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Attack Your Weaknesses

Hey Vic City,

The Open is now complete, and we have 6 scored workouts to compare against hundred of thousands of people. The Open is an amazing test of fitness, and with many different scoring opportunities, it gives a very well-rounded result. In the last blog Cam mentioned that this year's Open is your fitness benchmark, and that is exactly true.

In this blog, I’m going to give you some tips on how you can use that data to better prepare for next year’s test. Our times or reps are only numbers, but what do those numbers mean? Like you know from CrossFit workouts, each one is different. We saw different movements, different time domains, and various weight loading. If we diagnose each of the 6 scores, we can start figuring out what are our strengths and what are our weaknesses - you may be surprised.

18.1 - 20 minutes, which is one of the longest time domains for an Open WOD, meaning you need cardiovascular endurance, it required lower skills than most workouts, and the overall volume of the gymnastic skills wasn’t too crazy (if you got through 10 rounds - 320 reps for guys/300 reps for ladies, you did 80 toes to bar over 20 minutes, or 8 reps every 2 minutes). Success on this workout was had with athletes that rowed hard and were able to stay moving for 20 minutes.

18.2 - A very low skill, high pace workout that for some was over with in under 4 minutes, however, likely lasted 8-10 minutes for most. I’d still consider that a sprint. You had to be okay with going hard if you wanted to get a score for 18.2A. If you can move your body fast, and squat well, this workout was likely a good score for you.

18.2A - Lift heavy! The strongest people won this workout, granted they made it through 18.2. Getting stronger and more practice in the Olympic Lifts will help with improvements in this one.

18.3 - Skills, mobility, and more skills. This workout really showed people their weaknesses. It’s not like rowing or burpees where you can just keep going, in 18.3 you just got stopped. Basic skill practice, and mobility work will improve workouts like this in the future. Once that is down, strengthening pulling and pushing to progress to tougher skills like muscle-ups.

18.4 - Basic strength, and a tough skill. Unlike the 18.2A, the deadlift doesn’t have too much technique, you just need to be strong. On the opposite side of the spectrum you had handstand push-ups. This WOD wasn’t too cardiovascular demanding, so developing gymnastic skills and high level basic strength will help improve workouts like this in the future.

18.5 - Again, could be limited by gymnastic skills, but once you’ve increased that gymnastic repertoire, this workout is a burner. It baits you into going too hard at the start and going to failure early. Developing personal awareness, and understanding of your personal abilities will be a big difference maker. Break up reps before you need to, and don’t get sucked into someone else’s plan. A good rule of thumb, if Game’s athletes are breaking up sets, you too should break up sets there, if not earlier.

Think back on each week, what part of the WOD cost you time or reps? Did you get out of breath, or didn’t have the stamina in the gymnastic skills, maybe didn’t have the strength to lift the weights. Work on eliminating that issue if a similar WOD comes up for a class or next year’s Open.

Check your scores on the WORLDWIDE leaderboard. Each one will have a placing, figure out what is your best score and what is your worst score. Do you agree with that? If your best score is the 18.2A, the max clean, do you tend to favour heavy workouts? Or was your top score 18.2? Do you find yourself happy to crush sprint workouts? Regardless of what you think you are good or not as good at, the leaderboard tells you, comparing to hundred of thousand of others.

Most scores will look something like:

18.1 - 57537th

18.2 - 56424th

18.2A - 28124th

18.3 - 74678th

18.4 - 66345th

18.5 - 51045th

(average placing 55692nd)

This (fictional) athlete has a top place that is significantly better than their average. This athlete is clearly relatively strong for their general fitness. However, their worst placing was in 18.3. If they want to improve their placing next year, having an added focus on some skill practice as they likely got caught up in the double unders.

In 2013, my first CrossFit Open, I had 4 workouts that were very similar in placing and 1 that was almost 3 times worse. My worst workout was 13.1 with increasing weight on the snatch. It clearly indicated a hole in my fitness that needed to be addressed. Last year, 2017, another workout with increasing snatch weight came up and it was my top finish, with my other finishes in a tighter, more well-rounded range.

2017 Games athlete, Dakota Rager, is in the Central East region. In the 2018 Open he placed 1st in his region on two of the six workouts (beating Mat Fraser, Rich Froning among many others). In 3 of the other WODs he placed in the top 20. However, Dakota is well below the cut line for Regional qualifications, meaning he won't qualify. The reason that Dakota is still over 100 points behind, is he placed 295th in 18.2A (with a clean of 310lbs). Unfortunately that bumped him too far down, and regardless of if he won the other 5 WODs his total score wouldn't cut it.

There are a bunch of other athletes in similar situations. Although most of us aren't competing for a Region spot, this goes to show that having a substantial weakness is a huge detriment to our overall placing.

My goal each year for the Open, I’ve now done six, is to improve my best and my worst finish. If you continue to work on your strengths and your weaknesses, the middle stuff usually improves as well.

The best way to do that is to be as consist as you can with your CrossFit attendance. Showing up to all the classes will give you what you need to improve. DON'T SKIP WODs YOU ARE NOT AS GOOD AT! Finally, additional Open gym time to work on your weaknesses or joining in on the gymnastic or weightlifting evening classes all will help lead to a fitter 2018/19 season.

Great work over the last 5 weeks, take some time to mentally recover, and get a plan in place to improve for years to come. If you are serious about making drastic improvements, talk to one of your Vic City coaches for some personal suggestions.

See you at the gym,


Victoria crushing the 2015 Open, and consistent training and attacking her weaknesses lead to MANY 2018 Open PRs


Training Wednesday - Thursday

WARM UP: 3 rounds with an empty bar - 5 deadlifts, 5 front squats, 5 push press. 1 samson lunge per side between rounds!

SKILL: Front Squat 5, 5, 3, 3, 1, 1 E90s

Build as you go to a tough heavy single!

WOD 1: Belly Flop

This workout will use our wonderful floor lines from the Open for marking out the shuttle run distance... might as well put that great tape to use! Bigger classes will run multiple heats!

Rx: 6 min AMRAP of:

2 HR pushups, 50' shuttle run, 4 DB Snatch (35/50), 50' shuttle run, 6 HR pushups, 50' shuttle run, 8 DB Snatch... and so on

Score is total reps achieved, no reps for the shuttle run!

WOD 2: 20, 30, 40, or 50 strict pullups (not for time, just get them done!)

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