3 tips to smash the Crossfit Open

Article | James Utai-Cairns

Owner and head coach of the RAW Strength and Conditioning program provides some tips for the upcoming Crossfit Open.

Written by Rob, head coach and owner of RAW Strength and Conditioning


The Crossfit Open is set to kick off for it’s eighth season.

Each year the aim is to progress the fittest athletes in the sport to the next stage of competition; the regionals. This is only for a small percentage of entrants and an even smaller percentage go further to the Crossfit Games.

For most of us the Open is over in 5 weeks which sometimes feels like 5 months. Throughout my experience I have dealt with athletes of all abilities and have participated in each and every Open since 2011.

I aim to give you 3 points to help you through the Crossfit Open 2018.


Do your research and get a feel for the workout! 

The Open is tough, it is challenging and it is a test. We all remember tests at school… what did you do?? You studied…… well I hope you did a little.

The Crossfit Open workout gets released at 5pm (PST) on a Thursday and you have four days to do the workout and submit a score. One thing you can do to maximize your score/experience is watch the open announcement and watch how the best in the business break up and implement their strategy. 

Now you won’t be able to hang and hold on with the big fish but you can see parts where they struggle and if they struggle you can bet you will struggle as well. This gives you a chance to try and workout how to minimize the struggle.

Along with watching and studying the good guys and girls it will also pay to have a practice of the open movements. A few reps or rounds (not the entire workout) to get a feel for how your body will react when you go hard for realz. See where you might need to slow down, speed up, chalk your hands.

Practicing laying out the equipment; plyo box, barbell and battle rope, whatever is needed. 

By doing a little bit of prep before you are in the hurt locker might help you stay out of the hurt locker a little longer.


Your hands are your tools! Look after them.

Errrrything you do in Crossfit involves your hands. Burpees, pull ups, barbell workout, hand stand push ups - pretty much everything...

The most important part of your body for CrossFit and the Open are your hands.

If you blood blister, tear or pull skin of your fingers/palm not only is the rest of the workout pretty average (and painful) you also can not train optimally through the week and no doubt the next week or two will be pretty annoying.

The idea of the open is to do the workout for the best score…… once. But that never happens and people inevitably end up doing the workout twice and sometimes three and even four. Whilst not idea, it sometimes happens and your hands can only withstand so much.

I think hand care is extremely important. Make sure you look after your hands with gloves or grips as well as shaving off calluses or giving them a pumice stone every now and again.

(Need palm grips?)


Remind yourself why you Crossfit in the first place.

Have you asked yourself why you CrossFit?

I hope you have and I hope one of the answers is because you enjoy it.

That being said I have seen time and time again people getting stressed, crying, fighting, bitching and causing a fuss either because their friend beat them, they didn’t get the score they wanted or they can’t perform just one movement or weight that is prescribed in a given week.

You have to remember why you do this. It is supposed to be enjoyable. Don’t let the open turn into the only thing you think about for five weeks of the year causing you more stress and disappointment than when you broke up with your primary school love of your life.

My advice is relax, have fun, do your best, support your friends, your box and any super athletes you have at the gym. Cheer on your idols, achieve the previously impossible and focus on the positives rather than focusing purely on yourself, hovering over the leaderboard, hoping your frien-emy has an off day.

Enjoy the test, challenge and experience.




About Rob
Rob is the head coach of the RAW Strength and Conditioning program. He is responsible for the elite training programs of Crossfit Games competitors James Newbury, Jess Coughlan and Brent Fikowski along with hundreds of people across the world. With a list of qualifications and achievements long enough to write a fresh article about (fully qualified chiropractor), Rob is one of the most well respected and successful coaches in Australia and the world.