Snatches Toes-to-bars Chest-to-bar pull-ups Muscle-ups Double-unders Handstand push-ups Thrusters Wall-ball shots Burpees Cleans Deadlifts Rowing Box jumps Overhead squats Shoulders-to-overheads Lunges
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Number of appearances in past Open workouts
Note: Different variations of similar movements are grouped together for simplicity. This includes the power and squat variations of snatches and cleans, ring muscle-ups and bar muscle-ups, and dumbbell and barbell variations of lunges, cleans, and snatches.
The breakdown in this chart reveals that six Open movements have a large skill component: snatches, toes-to-bars, chest-to-bar pull-ups, muscle-ups, double-unders, and handstand push-ups.
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Mastering these six movements should be your number one priority when it comes to skill training. It might be fun to practice the butterfly technique or free handstands, but it will be of little use when it comes to the Open. If you want to become a better Open athlete, focus your skill training on these six movements.
A disclaimer is in order. All models are inaccurate by design, as they oversimplify reality. Grouping the Open movements in this way is one such model, used to gain a specific insight. Many of the skill-based movements have a strong strength component as well. For example, a newcomer to CrossFit will need to build up strength in addition to skill to complete high-repetition sets of handstand push-ups.
On the other side of the coin, the strength and conditioning movements also have a skill component. Burpees are very taxing when you haven’t performed them in a long time, but they become easier if you do them frequently. This difference is because your nervous system adapts to these movement just like your muscles do. So make sure not to ignore the other movements.
That being said, your handstand push-ups will improve faster with daily practice than with weekly high-rep workouts. Conversely, doing burpees daily is unnecessary. Only one session per week, such as in a WOD, would be enough to perform them efficiently when called upon.
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Know where you stand
A good start for dedicated skill training is to find out your current level for each movement. Can you string together 50-100 double-unders? What about 10-20 handstand push-ups? With questions like these, comparing yourself to others in your box will probably give you a rough estimate of where you stand.
For a better estimate, I have listed here some key benchmarks. They can help you determine when you have reached an adequate skill level in each movement. An adequate level translates to the movement not being a bottleneck in an Open workout, allowing you to focus on other things.
• Muscle-ups: 10 unbroken, both in the rings and on the bar
• Double-unders: 100 unbroken
• Snatches: 1.25 x body weight
• Toes-to-bars: 15 unbroken
• Chest-to-bar pull-ups: 30 unbroken
• Handstand push-ups: 20 unbroken
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