The Open Parker Project: 2016

The Open Parker Project: 2016

Photography: Oscar Bravo

I have completed the process of redoing every CrossFit Open workout! These are my results and reflections from the 4 workouts of 2016. To learn more about the #OpenParkerProject, read this blog post.

I’ll start by detailing my results for each workout. I’ll list some things I did well, and some things I want to improve on next time. Afterwards, I’ll summarize my learning experience for this leg of the Open Parker Project.

Reminder: on some weeks, I checked my historical score, while on other weeks, I went in blind, not knowing what number I had to beat.

20 Minute AMRAP
25′ overhead lunge (95)
8 burpees
25′ lunge
8 chest to bar

2016 score: 288
2017 score: 268

I did NOT check my old score
Things I did well:

I maintained smooth, efficient pullups
I stayed quick and relaxed on the burpees

Things I want to improve on:

I want to rest less between exercises
I want to move faster on the lunges

20 Minute AMRAP
25 toes to bar
50 double unders
squat cleans:
15,13,11,9,7, rep-rounds

2016 score: 426
2017 score: 425

I DID check my old score
Things I did well:

I transitioned quickly to each exercise
I held a strong pace in the beginning

Things I want to improve on:

I want to rest less between reps on the heavier bars in the 3rd and 4th round
I want to maintain faster toes to bar later in the workout

7 Minute AMRAP
10 snatches (75)
3 bar muscle up

2016 score: 130
2017 score: 127

I did NOT check my old score
Things I did well:

I did unbroken sets on everything
I held on to the barbell when my grip was tired late in the WOD

Things I want to improve on:

I want transition faster to the muscle ups
I want to chalk my hands less frequently

13 Minute AMRAP
55 deadlifts (225)
55 wallballs
55 calorie row
55 handstand pushups

2016 score: 277
2017 score: 289

I DID check my old score
Things I did well:

I took big chunks of reps early (35 on the deadlift, and all 55 on the wallball)
I focused on 1-2 movement cues for every single rep.

Things I want to improve on:

I want to push harder in the final 1-2 minutes of the workout
I want to rest less between mini-sets of 5 handstand pushups


The final four workouts of the #OpenParkerProject really hammered home the importance of focus in my pursuit of excellence.

After 3 painful defeats, I was fairly demoralized. The lunge workout was a particularly souring result. I went into it tired, distracted, and defeated. I’d had a late night beforehand, I had a lot on my plate, and I was blaming other things and other people for my state of mind. During the workout, I did make efforts to refocus and get back in the race. However, I also caught myself thinking, “it’s ok, I’m still getting a good workout.” I certainly was, but it could have been even better!

The clean workout (or rather the toes to bar workout!) was a tough defeat because I did most things well. My game plan was to start relaxed, and then build the attack. In hindsight, I started rather aggressively and then I slowed down in the middle. Regardless, I still got to the heavy 315 bar in time to beat my old score!

Unfortunately, I failed 2 cleans that day, earning only 2 additional good reps. In 2016, I went 3/3. In 2017, I went 2/4. It was a technical fault related to my focus: on the lighter bars, I was thinking, “legs… rack!” To get a quick lift and catch. However, at the heavier bars, this left the load out in front of my body. I needed to adjust my focus to sweep the bar in close and bring it into my hips. This cost me a victory.

The snatch and muscle up workout was just lacklustre. I lost by 3 reps, the final 3 muscle ups of round 10. I could have easily earned that time by transitioning faster and not chalking my hands so much. Partly, I was over-confident that I could win this WOD, but at the same time I was afraid of breaking down and failing in my grip. My lack of aggression and focus to move quickly was definitely related to fatigue at the end of the project, and the absence of an active decision to push harder.

I made that decision on the 55-reps chipper workout, and I’m glad I did. By this final WOD, I was sick with a cold, my sleep was volatile night to night, and I was mentally frustrated at my poor prior performances. Thankfully I had enough willpower left to throw all my energy and focus into one final push. I was desperate to finish the Open Parker Project on a high note, and give myself the gift of a confidence boost before the 2017 CrossFit Open. I wrote up a “pre-race focus plan” the night before, selecting a couple cues for each exercise and a couple thoughts for the workout overall. This helped ground me in my warm-up and give me something to fall back on during hard patches of the WOD.

I ended up with a substantial PR; a good score for me, as well as a good score on the worldwide leaderboard. This, combined with my 14.5/16.5 victory two chapters ago, is evidence that I have made improvements since last year, and that I have what it takes when it counts. I need to believe that it counts for the next 5 weeks of the Open! So, I now have no excuses to not have a solid performance. Wish me luck.