2020 CrossFit Open Prep: By The Numbers

Sep 24, 2019 by and

The 2020 CrossFit Games Open is less than three weeks away. Before feelings of panic and dread set in from the impending fitness gauntlet thrown by Dave Castro, it’s important to remember that this is a landmark year, and it marks a full decade of the Open. For 10 seasons now affiliates around the world have gathered for weekly workout announcements, “Friday Night Lights,” and countless hours of leaderboarding. 

This year marks a significant change for the Open, a move to October and the shortest “off season,” in our sports history with 67 days separating the closing ceremonies of the 2019 CrossFit Games and the announcement of 20.1. With a shortened transition window, and five weeks of testing on the horizon, here’s some numbers for athletes of all levels to help set your sights on the Open once again.

Making It to Madison

For the elites hoping to make the trip to Madison once again next summer, the Open all comes down to snagging a coveted qualifying spot before the holidays hit full swing.

  • 38 and 31 were the magic numbers for women and men in the Open last year as 38th place Cheryl Nasso and 31st place Tim Paulson were the final top 20 invites after the backfilling process had finally settled. 
  • 501 and 733 total points accrued during the Open by Paulson and Nasso, the point totals the effective cut line for a Games qualifying spot. It equates to an average finish worldwide in each workout of 100.2 for Paulson, and 146.6 for Nasso. Both reasonable targets for perennial Game athletes. 
  • 2 and 1: The total number of reps separating Saxon Panchik and Jessica Griffith – who were the first athletes below the cut line – from receiving an individual invite through the Open. Saxon needed just two more wall balls, and Griffith only one more in 19.1 to move up above the cut line. Every rep counts in the Open!
  • 70 and 72: These were the worldwide rankings of Jason Smith of South Africa, and Sara Alicia Fernandez Costas of Spain. Both were national champions and both were the final athletes allowed in based on seeding to the final heat to start the Games. Cuts will be happening after day 1 this year, but seeding is still determined by the Open, and with a field still in excess of 140 athletes, it still helps to be in the top heat with the big dawgs. 

Sanctionals or Bust

For many extremely fit, competitive minded individuals the extent of the season after the Open revolves around picking a Sanctional or two to try and qualify for in hopes of keeping the competitive juices flowing, and getting a taste of competition that is on par with what Regionals used to bring. 

  • 13: The current number of Sanctionals using the Open as their online qualifier in some shape or form. For all of them you either have to register directly with the event, or fill out an expression of interest shortly after the Open, offering a chance to double dip your scores for entry into a multitude of events. Check our Sanctionals qualifying guide to stay up to date. 
  • 4: The number of Sanctionals that are using region specific qualifications standard to ensure the representation of local talent in the athlete pool. The West Coast Classic, Mayan CrossFit Classic, Madrid CrossFit Championship, and the CrossFit Lowlands throwdown are all allocating spots for top athletes in the Open from either countries in their vicinity or former CrossFit Games regions (ex. West Coast or Central East) near their event. 
  • 356: The current number of individual spots up for grabs at Sanctionals through the Open. A handful of Sanctionals using the Open have yet to declare their roster numbers, so this number will go up. By comparison, in 2018 there were 360 total spots available at Regionals. Translation: the Open is still a major pathway for “Regionals level,” athletes to compete. 

Me Against Myself

For the vast majority of the Open population, the five weeks isn’t about qualifying for the Games, or earning a spot a Sanctional across the world, it’s simply about showing up, throwing down, and testing ourselves each week in pursuit of a better version of ourselves. It’s a version of what we do every day in our affiliates, but with that extra dash of spiciness now that the platform of competition has been sprinkled in. 

  • 4: The number of movements that have shown up in every Open since its inception in 2011. Thrusters, chest-to-bar, toes-to-bar, and double unders have been the four horsemen of fitness as far as the Open is concerned. It also should be noted that a version of muscle-ups, ring or bar, have shown up every year as well. If you’re looking for some things to tune up in these final few weeks, these are all but a guarantee. 
  • 45: The minimum number of prescribed handstand push-ups, strict or kipping each of the last four years in the Open. Additionally, handstand walking has accompanied handstand push-ups the last two years, so it wouldn’t hurt to throw some extra skill work on  your hands if you haven’t already. Turn that frown upside down!
  • 18: The number of times a couplet has shown up out of 48 total workouts. “Kitchen sink,” chippers and max effort lifts get a ton of attention and notoriety, but the classic couplet – showing up 37.5% of the time – remains the quintessential core of CrossFit programming in the Open. 
  • 6: Four different time domains for workouts have shown up six times across the history of the Open. The 7, 10, 12, and 20 minutes time domains have all shown up more times than any other representing a significant trend considering only one other time domain has shown up more than twice. Perhaps most surprising is the prevalence of the 20 minute time domain, which means prepare to go long, relatively speaking, at least once this year. 
  • 2: Only twice  in the history of the Open has a max effort lift shown up as a test. Open workout 15.1a featured a max clean and jerk, and 18.2 a max clean, but that doesn’t mean the Open doesn’t get heavy. Dave Castro often likes to make athletes earn their heavy barbell by presenting a significant metabolic conditioning piece in conjunction with an increasingly heavy load. Case in point, the snatches of 17.2 or the cleans of 19.2 and 16.2. It might be prudent to get the heart rate up, and the lungs burning before hitting those instagram worthy lifts in training a few times. 

It seems like just yesterday the announcement of the Open as the new qualifying platform for Regionals caused a stir from people just a year after Sectionals were introduced. Within a few years, the Open blossomed into a worldwide celebration of fitness that engaged the CrossFit community down to its very roots. Now, nearly a decade later, it’s hard to imagine the CrossFit Games season without it. The stakes might be different, but the goal of self-improvement remains. Good luck!


CrossFit Open



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