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What to Expect From the CrossFit Open

For CrossFit fans across the globe, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us, as the Slipstream Open officially kicks off on February 22. Whether this will be your first Open or your fifth, this post will address what you can expect when you walk into the gym the next five weekends.  The Slipstream Open is our take on the CrossFit Open, a worldwide online competition that is the first step in making it to the CrossFit Games.

“The workouts will push you, the community will support you, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself somewhere along the way.”

Related: 5 Tips for Watching the CrossFit Games 

But that doesn’t mean we have to be elite athletes to participate. Each week, a workout is announced and we’ll all complete them together during the Saturday morning class (with make- ups on Monday at 6AM and Noon). The workouts will push you, the community will support you, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself somewhere along the way.


If you’re still reading, you’re probably curious about what the workouts will entail this year. While we have to wait until Thursday of each week to find out, we can look to past years to predict what we’ll see. As you read this though, keep in mind that there are multiple versions of each workout, so there WILL be a workout you can do.

The CrossFit Open began in 2011, and there are 8 movements we’ve seen every year: Double-unders, a snatch variation, muscle-ups, toes-to-bar, wall balls, thrusters, pull-ups, and everyone’s favorite: burpees. Essentially, you’re as good as guaranteed to see these. Some others seen fairly often include deadlifts, box jumps, power cleans, and rowing. However, at least one new movement gets introduced each year.  Last year it was dumbbell work. What will it be this year? Your guess is as good as mine, but some things we’ve never seen are sumo deadlift high pulls, squats of any variation, rope climbs, any kettlebell movement, strict press, and any strict gymnastics movement.

The average length of all 36 previous Open workouts is 11 minutes and 10 seconds. The shortest lasted 3 minutes (with the possibility of extending it if you completed the allotted work) and the longest was 24 minutes. All but 5 workouts have been an AMRAP format, with the most common time lengths being 10 minutes and 7 minutes, both seen in 5 workouts. What this tells us is that even though the workouts are tough, most don’t last very long. Neither are they terribly short, so pacing is always an issue. But if all this CrossFit geek speak is scaring you, don’t worry, there’s so much more to expect from the Open than 5 workouts that will leave you gasping for air.


Within our gym, these are some of the most anticipated Saturdays of the year, with big turnouts every week. To add to the fun, the Slipstream Open gives everyone a chance to compete for points based on participation and spirit, rather than time or reps.  Read about this year’s Slipstream Open HERE. Also, you’ll have a judge to count your reps and cheer you on as the workout gets tough. You’ll be surprised how motivating this is. It’s also a chance for you to socialize and connect with your coaches and fellow members after the workouts, with events like the Chili Cook Off on February 24th.

However, the special thing about the Open is that the community extends far beyond our gym as we get the chance to be a part of the worldwide CrossFit community. Every CrossFit gym in the world will be doing the same workouts as you for the next 5 weeks, giving you the sense that what we do here extends far beyond the front door of the gym.


While the workouts and community are enough to make the Open special, the sense of accomplishment after completing an Open workout is the main attraction. For many of us, the atmosphere during these workouts will help us reach a level of intensity we didn’t know we had. There might be a movement you’ve never done and an Open workout might give you the perfect opportunity to get your first one. It’s also a chance to reflect on how much progress you’ve made in the past year and see how your work in the gym is paying off.  I have found nothing else that can lead me to surprise myself and increase my self-confidence more than the CrossFit Open, regardless of how the workouts go.

Related: Measuring Progress Off the Scale 

Hopefully this post answered some of your questions related to the thing called the Open that everyone won’t stop talking about. But to really get a feel for what this is all about, make sure to make it in every Saturday the next 5 weeks to take part in the Open for yourself.

–Jay Alexander