Training for the 2021 Open
Friday November 15, 2019
The Open is over, the dust has settled, and we’re back to normal training. For all but a few of us, our daily programming now reads “2021 Open Athletes.”
As we dive into training for the 2021 season, we all have holes we’re looking to fill. The lessons from the 2020 Open are still fresh, and for many of us, it’s a long list—DB thrusters, T2B cycling, heavy deadlifts, handstand push-ups, high volume chest-to-bar pull-ups. As ever, the Open was humbling.
We all have a million things we want to focus on post-Open, but where to start?
We know that we can’t reasonably expect to get better at anything if we try to do everything. So how can we maximize the next six months training to improve our performance in the 2021 Open? What is going to move the needle the most?
Step 1: Make a List
The first step is to make a comprehensive list of everything you need to work on. Specific movement weaknesses are a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Look at how you did in short versus long time domains. High skill and low skill workouts. Continue zooming out beyond the workouts themselves. How was your nutrition this year? Would your performance benefit from losing body fat? Gaining muscle? How was your sleep and recovery? Was your body primed to take on two Game Days each week? What was your mindset like? Did you relish the pre-workout nerves, or were they a source of anxiety? During each workout, what was the voice inside your head telling you?
Now is the time to leverage the leaderboard. During the Open, obsessing over your position leaderboard doesn’t do you any good. Now that competition has ended, however, the leaderboard is a resource. Understanding where you are in relation to your peers provides insight that can help you prepare for next year.
Lean into harsh realities. Maybe you’re not strong enough. Maybe there’s a hole in your gymnastics skills. Maybe you didn’t recover fast enough. Maybe your mental game is holding you back. Good. These are problems with solutions. Let’s reinterpret our weaknesses so that they’re not verdicts, but information we can use to be better next Fall.
Step 2: Narrow it Down
Once you have a list, it’s time to narrow it down.
The revolver metaphor is instructive here: You have six shots. You can use them however you want, but you only have six. What will have more impact? Shooting at six different targets one time? Or hitting one target six times? Bruce Lee said it best: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Step 3: Focus Work
In other words, pick 1-2 things off your list and eviscerate them.
As you begin training for 2021, layer in focus work specific to your individual weaknesses. If you need to get better at cycling T2B while gassed, start cashing out with T2B couplets a few times a week. If strength is the biggest chink in your armor, put yourselves on a strength program and get after it. If you got stopped in our tracks by muscle-ups, grind away at progressions five days a week.
This does not have to be complicated. There are no wrong answers here, as long as you are willing to grind. Consistency is key. Doing sporadic weakness work when you feel like it isn’t going to get you where you want to be. Instead, decide now how you will remember this year. Is it the year of the muscle-up? The year of the strict handstand push-up? The year of the clean?
Analyze, commit, grind.