Making the most of your open gym time.

Many affiliates offer “open gym” time to their membership. Most offer this time for their members to capitalize on non-peak hours to fill in their training gaps or get some more focused attention outside the traditional class environment. It is a great opportunity to work skills, supplement a strength program, or simply break a sweat. CrossFit Guild offers 6 hours of open gym time per week. We see many athletes capitalizing on the time and are happy they find the time beneficial. That said, we also see quite a few athletes who are very sporadic in their approaches to open gym and quite possibly leave the box no better than when they arrived. So, here are some general guidelines that will help you make the most of your open gym sessions in the future.

1. Have a plan. Set a goal for your training session and work toward that goal. Skills drills are a perfect fit for open gym because you can make respectable progress during one focused training session. Every movement we do has some level of skill involved. Breaking the movements into segments and concentrating on one aspect of the movement at a time can greatly improve the overall execution of that movement. The Olympic lifts, double-unders, gymnastics movements, running, rowing, or anything you can think of will improve with a little skill work. Active Recovery is another option for your open gym session. Throwing in a serious warm up followed by a soft tissue smash-fest and some stretchy stretch will go a long way. Don’t overlook dedicated recovery. Strength work is another option for open gym, but I recommend you counsel your coach if you truly feel you need extra strength training. If you do, then work together to develop a plan that is progressive and sustainable, but no matter what you do… have a plan.
2. Warm Up and Cool Down. No matter how short your WOD may be it is never so short you should skip your warm up. We can fill volumes with information regarding pre-WOD preparation and post WOD recovery so we wont get to far into the weeds here, but we definitely recognize that the average open gym attendee often does a couple PVC pass thrus for warm up and rarely does any kind of recovery unless provoked by the Coaching Staff. Our box always has a general warm up on the whiteboard, but if your looking for something more specific and aren’t really sure what it is…….
3. Use your coaches. If you need a hand developing a plan for your open gym session please solicit the help of the coaching staff. The regular coaches at your box are likely to be very aware of what your weaknesses are so it only makes sense to use their expertise to assist you in killing those goats. If possible find out who will be coaching during the open gym time you plan to attend and ask for some guidance beforehand. It is likely that the coach will take some ownership of that plan him or herself and will be more involved in your execution of said plan.
4. Leave on a positive note. Whatever you have done during your time, no matter how brutal hard easy frustrating or lame, finish off on a positive. Give yourself a review of your session to ensure that you have achieved your training goal and start planning for your next open gym session. Maintain a good attitude and continue down that road of progression.

The opportunity to work at your own pace on whatever you want is obviously a good one. Follow these steps and reap the benefits of a well planned and executed training session. Become more awesome than you thought possible. Enjoy your new status as gym rat.

Coach T

CrossFit Guild