The CrossFit Open

With less than a week left before the 2019 CrossFit Open kicks off, now is a better time than ever to revisit some of the questions that seem to come up every year within the gym.

  • Why should I participate in the Open?
  • What movements can I expect to see?
  • What kind have workouts have shown up in the past?

And then, there’s the special fact that this year, for the first time ever, we will have not one, but two CrossFit Opens! So read on for a quick summary of the new CrossFit season layout, what we’ve seen in the past, and what to expect for 2019.


The CrossFit Open: Now vs. Then

First, take a look at the crazy growth that the Open has seen since kicking off in 2011:

In the past, the only way to qualify for the CrossFit Games was to compete in the Open. The athletes who finished at the top of the 18 different regions across the world would then be invited to Regionals.

The representation at the Games was always be as follows:

40 men, 40 women, 40 teams, 80 teenagers, and 240 masters.

Everything has now changed.

Why, you ask? Mostly, CrossFit is trying to get more countries represented at the Games. Currently there are about 162 countries that have licensed CrossFit affiliates – yet last year, there were only 32 country flags at the Games.

New to 2019, the top finishing male and female in the Open from every country that has a CrossFit affiliate will get an invite to the Games. In addition to the top finishers from each country, the next best 20 athletes from the worldwide Open will be invited as well.

The Introduction of Sanctionals

Unless you’re trying to qualify for the Games, this information isn’t necessary vital, but good to know. In place of Regionals, we now have Sanctionals. Currently, there are 21 official Sanctionals scheduled – but so far only 15 will take place in 2019 – across 11 various countries.

The top men and women finishers of Sanctioned events will receive invites to go onto the Games in Madison Wisconsin. If you want to know all of the ins and outs of Sanctionals and more about the 2019 Open season, check out a full post on all of the changes here.

Ok, so when is the 2019 CrossFit Open?

There’s a short, and a long answer. Here’s the short one:

  • 19.1: Thursday, Feb. 21st – Monday, Feb. 25th
  • 19.2: Thursday, Feb. 28th – Monday, Mar. 4th
  • 19.3: Thursday, Mar. 7th – Monday, Mar. 11th
  • 19.4: Thursday, Mar. 14th – Monday, Mar. 18th
  • 19.5: Thursday, Mar. 21st – Monday, Mar. 25th

Here’s the long one: there are two Opens this year. The above dates that are listed, and then another estimated to be in October. The fall Open is what will determine which athletes are heading to the 2020 Games. From October 2019 and on, the CrossFit Open will always occur in the fall.

How do I sign-up for the Open?

In the U.S., it costs $20 per athlete to register for the Open. Yes, you can still technically participate and do the workouts even if you aren’t signed up. But once you register, you have the cool ability to create your own custom leaderboard, which essentially allows for you to track other specific athletes within your gym… the city you live in, or even the top Games athletes. If they’re in the Open, you can track ‘em on your leaderboard.

Here’s a full article on how to set up a custom leaderboard.  

The 2018 Open Recap

If you’re reading this and competed in the Open last year, it’s worth the quick refresh… because you can never put an Open workout repeat past Dave Castro. Last year was a wild ride, and three new movements never seen before showed up across the five weeks.

Here’s an overview of each WOD from last year’s Open, including a detailed strategy guide for those brave enough to test the workouts within the next couple weeks.  

The Most Common Movements in the Open

Here’s something even more important worth noting… since the Open kicked off in 2011, we have seen a total of 22 different movements across the 41 workouts. 5 of those movements have been programmed ever single year.  Check this out:

** Asterisks indicate movements which have shown up for the past four years running. #trending

While we’re breaking down the numbers, let’s take a look at workout schemes as well.

Couplets & Triplets

Why should you expect to see more of the 2-3 movement workout schemes? Think of all of those bigger gyms around the world. They often don’t have the space to run 20-30 athletes through a 5-movement workout… or the time for 15 heats per night. In fact, our WODprep crew is predicting the arrival of a single movement WOD to make its debut in the 2019 Open.

Let’s wrap up with one of my favorite questions: Why do the CrossFit Open?

My answer to you, in short, is why not?

You do CrossFit to challenge yourself, day in and day out. The Open is such a great chance to compare and measure the progress that you’ve made – even if you’ve only been CrossFitting for a few months.

Not only that, ask any CrossFit coach about the Open Magic, and they’ll instantly grin. The number of ‘firsts’ that CrossFit athletes see during the Open – first pull-ups, first double unders, first muscle ups – is astronomical. There’s just something about the electricity of being surrounded by your CrossFit family and getting cheered on while you fight through the workout, and battle through movements that have intimidated you in the past.

To quote the Morning Chalk Up:

You can measure your ability to meet the unknown and be prepared for the unknowable.”

We hope to see each and every one of you guys show up at the gym for the Open workouts, because you better believe it’s going to be a great time had by all, no matter what Castro throw at us.

And if you’re looking for some great pre-WOD reading and viewing before each programmed workout, sign-up for WODprep’s Open Strategy Guides here. Because you can never be too prepared.