The Open debuted in 2011, and at the time, the concept of holding an online worldwide competition was, well, insane. The idea: Athletes from around the world would each complete the workouts from the comfort of their own city or town and submit their scores on the CrossFit Games website. The Open would bring to life the concept of the Hopper model for testing one’s fitness — and it worked. Each year, the Open has gained more and more traction around the world as the CrossFit community has grown. What’s more is that the Open has been a way to track the collective progress of the community. From first pull-ups and muscle-ups to an increase in max loadings, the Open has shown that the community is getting fitter together.
The design of the Open and its place within the CrossFit Games season was very intentional. The ultimate purpose of the CrossFit Games is to find and crown the Fittest on Earth. To do that, the Open casts a wide net and attracts a large number of people from around the world to participate on a level playing field at the start of competition.
Structurally, the Open is a series of workouts spaced across three weeks. Individuals can do the workouts from anywhere: their affiliates, at home, in a park, or even on a beach — although you might find yourself eating sand if the workouts call for burpees!
The Open follows the same cadence each week. The workout is released on the CrossFit Games website on Thursdays at 12 p.m. (noon) Pacific Time, and you have until Monday at 5 p.m. PT to do the workout and submit your score online. At the end of each week, you can see where you stack up against the world, in your age group, and within your division by viewing the worldwide CrossFit Games Leaderboard.
Did we mention there are several options for each workout, making it easy to find a place where you can be challenged yet not discouraged over the course of the three weeks? Here are some of the divisions you can choose from:
Rx’d – Do the workouts as written. This is the most challenging option, yet many individuals have moved from scaled to Rx’d as they progress from year to year.
Age Groups – There are nine age group divisions offering Rx’d and scaled versions of the workouts for teenage athletes aged 14-17 as well as masters athletes ages 35+.
Adaptive – The adaptive divisions offer equally challenging workouts modified for athletes with a significant, permanent impairment. These divisions include Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, Seated With Hip Function, Neuromuscular, and more.
Scaled – Not quite ready to tackle the workouts as written? No problem. The scaled division offers classic scaling options for many of CrossFit’s common gymnastics movements and includes lighter loading.
Foundations – Just started CrossFit or maybe this is your first Open? The foundations workouts are a great place to start.
The Open is for everyone, and it serves athletes in a variety of ways. For most, the CrossFit Games season is complete after three weeks of the Open and is a standalone yearly endeavor. For others, the Open serves as the first qualifying round for additional competition.
Here is how the Open feeds into later stages of the CrossFit Games season:
The Open – Hundreds of thousands of people compete in the Open every year! Anyone can and everyone should participate!
Quarterfinals – If you finish in the top 10% of your division, you make it to the Quarterfinals! The Quarterfinals are also held as a worldwide virtual competition you can complete from your home or affiliate.
Semifinals – The top teams and individuals from the Quarterfinals go on to compete in person in Semifinal events around the globe. Age Group and adaptive athletes compete in an online Semifinal.
Occupational Games – The Occupational Games provide a chance for top athletes in eight different professions — some focused on self-improvement and some on helping others — to earn the title of the fittest in their occupation.
CrossFit Games – The top finishers from the Semifinals move on to compete at the CrossFit Games! Just 442 individuals and teams will qualify for the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games (the top 40 men, 40 women, 140 masters athletes, 40 teenage athletes, 30 adaptive athletes, and 38 teams). .
First pull-ups, cheering, memories — that’s all well and good, but still: “I’m not a competitive athlete,” you might say, “so why would I do this?”
We hear you, and we’re here to tell you that we hear that a lot. But that’s like not signing up for a marathon because you won’t finish in the top five or qualify for the Olympics. There are many benefits to completing the event independent of where you finish.
If you’re not in it to win it, the Open is a way to check in on your fitness, hold you accountable to moving forward and staying motivated for the upcoming year, accomplish personal goals, and celebrate with the community.
You don’t have to be at a particular fitness level to participate in the Open. All you need is a willingness to try, and the excitement and camaraderie of the Open will take care of the rest. Ever heard the phrase, “The best way to start is to start”? Rather than waiting to be “fit enough,” jump in and start, as the experience will catapult your efforts for the next year. Each year we see thousands of people, motivated by their experience in the Open, increase their weekly attendance at their gym, commit to a pull-up program, or work to get their first muscle-up. As a result, they get fitter, and by the time the next year’s Open rolls around, they can do even more. But it all starts with that first Open experience. It’s impossible to benefit from that catalyst if you’re standing on the sidelines.
And, if you’re concerned that you’re not as fit as you were the previous year, don’t be! The Open is a great gut check to help drive you to change that — or in some cases, shows us that you are in fact just as fit, if not fitter, than you were the year before.
The workouts programmed during the Open are no different than those you perform at your affiliate each day. Attending class, practicing the movements of CrossFit, and working to move well each day mean you’re well-equipped and ready to take on the Open!
Sharing our scores is part of the CrossFit culture and why we write them on the whiteboard each day in class. It provides us with an additional layer of accountability and shared commitment to the Workout of the Day. And yeah — it helps make sure that cheating, rep shaving, and false score reporting are rooted out of our community. The Open is just another expression of this. It helps us to be accountable not only to ourselves but to our community.
There are many people who like to play the game from the sidelines, but that’s just not our style here at CrossFit. Not signing up for the Open is like having an abort button on hand in case things get uncomfortable — and believe us, they will get uncomfortable. Or like running a 5K alongside an organized race, but never paying the registration fee. Paying to play creates an additional layer of commitment.
Plus, officially signing up for the competition gives you a goal! No matter how much we love training, the daily grind of it can get monotonous and feel aimless if we don’t have a goal. Fully committing to the Open gives you something concrete to train for and a tremendous sense of satisfaction when you’re done.
If you want to play, if you’re a fan of the sport, if you want to support the worldwide CrossFit community — then ante up and let’s go!