Watching the Games? You need to see this.

The Games are finally here, and we can’t wait to watch the action in Madison, WI.

We get it. You also want to watch the Games. But you don’t want to be a slug the whole weekend.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation for you and crafted this one-of-a-kind workout for your Games-viewing shenanigans. Grab some friends and your recovery beverage of choice and get to watching!

  1. Announcer mentions Annie Thorisdottir’s smile – 10 v-ups
  2. A rookie is highlighted for more than 30 seconds – Run/Row 400m
  3. Camera pans to athlete in ice-bath or makeshift ice-bath (i.e. forearms in cooler) – 5 tricep pushups
  4. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet says “Dave” (can be either Dave) – 15 sumo-stance squats (with a kettlebell if you have one handy)
  5. CrossFit Mayhem doesn’t win an event but is still interviewed – 5 inchworms
  6. Dave Castro is awkward (open to interpretation) – 30 second plank hold
  7. Emotional commercial makes you think you might cry – 10 backward-stepping lunges (total)
  8. Josh Bridges yells – 15 jumping squats
  9. Male competitor wears leggings – 100 double unders / 200 single unders
  10. Mention of Mat Fraser’s cardiovascular condition (current or former) – 20 mountain climbers
  11. Noah Ohlsen has perfect hair post-wod (aka every wod) – 30 second handstand hold
  12. “Rich Froning” mentioned during Individual events – 5 burpees
  13. Sara Sigmundsdottir eats or talks about eating (to be clear, she is our spirit animal and we love her) – 20 situps and/or go get a snack
  14. You hear the word “varied”  – 10 forward-stepping lunges (total)

What did we miss? Tag us in your Games Workout videos on Instagram to let us know how you fare.

Should Your Event Have an Online Qualifier? (Five Things to Consider)

Should My Event Have a Qualifier?

This is a question we wish more people would ask. Qualifiers can add huge amounts of value to your event… but if you aren’t able to give them the attention they deserve, they could do more harm than good.

There are a few things to think about if you are on the fence about having a qualifier.

  1. Size of the Event
  2. Administrative capabilities
  3. Level of Athlete
  4. Brand Goals
  5. Internet in Your Area

A qualifier requires as much, if not more, work than an in-person event. Although you don’t have to concern yourself with the onsite logistics, you will have to deal with every athlete concern under the sun – from accurately communicating and enforcing standards, video upload issues, validating submissions and beyond. A qualifier is not for the faint of heart.

Size of the Event

Large competitions are natural contenders for qualifiers, however, having an event with a lot of people does not inherently mean you should have a qualifier. If your venue can accommodate many athletes, you may be better off letting people register from the get-go. Also, if you have a large event but people hold off on registration until the very last minute, you may wish to skip the qualifier.

The last thing you want to do in the weeks before your competition is worry about validating online videos. That said, you can still incorporate a qualifier component into your event without having a full-blown qualifier. Consider having one workout for athletes to submit prior to the final event to decide your heats.

Administrative Capabilities

Some large events are run by a robust team where the duties are distributed. Some large competitions are run by a solo administrator. Neither option is wrong, but if you are running lean, you may not be able to give your qualifier the attention it deserves. Consider this: If you have 300 would-be competitors, three qualifier workouts over the course of three weeks and every competitor has one question per workout, that is 900 questions over the three week time period. Do you really want that many Facebook notifications and emails if you don’t absolutely need them?

There’s also potentially a ton of work involved in reviewing and keeping track of video submissions. Be sure to pick a system that simplifies this as much as possible. We’ve designed our system so that athletes can easily include video links in their score submission, and you can optionally configure whether or not the videos appear publicly on the leaderboards. If they do appear publicly, you’ll have the benefit of other athletes helping to police and maintain standards. If you prefer to keep the videos private, you’ll still have a streamlined way to review and keep track in our easy to use admin interface.

Castle Games preferred to keep video submissions hidden from the public leaderboard for their qualifier event.

Level of Athlete

Qualifier events are not suitable for every type of athlete. If the event you are throwing is popular but not exceptionally competitive, a qualifier may dissuade athletes from signing up because it feels more official. You know the kind of athlete you want to attract to your competition, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-none decision. A hybrid approach is also possible. For example, you might require a qualifier only for your RX or Elite divisions, but allow registrations into Scaled divisions without a qualifier.

Brand Goals

You have to get honest with yourself for this one. What are your goals? Are you looking to have a successful event once or twice a year, or do you want to build a competition-throwing empire? Maybe you are looking to branch into programming for the masses, or becoming a memorable event franchise. A qualifier may be a natural thing to incorporate into your competitions.

If you are thinking about ways to expand your brand footprint and generate some extra revenue without too much additional overhead here’s an idea for you: host a live event each year, but host an online virtual event at the halfway point through the year to stay in touch with your community of athletes. It’s easy to offer incentives such as free registration or discounted registrations to athletes who place well in the virtual comp.

Internet in Your Area

In some parts of the world, access to video hosting software is less than optimal. If you know that your athletes will have a hard time uploading their workout videos, you may be better off not requiring video submissions or skipping the qualifier component altogether. Ultimately, if it makes your athletes’ lives harder and makes them think less of your event, it is not the right choice for your competition.

