On the 13th of February The Dave Castro was interviewed by The CrossFit Games as part of their run-up to the start of The Open. I’m pretty sure he got the reaction he wanted and made the vast majority of CrossFit populace into mild arrhythmia.

In his interview, he mentioned that he would be expanding the limits of what would be tested in The Open. Essentially, he means brace yourselves, it’s gonna be rough. Quite why this is shocking, I’m not sure, but it is very interesting.

Prepare for the Unknown and Unknowable 

The purpose of CrossFit is to prepare for the unknown and unknowable by training constantly varied, functional movements. And to do so, at high intensity. IF you are consistent and attentive to this process, you will be able to move large loads long distances, fast. It’s in the Level 1 handbook. And all over the crossfit.com web page. It’s most certainly not a secret.

What I do think, is that with this being the 8th year of The Open, certain patterns have been identified by more attentive coaches and those have become #traininghacks that have been sold to the masses as preparation guides. And this is awesome. People should be aware of what has come before so as to prepare for the future. At Shumba, in sunny South Shithole, we have most certainly done something to that effect, in fact, we’ll post what we’ve done so you can compare.

The Gospel of The Dave Castro

Josh Bridges (Games athlete, Navy SEAL, former student of TDC) said it best:

Dave Castro Is A Prick. In an endearing kind of way. Coz he gives a shit about you not being a lazy sheep that wanders through the pastures of fitness mindlessly.

He showed us how much he cared in 2017 by introducing dumbbell movements into The Open. The world lost its damn mind. He didn’t do anything special (although some insider trading investigation at Rogue Fitness may prove differently), he just asked that we, as the CrossFit community, not get too comfortable with what we’ve grown accustomed to i.e. lifting barbells only.

As a SEAL himself, TDC was a fanatical analyst of methods that would best prepare himself and his troops for situations they would not be able to have complete control over. He knew the best way to exert any control over those situations was to be as prepared as possible. To leave no stone unturned in gathering information and running through scenarios that you may encounter. That approach has flowed into his role with The CrossFit Games and for most of us, our most direct experience is with The Open.

He’s going to challenge you. He’s really good at his job. Don’t prepare randomly. Conversely, don’t be limited in your preparation by assuming what he will throw at us.

What’s The Best Approach To Preparation Then?

We can not hope to know what will come our way. But we can be informed by what has come before us, and what hasn’t.

We can only control what is within our control. Because we don’t know what is coming, there is no point in panicking about it.

We do know whatever does come our way, has to be a few things though:

  • Accessible to a garage gym (big push on main-site this year, which is fantastic)
  • Simple to judge. Because CrossFit runs predominantly an honour system, the judging standards need to be simple and clear.
  • As such, so do the movements. Simple movements means simple judging and less room for interpretation (read: manipulation/cheating/misrepresenting)

We have data from 7 previous Open competitions. USE IT! Over 50% of the workouts have been 8 minutes or shorter… The vast majority are AMRAPs…

There’s a lot more there if you care to look. But the most simple but important take-home message about the data we have in relation to formulating a balanced preparation plan would be to pay attention to the fundamentals. There’s nothing “crazy” that comes our way. You are required to prove your baseline fitness across the most simple functional movements (and their derivatives) you would encounter on a day-to-day basis:

squat. lift. pull-up. carry. throw. Simple.

There is a balance between gymnastics movements, weightlifting/weight-bearing and monostructural/cardio movements.

If you have paid attention to the fundamentals and used a varied approach with regards to time domains of workouts and loads used, then you will be as prepared as you can possibly be for the test. There is no reason to fear The Open. To borrow a phrase from Josh Bridges again, “it’s just a workout, go hard.” And that really is it, it’s just another workout, it’s not life or death. You can’t fail it. You can find out how you would like to do better and whether you’d like to put in more work, but you can’t fuck it up…it’s just exercise!

We will be posting what Shumba has been doing for the first 3 weeks of our training, in order to prepare for this year’s Open. You are welcome to compare, criticise, use, steal, question us on it, and we’d be happy to engage you on your opinions.

Please don’t get yourselves in a mess about this year’s (apparent) push towards “new” tests and outside-the-box thinking. Meet it head on and use it to eradicate complacency in your thinking and programming/training. After all, that’s what CrossFit is trying to do; defeat the arch enemy that is Routine.

Live Untamed.

Enter The Open. let’s face The Dave Castro together!