What is the CrossFit Open?

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One of the Biggest Parts of the CrossFit Season

The CrossFit training style catches a lot of hate from the fitness industry with the different variations of pull-ups that many claim do not count, as well as the other interesting movements that make up the sport. However, despite all of the hate, CrossFit is still becoming an increasingly popular sport as it gives anyone a shot at joining, and the CrossFit open is one of the most important parts of the season. But, what exactly is the CrossFit Open?

What is CrossFit?

The first thing we should address is exactly what CrossFit is. Many see it as just clean and jerks, power snatches, and those kipping pull-ups, however it is more than that. CrossFit is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). To keep it simple, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout that consists of mostly functional movements performed at a high intensity level.

Functional movements are actions that you perform in your day-to-day life and they consist of things like squatting, pulling, pushing etc. Many CrossFit workouts feature variations of squats, push-ups, and weight lifting that last for predetermined amounts of time to help build muscle mass and strength at the same time. 

CrossFit is different than something like bodybuilding or powerlifting, as you are not trying to step on the Mr. Olympia stage or be the next Ed Coan (one of the greatest powerlifters of all time), rather you are trying to become functionally strong and muscular. CrossFit is also more inclusive than other sports, and that is thanks to events like the CrossFit open.

CrossFit Open Overview

Now that we have established what exactly the sport is, let’s dive into what the Open is. The CrossFit Open started as a solution to a problem in the sport. The CrossFit Games had an open enrollment format in 2007 and 2008, then there were qualifying processes implemented in 2009 and 2010 called “sectionals”. The only issue was that this format lacked consistency and predictability, so CrossFit founded the Open as an online competition accessible to the masses. 

Today, the CrossFit Open is viewed as the largest participatory sporting event on Earth, with 294,980 athletes having competed in 2022. The CrossFit Open signifies the start of the CrossFit season. It also allows all of the athletes across the world to bond over a three week shared experience of hard work, fitness, friendship, and fun.

So, what does the Open do for you besides giving you some time with other CrossFit Athletes? Well, if you perform well enough in the Open, you can advance to the next stage of the season, which is Quarterfinals. From there, if you continue to perform well, you can qualify for semifinals, eventually climbing up the ladder to the CrossFit Games.

How to Participate in the CrossFit Open

The process to participate in the Open is fairly simple and is as follows: 

The fee to sign up is $20, and you will be placed in a division based on your age and region. You can compete on behalf of your gym if you have an affiliate, but no worries if you do not. Everyone can sign up for the Open, and if you want a chance to win the title of Fittest on Earth, you have to sign up, even if you are a defending champion from the Games.

What Does the Open Look Like?

Since 2011, the format of the CrossFit Open has made some significant changes. It used to be 5 weeks, but now it is only 3. CrossFit will announce the workouts for the week on the week of the games, and participants then have four days from the time of the announcement to complete their workouts and submit the scores. 

Scoring needs to meet specific requirements within the realm of the workout itself, and CrossFit will dictate movement standards and floor layout plans to ensure that the test is the same for everyone around the world. 

If you do well enough on the workouts, there is a possibility that CrossFit will request video documentation of the performance just to prove that you have met all of the specifications for weights, layout, and whatever else they require. Every participant must check one of two boxes to validate their performance: 

  • Perform the test at a valid CrossFit affiliate and receive validation from the affiliate manager
  • Upload a video of the workout to the CrossFit Games website

Where do I Perform the Workouts?

Back in January of 2023, CrossFit provided a list of equipment needed for all in-season competitions, however not everything is necessary for the Open. For example, heavy dumbbells and kettlebells will not be included in Open programming, but there is a possibility that they will show up at different stages of online competition, so it is best to do the workouts in a place with all of the required and recommended equipment. 

This leads to a lot of participants who belong to an affiliate just doing the open workouts at their gym, but not everyone has an affiliate. The workouts are intended to be accessible to anyone, meaning home gyms and other gyms that are not specifically CrossFit gyms should be acceptable places to complete the workouts, if the athlete is able to provide a proper video of the workout.

2023 CrossFit Event Calendar

As stated above, if an athlete has success in the CrossFit Open, this could very well lead to a spot in the Quarterfinals. If they do good there, then this is followed by the Semifinals, and, eventually, the CrossFit Games. 

Here are the important dates for the 2023 CrossFit season:

CrossFit Open: February 16-March 6

Quarterfinals: March 16-April 2

Semifinals: April 28-June 4

2023 CrossFit Games: August 1-6

CrossFit Wrap Up


Overall, CrossFit is a sport that has caught a lot of hate over the years for the interesting style of training utilized. However, it is a very popular sport that is only growing, and just about everyone is able to participate, thanks to things like the CrossFit Open.

Will you be signing up for next year’s CrossFit Open?

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*All images courtesy of Envato

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.