After an impressive January, CrossFit has begun its annual Reebok CrossFit Games Open competition.
The Open is the first of three stages of CrossFit competition. The top qualifiers will advance to the CrossFit Regionals, to be held in the U.S. and abroad in April and May.
From there, the best at Regionals will compete in the annual CrossFit Games in Southern California in July, to determine the fittest athletes in the world.
This year, a record number of over 55,000 competitors worldwide registered for the Open competition. And they then waited until 5 p.m. Pacific time on February 22 for the first of five Open WODs to be unveiled.
And then they waited a few more minutes. Consider the amount of nervous energy contained in 55,000 anxious athletes awaiting their workout instructions.
Finally, at about 5:15 p.m., the WOD was posted on the CrossFit website.
The WOD, called Workout 12.1, requires the athletes to complete, within seven minutes, as many repetitions as possible of burpees.
The burpee is an intense, full-body exercise named after a physician named Royal Burpee, who popularized the movement in the 1930s. The U.S. military in World War II adopted the exercise as a standard measure of strength, aerobic fitness, agility and coordination.
There are numerous variations of burpees, but most typically, a burpee is a full-body squat thrust that begins with the athlete standing. The athlete then drops into a squat position, extends the feet back to assume a plank position, returns to the squat and ends in the standing position.
But CrossFit's Open WOD further requires the athletes not only to thrust themselves upward to the standing position, but also to leap six inches above their maximum reach.
And to do as many of these as possible in seven minutes.
The Open competitors have through 5 p.m. on February 26 to complete the burpee WOD. As of late on February 23, the worldwide leaders had posted over 150 burpee reps. Do the math—that is a lot of burpees in just seven minutes.
The second WOD will be posted on February 29—Leap Day. One can only imagine what the Open organizers have in mind for that WOD.