It’s Open Season!

It’s that time of year again. The CrossFit Open is upon us. It’s a 5-week worldwide functional fitness extravaganza in which tens (hundreds?) of thousands of athletes of all ages and ability levels compete in the same workouts and see where they stack up. There’s no doubt it’s a cool thing to participate in. In fact, Brian and I participated in the very first CrossFit Open back in 2011.

The Open is a unique experience, but we’ve chosen to do things a little differently at Power Plant Gym by bringing you in the in-house Power Plant Open. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the PPG Open: why we’re doing it this way, what to expect, when it starts and ends, and – most importantly – how you can join in the fun!

Why Are We Doing It This Way?

The principle of the CF Open is pretty cool, and we appreciate the community and camaraderie that comes along with it. Everyone loves seeing people hit PRs, finally get that first muscle-up, and lift weights they thought would never budge. And it’s fun to do the same workout as thousands of other CrossFitters around the world. However, we also see the ways in which the CF Open is not the best fit for our specific community. Let’s break it down.

Scaling Options

When the Open first started, you could participate RX or not at all. This changed in 2015 with the addition of the Scaled division, which allowed greater access to the Open. (It also made CrossFit more money.) However, this still limits athletes to essentially 2 options (not taking age-based classes into account). Our community is far more diverse than just 2 options. By CF standards, if you scale ONE workout, you have to scale ALL the workouts. This often leads to 2 scenarios:

  1. people scaling way more movements and weights than they need to simply because they can’t do 1 fundamental movement (like double-unders or pull-ups), and
  2. people pushing themselves to complete movements and weights they really aren’t ready for because they “need” to do the workout RX.

While we do see our fair share of awesome PRs during the Open, we also see lots of terrible form, questionable movement standards, and potential for (or actual) injuries. It’s not worth it. CrossFit teaches “virtuosity,” or “doing the common uncommonly well.” Here’s what doesn’t demonstrate virtuosity: flailing around on rings trying to do a muscle-up that your shoulders can’t support, or chucking 90% of your max snatch over your head for reps with reckless abandon because “that’s the weight that came up this week.” Should we celebrate PRs and pushing your limits? Absolutely! But should we sacrifice form and risk injury to get there? No way.

With the Power Plant Open, we give people the option EVERY WORKOUT to compete Scaled or RX. All RX scores will rank higher than all Scaled scores, so there is a technical advantage to being able to complete a workout RX. However, it also allows the flexibility to really test yourself on EVERY workout. Just like in class, we scale the workout to EXACTLY where you are. We will 100% still push you to test yourself, hit movements you haven’t before, and try weights you haven’t in the past. But we will do it safely, intelligently, and with your goals and experience in mind.

Cost of Entry

The CrossFit Open costs money, people! It’s $20 to register. That’s in addition to your monthly gym membership and goes 100% to CrossFit, NOT the affiliates. In order to “judge” your teammates or gym members, you have pass the judging test, which is an additional $10. Do you own a gym and already pay CrossFit HQ $3,000 per year? Yeah, you still have to pay that $20 registration and $10 for the judging course. We understand better than most people that running a business isn’t free. Maintaining a global leaderboard of thousands of athletes takes time, staffing, and money. But c’mon.

You, the member, already invest plenty of money into your fitness. The affiliates are responsible for organizing the workouts, trying to program around them for 5 weeks, getting everyone’s scores in, maintaining equipment, and getting judges “certified.” Many gyms have to run the Open WODs continuously all day to get everyone in. This is a stressful time of year for affiliate owners, and we see no profits from this. CrossFit, however, makes millions.

Guess how much it costs to participate in the PPG Open… Nothing. If you are a current member of Power Plant Gym, you can participate. There’s no fees, no judging course. This is just part of what you get being part of the PPG community. And that’s the way it should be.

Camaraderie vs. Competitiveness vs. Peer Pressure

I know what it’s like to be pressured into the CF Open because I’ve been there. I didn’t enjoy it, and I didn’t want to do it. But when you’re at a competitive gym and everyone is doing it and all the people on Instagram are doing it and you’re being pressured from all sides… it’s hard to say no. And I regretted it. My workouts weren’t great, I didn’t get stronger, and I didn’t feel good about myself afterwards. I’ve heard the same from others as well. That’s stupid. Too many gyms (not all of them) get so caught up with “CF Open Fever” that they forget to ask their members what THEY want.

Camaraderie is great. Community is important. Competition often fuels growth. But no one should be forced to do workouts so they can find out that they are number 6,574 in their region. But so many people do because “community dammit!” Here’s how we do community…

Want to participate? Sweet! Not feeling it? Totally fine. Want to crush everyone else and PR everything every week? Get after it. Want to keep chugging along toward your goals and not worry about what other people are doing? That’s cool, too. WE SUPPORT YOU no matter what your goals are, how competitive you choose to be, and at what level you want to participate. That is what community means to us.

What Else?

Our goal is to create a competition that:

  • includes everyone who wants to be included;
  • challenges our members to push themselves;
  • reflects our members’ goals, fitness levels, and interests;
  • creates a positive competitive environment;
  • doesn’t cost any additional money; and
  • fosters the community we love so much.

We truly hope the inaugural PPG Open will do just that. Here’s how it works…

The WODs

Starting on February 21st, workouts will be released every Wednesday and completed during Wednesday class times. If you can’t make class on Wednesday, you have until the following Tuesday to complete the workout. There will be FIVE total workouts. The last workout will be released on Wednesday, March 21st.

We have selected workouts from past CF Opens that challenge a broad range of skill sets and are well-suited to our members.

The Rules

Literally any PPG member can participate. This includes Open Gym members. Here’s the rundown:

  • Complete the workout on time.
  • Make sure someone “judges” your workouts. This can be a coach OR another member.
  • If you are judging someone, be honest. If the rep is bad, call a “no rep.” If they need encouragement, cheer away!
  • If you are competing, be honest. Do good reps. Don’t make your judge have to make hard decisions. Move well, and lift with integrity.
  • You can choose to do each workout RX or Scaled. All RX scores will place higher than all Scaled scores.
  • Points are awarded based on overall placing in that workout.
  • There will be prizes for 1st-3rd place in men’s and women’s divisions. Also, we will be giving out weekly awards for PRs and outstanding efforts.
  • Try hard. Set PRs. Support each other. HAVE FUN!

Final Notes

You can find the leaderboard, scores, dates, and WODs here: PPG Open 2018 Leaderboard & WODs

All you need to do to participate is complete the workout each week. Make sure your score is recorded (along with judge’s name) on the scoresheets provided. They are attached to the whiteboard in the CrossFit area.

We are stoked to bring you the PPG Open this year. It’s something we’ve talked about in the past, and we think it’s a great fit for our community. Keep being the strong, awesome, wonderful people you are. Can’t wait to see all the PRs and great performances over the next 5 weeks! Get after it, team!

Katie Feeley

About Katie Feeley

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