You know what your community of athletes will appreciate. If a qualifier is the right choice for you, make sure you have the right scoring and leaderboard platform in place to simplify and reduce as much of the work as possible. The team here at Throwdowns would be honored to support your next qualifier event with our tried and true registration and scoring system. It’s been designed to streamline online qualifiers as much as possible, and we’re committed to your success. Get in touch with us here to get started.

The Ultimate Functional Fitness Shoe Comparison

Finding your perfect shoe can be a tall order.

There are so many shoes on the market for all your functional fitness needs. Ultimately, the best way to figure out what you like is to take them for a WOD or two. We have compiled a list of the most popular options with pros and cons to help you make a decision, whether you are new to the functional fitness shoe-buying game or a veteran looking for a change.

Nike Metcon 3 – Starts at $97.48 (sale prices – full price $129.95) 

With a beautiful mesh upper, re-imagined sole and outsole, classy plastic TPU for stability in the heel, a subtler heel clip that the 2s, and the standard swoosh we’ve all come to know and love, the Metcon 3 is a thoughtfully designed shoe. The Metcon 3 is best for an athlete with a standard width foot. If you prefer a more sock-like feel, you might want to give the DSX Flyknits a try. They are a little more expensive than the Metcon 3 but offer more pliability. Heavy sweaters beware.

 

Nike Metcon 3 starts at less than $100 while they’re on sale. Get them here.

 

Best quality: Flex Appeal. These shoes are incredibly attractive and multi-functional.
Worst quality: Squeaky sole, although an improvement from the Metcon 2. If you *like* the box jump squeak, then the downside isn’t a downside at all.

Reebok Nano 7.0 – Starts at $79.99 (sale prices – full price $130)

A vibrant shoe with creative colorways and subtler branding than previous models, the Nano 7.0 is a great option on the market. They have a durable coating on the shoe called “Nano Weave” that will hold up to whatever you throw at it – and the rope climb guard on the inside adds an extra pop of color and added durability. Reebok has also added TPU plastic at the heel to this iteration. The Nano 7.0 runs a little narrow and will be better for narrower-footed folks. Their toe box runs a bit big, though, so you’ll want to try these on if at all possible.

 

Make every nanosecond count with the CrossFit Nano 7.0. Get yours here.

 

Best quality: Highly durable
Worst quality: Overstated color options; a little stiff (on account of the durability)

NOBULL – Starts at $129.99


The NOBULL trainer has a classy, understated design with a Toms-style appeal. The upper is a single piece, made of what NOBULL calls SuperFabric® – a durable, breathable, comfortable fabric that won’t scuff or damage with whatever you throw at it. The NOBULL logo graces the side, so there’s no mistake about the brand, but the sole and upper color options are classic and understated (with the exception of the Lemon Drop Trainer). NOBULLs are also suitable for casual wear, and their look fits the bill of a crossover athletic/casual shoe. But, at the core, the NOBULL is a no-gimmick training shoe that holds up to metcons, barbell movements and looks good at the coffee shop after your workout. You may have to try a few sizes to get the right fit, but once you find the right one, you are sure to be pleased with your purchase.

 

These are one of the most durable functional shoes you’ll find anywhere. Get a pair here while they last.

 

Best quality: Classic no-gimmick shoe – versatile, comfortable and functional
Worst quality: Innocuous logo that some may not like; a little wide

No matter what functional shoe you choose, Rogue is sure to have what you’re looking for at the right price. It’s time to find your new favorite pair of shoes.

If you’ve already found your perfect pair of shoes and are look for a new training program to accompany it, check out our post about preparing for the 2018 Open.

The Best Advice for the 2018 CrossFit Open

CrossFit is a sport that rewards consistency. You don’t have to be the best at anything to win a competition. However, it’s unlikely you’ll come out on top if you’re the worst at anything. Your chances of success are good if you are average across the board and substantially higher if you are better than average across the board.

The best advice you’ll ever receive for the 2018 Open: train your weaknesses. Start now!

If you’re not getting out of your comfort zone and doing the movements you either dread or tend to avoid on a regular basis, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The CrossFit Open is expressly designed to expose weaknesses, so put in the work now and prepare for your best open ever!

It’s far from a comprehensive guide, but here’s a short list to get you thinking. Be honest with yourself!

  • What movements in the 2017 Open tripped you up the most?
    • Squat snatches? Bar Muscle-ups? Handstand Pushups?
    • When did you last train these movements?
    • Are you keeping a log and charting progress so that you cam measure progress?
  •  What movements do you hope are not in the 2018 Open?
    • Good candidates are advanced skills we’ve seen in previous opens and in regionals. (It wouldn’t even be that surprising to even see handstand walks given their increasing prominence in regional events.)
    • Do you have a program in place and a training partner to help you attack these weaknesses?
    • Have you been putting in any time with dumbbells?
  • Do you have mobility or range of motion restrictions that hold you back?
    • Proper technique and efficiency in the Olympic lifts are practically one and the same. Mobility and range of motion is essential for all of them, including the “power” variations.
    • Do you know your restrictions, and are you specifically targeting them with focused routines?
    • Try yoga classes, ROMWods, and Mobility WODs and see what works. Test and re-test your ranges of motion where there is restriction.
  • Are you strong enough?
    • Although sometimes overlooked, are you squatting, deadlifting, and pressing enough with heavy weight?
    • Are you stronger today than you were this time last year, or even two years ago?
    • Consider spending the next 3-6 months getting as strong as possible with a linear progression. (If you’re not keeping a log and seeing increases in strength, start today!)

