OPEN GYM // 1|28|15


I’ve posted a great article with some insight about HOW open gym works & WHAT you should be doing during open gym. As a reminder, coaches only stay until 10 minutes into class – if nobody shows up, we go home, so if you want to be guaranteed someone will be there, be on time 🙂

Rules of Open Gym

1. Have a plan. Don’t show up and ask what you should do. Tell the Coach what your plan for the day is and have it approved.

2. Warm-up! Do what’s on the board or look online for some new warmup ideas, but get WARM. Safety first.

3. Do not do anything that you do not clear with the Coach.

4. Open Gym is a great time for Coaches to offer tips & insight. That being said, it’s NOT an hour of personal training. 

5. Open Gym lasts 1 hour. Be respectful of that. Leave plenty of time to clean up & gather your things before the hour is over.

… … …

Open Gym is a wonderful time of the day, you’ve got the whole gym to yourself and you can do whatever your CrossFit heart desires within the confines of safety and space. But with this freedom comes decision, and this decision can be too much for many people.

CrossFitters who attend classes are so used to being told what the WOD is and directed by a coach throughout the hour, at Open Gym you’re on your own and this leaves classgoers with too many possibilities and options. When given the ability to do whatever they want, people do not know what to do.

Today I seek to offer a variety of ideas for every type of athlete for what to do with an hour of open gym.


Past Train WODs – If you are looking to get in a WOD during Open Gym and do not have any idea what to do, simply looking back in the archives of this blog will give you plenty ideas of a workout to do. Pick a WOD that landed on a past rest day or that you were unable to come to. or other website WOD – The internet is an awesome tool for discovering interesting, awesome, and useful WODs to do during Open Gym. is how CrossFit started it all and has over ten years of daily posted WODs, search through the months and years for a WOD that looks fun, sounds challenging, or could help improve a weakness. Apart than CrossFit’s main site there is a plethora of other sites that provide well programmed WODs for you to choose from. Suggestions of other WOD websites include CrossFit New England and The Outlaw Way, but basically any CrossFit Affiliates website will have hundreds of Daily WODs to choose from.

Make up a WOD – Another option if a WOD is what you’re looking for is making something up yourself. Think of a couple movements that you either love, hate, or need work on and throw them together in a classic CrossFit rep scheme such as 21-15-9, or something you come up with on your own and get the clock going. If you’re feeling lost a coach will be more than happy to help put your ideas for a WOD together into a fitness improving masterpiece.

Endurance – If a complex WOD isn’t what you’re after, but you’re looking to improve that baseline fitness and endurance then Running, Rowing, Jumping Rope, or Airdyning for intervals or extended periods of time are an awesome way to spend open gym and make yourself a better CrossFitter.

Skill Work

Open Gym is a great time to work on the things you suck at, you’ve got an hour to spend on whatever needs it and you can have a bit more of the coaches attention than in a class. Skill work can include simply getting more reps and sets in, learning better positioning, or learning new substitutions and modifications for improving movement.

Gymnastics movements such as Pull-ups with their many variations, Handstand Push-ups, Muscle-Ups, Rope Climbs and Pistols are awesome skills that we all need to spend extra time and work on. Complex movements such as Double-Unders and the Olympic lifts are skills that need a lot of technique work and time spent on them. Mobility is also a skill and spending some Open Gym time mobilizing, foam rolling, or stretching would be very valuable.

Strength Work

Getting stronger is difficult and using Open Gym to put in the extra work for improving your lifts is a great use of time. If you are just looking to get stronger in general I would suggest Squats and Deadlifts a couple times a week. You could keep things simple and just try to progress with a 5 sets of 5 reps or 7 sets of 3 reps on these movements or you could seek many of the strength training programs available on the internet. Smolov Squat Program, The Russian Squat Program and the Hatch Squat Cycle are a few rep and set schemes that can be found on the internet and used to increase strength.

If the Olympic Lifts, Snatch and Clean and Jerk, are your main prerogatives then some good options for organizing your work are either the Barbell Club lifts that are posted each week in the box or using the internet to find a program to follow. A great online resource for Weightlifting programs is Catalyst Athletics.

– Derek @ CF Train