Training for the 2020 Open

Sunday March 31, 2019
Ben Bergeron & Christine Bald

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 “2020 Open Athletes.”

As we dive into training for the 2020 Open, all of us have holes we’re looking to fill. The lessons from the 2019 Open are still fresh, and for many of us, it’s a long list—row mechanics, T2B cycling, lifting heavy when we’re tired, strict 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 2020 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 our position leaderboard didn’t do us any good. Now that competition has ended, however, the leaderboard is a resource. Understanding where we are in relation to our peers provides insight that can help us prepare for next year.

Lean into those harsh realities. Maybe we’re not strong enough. Maybe there’s a hole in our gymnastics skills. Maybe we didn’t recover fast enough. Maybe our mental game is holding us 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 in the 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 the 2020 Open, layer in focus work specific to your individual weaknesses. If you need to get better at cycling T2B while gassed, start cashing out with burpee/T2B AMRAPs 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 MU progressions five days a week.

This does not have to be complicated. There are no wrong answers here, as long as we are willing to grind. Consistency is key. Doing sporadic weakness work when we feel like it isn’t going to get us where we 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.

Happy hunting.