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CrossFit® / février 2018
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom

Dave Castro Reveals Which Past Open Workouts Brought CrossFit Community to the ‘Darkest Place’

Since 2011, the CrossFit Open has presented itself as the first step in an athlete’s quest to qualify for the Reebok CrossFit Gamesdave-castro-crossfit-open-6

In the seven years of its existence, the Open has become one of the largest fitness competitions in the world, attracting over 380,000 participants in 2017. CrossFitters of all abilities from around the globe complete the same workouts over the span of five weeks for a chance to be ranked on a virtual leaderboard and see how they stack up against others in their country, age group, and gym.

With Open workouts known for their grueling, challenging tests, Reebok recently released the Nano 8 Dark Places pack – a new colorway of the official CrossFit shoe – to symbolize the ‘dark place’ that so many athletes reach midway through an Open workout. 

“If you’re doing CrossFit at its intended intensity, every single workout should bring you to your dark place,” says Director of the CrossFit Games Dave Castro, who has programmed every Open workout since the competition’s inception. 

If you’re doing CrossFit at its intended intensity, every single workout should bring you to your dark place.

“For many people, the Open is the first time they reach that place. It’s something about the atmosphere and spirit that surround this competition. It heightens your intensity and suddenly you reach this stimulus that you never knew existed. That’s your dark place.” dave-castro-crossfit-open-6

So while it’s clear Castro designs all Open workouts with the hope of bringing competitors to this level of hurt, it turns out that there are certain WODs even he recognized had the maximum level of impact—and he spilled which ones they were.

As you prepare for the kick off of the 2018 Open, take a trip down memory lane (if you’re brave enough) and read which five Open workouts of years past Castro himself believes were the most difficult.

Workout 1: 16.5

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:

Thrusters 95/65 lbs.

Workout 2: 13.5

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes of:

15 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
15 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

If 90 reps (3 rounds) are completed in under 4 minutes, time extends to 8 minutes.

If 180 reps (6 rounds) are completed in under 8 minutes, time extends to 12 minutes.

If 270 reps (9 rounds) are completed in under 12 minutes, time extends to 16 minutes.

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete the reps.

Workout 3: 12.1

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of: 


Workout 4: 11.6

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:

3 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
3 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

6 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
6 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

9 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
9 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

12 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
12 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

15 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
15 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

18 Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
18 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

21 reps Thrusters 100/65 lbs.
21 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

This is a timed workout. If you complete the round of 21, go on to 24. If you complete 24, go on to 27, etc.

Workout 5: 14.2

Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:

From 0:00-3:00
2 Rounds of:
10 Overhead squats 95/65 lbs.
10 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00
2 Rounds of:
12 Overhead squats 95/65 lbs.
12 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00
2 Rounds of: 
14 Overhead squats 95/65 lbs.
14 Chest-to-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds. dave-castro-crossfit-open-8

Longtime CrossFitters will recall that a few of the WODs on this list have already shown up as repeat Open workouts—workouts so taxing that Castro chose to program them for a second time in a later year.

That made us wonder—is there a chance we could see any of the above repeated this year? And, what makes Castro repeat specific workouts over others, anyway? Turns out, he actually wants you to feel inspired.

“The nature of the CrossFit methodology is that if you do CrossFit workouts regularly, you should improve over time,” says Castro. “You will get stronger, faster and smarter as an athlete.”

“It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not reflect on how much your fitness is improving. When we program a repeat Open workout, though, it draws people’s attention to how much they have gained during the last year. Sometimes, it shows you the reverse, too. Maybe it’s the wake-up call you need to get more consistent with your workouts.”

Conclusion: Anything is on the table. And Castro isn’t sorry about it.

When we program a repeat Open workout, though, it draws people’s attention to how much they have gained during the last year.




The first Open workout of 2018 will be announced live on on Thursday, February 22. Until then, it’s not too late to register for the Open or shop the official CrossFit Open collection, including the Nano 8 Flexweave Dark Places pack.

CrossFit® / février 2018
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom