so make sure you start with an option you can finish with.


4- Filthy fifty

Saturday’s WOD will be this old fashioned benchmark. This one is just like the running workouts.. Pick movements that are light and easy to minimize rest breaks. Oh and take care of your hands this week too.


5- Extras

  1. We have cut the snatch deadlifts this week and exchanged it for some snatch high pulls. If you want to improve your snatch’s make sure you get stuck into this.
  2. Also with the open around the corner we have some toe to bar and chest to bar practice. Look after your shoulders and hands and focus on the skill of the movement this week over the volume.


6-Open gym

We have the usual suspects in there (without the sexual predator of course). However please note they are getting a bit bigger and tougher from now until the open. I’ve also slipped in a snatch ladder for the semper folks. Just make sure when you do this it’s out of the way of class, and keep in mind we will be doing a run through in class next week of it as well.


The sum up

Deliberately make a change and you’ll change – Don’t make a change and you won’t change

January 7th to 13th program

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What’s happening this week?



We have two lifting days this week


  1. Front squats – Pretty simple session of 7 sets of 3. However the emphasis is going to be on your tonnage. That is to say how much weight you lift over the whole session, not just in one set. When we put this one on the whiteboard the score will be your total, not your heaviest or your range. Eg if you lift 100kg for each set your total will be 2100kg (7x3x100). However if you build to the same weight at say 5kg per set from 70-100kg your total will be 1785kg. It’s easy to see from this that the first method is more work which is the goal.
  2. Split jerks – Not a skill we get at very often. So we approach differently. It’s the same rep scheme however for a lot of us the increased technical requirements of the jerks will mean a bit more changing of the weights to find what is a good working weight. The goal should be to find a good weight for the last 2-3 sets. In summary you’ll probably build for a few sets, then try to hold the same weight for a few.



There is one metcon of mention this week. It has everyone’s favourites. Rowing, running, double unders and wall balls. What you need to know.

  1. This may transform you into a superhuman being
  2. You have to no rep yourself – Get ready for the open. During that someone will be no repping you. So better you prepare yourself now.
  3. Your approach will make or break the intent of the workout

Let’s break it down. It will be long, 20-30mins, and gassy. The intent is to make you move for those 20-30mins. There are 3 rounds of wall balls to do. They are 50/35/20 and when you first pick up the ball the intent is to keep it moving. I don’t mean unbroken but just having one, maybe two strategic very short rests. The ball you pick will determine your success at this. It’s easy to go too heavy and be breaking every 5-10 reps, but it’s hard to go too light. If you begin with a ball and you fear it’s too light and easy, then just keep going. Do all 50/35/20 unbroken. Then make a note on beyond the whiteboard after the session that you did the workout without needing a rest and it was easy. If it feels easy to start but you break once or twice per round make a note that the weight was either perfect or… You broke for no reason and your mental game is an area you need to work on.


Gymnastic skills

There is so much gymnastic work available to help you progress as much as possible before the open. We have today’s ring dips and more strict muscle ups later in the week. Heaps of abs (you can’t do gymnastic movements without abs). There are chest to bar pull ups practice in the open gym program and strict pull ups in extras (note there are no pull ups in wods this week).

What you need to know

  1. Do as much gymnastics as you can. It will pay off
  2. Make sure you warm up and prepare your shoulder properly before you do them
  3. Move with virtuosity. That is to say don’t just do them well, no, rise a standard above well
  4. Take care of your recover – Eat properly, sleep enough, soft tissue work etc


Open preparation

The increased focus on no repping yourself in wall balls isn’t the only prep we will do for the open. Saturday’s workout will break from being a team workout to a no rep your partner workout. This is to get you confident enough to no rep each other and used to being no repped without biting someone’s head off. Special note – If you want to test your friendship with someone judge them on saturday and uphold a really high standard. You make come out of it better friends, or you may not talk for a week.