Performance & CrossFit Open 2021 goal setting!

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Needs analysis for mixed modal sports- CrossFit open athlete.


We are getting close to CrossFit open and we like to use open as our performance benchmark every year. In this blog, we will talk about how a CrossFit athlete can prepare for open by setting SMART goals and following a program to overcome weakness.

For this blog, we are selecting a 39-year-old female recreational mixed modal sport/CrossFit athlete. The athlete in this example is Coach Jacque from Persistence Athletics HQ (CrossFit PA). She has been following a strength and conditioning program consistently for the past five years and comfortable with Olympic weightings movements.


The athlete’s goal is to compete at CrossFit open in Feb-March 2021 for five weeks of online competition and improve the racking form of last year’s open performance. CrossFit is a training program designed to forge a broad, general, and inclusive fitness that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency (Glassman, 2010).  CrossFit Open comprises five workouts(2021 will have only 3), announced weekly over five weeks, usually beginning around mid to late February. “The Open” is just the beginning portion of The CrossFit Games® (a series of events to find the fittest athletes on earth).  Anyone can join and do not have to belong to an affiliate to participate.


Given the many movements within the realm of CrossFit, there is virtually no limit to combining exercises and rep schemes that can make up a workout. This simple notion represents the sport “Constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity”. Due to the Open (online format) nature, many movements are eliminated because they are difficult to standardize / judge. So far, in the early stages of the competition, judging has relied on movements that have binary results such as chest-to-bar-pullups. In the past ten years and 51 workouts, we’ve only seen 25 different exercises, 5 of which have been repeated every year.



Movements and Energy system involved in the sport. 


         CrossFit encourages participation in activities that stress all three energy systems. Their relative contributions to overall energy provisions depend on the intensity and duration of exercise, and each person’s fitness level (Dexheimer et al., 2019). Below is the list of primary movements in CrossFit open in the past 10 years: 


  • Muscular involvement: All muscle groups are involved in the sport.
  • Major muscles used: All Major muscle groups are used; 90% of the movement is in the sagittal plane.
  • Weightlifting Squats, Deadlift, Clean, Jerk, Snatch (DB and Barbell)
  • High Skill Gymnastics Bar Muscle Up, Ring Muscle-up, Handstand walk, Handstand Push up, Single leg squats.
  • Low skill Gymnastics: Push up, Pull up, Toes to bar, Burpee, Box Jumps, Step-ups, Lunges.
  • Mono-Structural Double under, Rowing,
  • Time Domain: 5 min to 20 min, 80% of events are 8 min to 15 min.
  • Events: Each event has one, two, three, or more movement combination from a different modality; each event are designed to test work capacity across broad time and modal domain. Excelling at any one event would not favor the positive outcome, athletes must do good across all five events to accumulate the highest point.


Training background and health history:


  •       Sex: Female
  •       Age: 39 years old
  •       Hight: 5 feet 5 inches
  •       Body Weight: 130 lbs
  •       Body Fat%: ~18%
  •       Training Age: 5+ Years
  •       Health Status: Healthy, No Injury or medication


The athlete has 5+ years of mixed modal training experience with consistent resistance training Olympic weightlifting Experience all-around year. The athlete also has good base foundation movement skills and aerobic/anaerobic energy system training.


Assessment strategy and Goal


         The athlete’s assessment strategy is to test each modality individually, such as max strength and power, muscle endurance, energy system, and gymnastics skills(Bompa & Buzzichelli, 2019). Due to the nature of the sports, we must test mixed modal exercises, which will determine if training is translating into performance required for the events(Dexheimer et al., 2019). The below table has the current assessment and goal numbers for the athletes.



Next blog, we will talk about how to program for a Goal. you can try our program for 2 weeks.


Bompa, T. O., & Buzzichelli, C. (2019). Periodization: Theory and methodology of training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Dexheimer, J. D., Schroeder, E. T., Sawyer, B. J., Pettitt, R. W., Aguinaldo, A. L., & Torrence, W. A. (2019). Physiological Performance Measures as Indicators of CrossFit® Performance. Sports, 7(4), 93. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7040093

Haff, G., & Triplett, N. T. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Human Kinetics.


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