How to Use Open Gym Time Effectively
By Head Coach Matt Michaud
At EverProven CrossFit, we are lucky to offer open gym times between all of our daytime classes, on Friday evenings and on Sunday mornings. With this many offerings, we are proud to say that we offer the most open gym time in our area.
Often times, I get asked by our clients what to do during open gym. This may sound surprising, but the majority of these people have mentioned that they do not exactly know how to use this time. Open gym means that you can do anything you like and this time is not lead by a coach in a class setting. Open gym is a great time to do one of the trainings from group classes that you may have missed during the week. You can also use Open gym for having fun with movements that you like, practice movements or workouts for upcoming events or to do accessory work – exercises that are important for your development, health and longevity.
As we all know, CrossFit is a workout routine that aims to develop general physical preparedness. Many people love our famous metcons, however CrossFit is not just about conditioning! It is also about developing strength, gymnastics, coordination and other skills. Many people try to improve their weightlifting and aerobic capacity, but they often forget about accessory exercises that have the same importance for overall development and progress as correct clean or snatch technique. Open gym is an ideal time to focus on these exercises and to add them to your training.
CONQUER YOUR WEAKNESSES!
Open gym is also an excellent time top focus on your weaknesses or things that you might struggle with or find extra challenging. Many people decide to only work on their weaknesses when they appear in classes and they do not want to work on them on their own. Others will completely avoid a movement that they struggle with all together. Doing so is a huge mistake. With the CrossFit Games Open approaching, Open Gym is a great place to test out all basic CrossFit movements to see where you stand. Once you figure out what you need to work on, you can use open gym to focus on exercises that caused you the most trouble so that they do not derail you when they show up in the Open.. or in real life!
One of the biggest areas I see where our athletes struggle may surprise you. It’s not high level gymnastics and it’s not weightlifting. It’s their Aerobic Capacity! Aerobic Capacity is the a measure of the ability of the heart and lungs to get oxygen to the muscles. In other words, aerobic capacity is the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen to improve performance. Contrary to some, many of our athletes would rather play with a barbell all day and avoid getting their heart rate up past 100 for more than a few seconds. As you will see in the below image, other than nutrition, conditioning is the most important area on our hierarchy of what we define fitness as.
If “engine” is your problem, add in running/rowing/swimming/ bike workouts focused on developing aerobic capacity and conditioning every week. Our coaches are a great resource here if you are unsure what to do. We can provide you a ton of quality workouts that you can easily add to your weekly program and Open gym is a ideal time to do so. Fine tune your engine, and I am positive that you will see better results, overall.
USE YOUR COACHES!
I can’t emphasize enough the high level coaches you have at your disposal at EverProven CrossFit. Everyone should take advantage of spending some one on one time with our coaches! Almost all of them are available to help you during Open Gym or at your best availability. If you have a goal, then contact one of us to help you with programming so that you can use your open gym time efficiently! There is also always a Coach present during Open gym and he or she will be happy to help you with your technique, choosing a workout or can provide you tips on how to progress in certain exercises. Also, take advantage of the fact that you can ask about things or technique details that you do not have time to ask about during group classes, that is why we are at the gym! If you need help with programming or anything else related to open gym, email me and I will set you up with the right Coach to fit your goals! [email protected]
I hope that this short list has inspired you and that I will see you regularly during Open Gym!