This list could go on and on, but you get the point: train your weaknesses. Try to get to the point that there’s nothing that you truly dread or feel that you just completely can’t do. You don’t have to be the best at it, but don’t allow yourself to be the worst!

Go on the record with a training partner, and keep a training log. Pre-pay for a bundle of personal training sessions with a coach. Do whatever it takes.

Finally, remember: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” (Tim Notke)

Don’t wait till January to think about these things. Start today.

Photography by Ann’s Forever Images.

Gear Essentials That Will Make You Bulletproof in Competition

With so many gear options on the market, it can be hard to pick what to pack on competition day. We have seen it all in the 500 competitions we have been a part of. There are so many options on the market  to choose from, but we wanted to compile a list of “must-haves” to pack in your gear bag for game day.

Without further adieu: The 5 Gear Essentials That Will Make You Bulletproof on Competition Day (or at least will help!):

  1. Hand Protection – Ripping a callous ruins competition day like nothing else. Pack your gymnastics grips, like these Rogue Fitness Gymnastics Grips, to help the fight against ripping. We strongly recommend against using brand new grips for the first time on competition day. If you are between pairs, opt for a more single-use product like Wod & Done Grips.
  2. Knee Sleeves – Competitions test athletes in a variety of ways. One of those way will usually include a heavy or high rep squat movement – thrusters, wall balls, max clean complexes. Pack your knee sleeves to cope with the stress. Pro tip: bring something to put your stinky sleeves in at the end of the day, because *nothing* has the potential to stink up your gym bag quite like used knee sleeves.
  3. Roller – You are going to want to (or NEED to) roll out between events. Your host gym may not have enough rollers for everyone, so pack your own roller just to be safe.
  4. Spare Jump Rope – CrossFitters prepare for the unexpected. That includes unexpectedly breaking a jump rope. Bring along your go-to jump rope and a spare just in case. Who knows – you might have a teammate who forgets to bring theirs along, and you’ll get to save the day with your spare.
  5. Weight belt – You are probably going to want a weight belt for heavy events. Your host gym may have enough for a normal class but not for a full-fledged competition. Bring your own along for added peace of mind. Bonus points if it matches your outfit!

There are so many great gear options to choose from. On competition day, being prepared with your favorite gear is more important than the brand of gear in your bag. These are the five staples we think you should definitely bring along, regardless of brand.

Are you training yet for the 2018 CrossFit Open?

If you’re like most of us, you look to the CrossFit Open each year as a seminal event in your fitness career, and the 2018 CrossFit Open will be no different. Although most of the elements that will be programmed is well known in advance, the combinations are endless. The Open is expressly designed to test the unknown and unknowable and provide a true mark of fitness and expose weaknesses in our fitness and training. After that fifth and final workout, it’s on us to spend the rest of the year attacking those weaknesses so that we can come back better the next time.

Well, we’ve all had nearly 3 months to reflect on our 17.x performances, regionals are now behind us, and the Games are just the corner. If we’re going to come back stronger, faster, and harder to kill for Open Workout 18.1, now is undoubtedly the perfect time to commit to a training strategy for an awesome 2018 CrossFit Open.

In his books and seminars, Mark Rippetoe, a well-known strength coach, is famous for asking the question, “Are you exercising or are you training?” Although the question is a bit perplexing at first, it’s a profound one. He essentially defines exercise as an activity that produces a good sweat and leaves you feeling spent. By contrast, he defines training as an activity that’s part of a broader strategy to achieve specific goals.

If you’re looking for an awesome strength training program, Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is second to none!

A simple example may be helpful in illustrating the difference: regularly completing sets of 3×5 back squats with “heavy” weight a couple of times a week would fall into the exercise category. However, a regular cadence of 3×5 with slow and steady incremental additions to the weight over an extended period to achieve a specific strength goal would be considered training. Exercise is essentially to burn some calories and produce a response right now. Training is part of a broader strategic plan.

Although Rippetoe is a strength coach, the same concept equally applies to acquiring new skills or triggering specific metabolic responses like aerobic vs anaerobic conditioning. Whatever your situation, make sure you have a thoughtful training strategy for attacking those weaknesses and make yourself accountable to it.

If your training strategy has to just show up to class and do the WOD, be sure to honestly assess whether you’re getting everything you need during the class WODs. A little bit of extra time scheduled with a coach, a strength training program like Starting Strength, or a few gymnastics clinics with additional practice in your garage or backyard might make all of the difference in the when you face 18.1!

If you’re interested in learning more about Rippetoe’s training philosophies or looking to start a new strength program, be sure to check out Starting Strength and Practical Programming for Strength Training.