CrossFit Open 2021

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The CrossFit 2021 Open at Sand & Steel CrossFit. Events, Dates, Divisions, Scaling, Rules, and Recommendations.

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Sand and Steel Fitness will be an official host for the CrossFit Open 2021.  Registration is now Open for the CrossFit 2021 Open.

The CrossFit Open 2021 is For Everyone

When people think of the CrossFit Games they think of men and women that are in impossibly good shape doing workouts that are not even approachable by most people.  The CrossFit Open isn’t like that.  Yes the Rx variations are very challenging (with complex techniques like muscle-ups and double unders.)  However, CrossFit provides scaling based on age (so those of us other 40 or even 30 get an easier version.)  Additionally with the addition of the foundations class, everyone will be able to participate.

YouTube video


Just select “Sand and Steel CrossFit” as your gym.  If you don’t have a account you’ll need to create one.  In order to participate as an athlete at Sand and Steel Fitness, you’ll need to have a Personal Training, Class-based, or Open Gym membership.

The CrossFit Open 2021 Dates

March 11, 2021-March 29, 2021.  That’s 3 Weeks Long.

CrossFit Judge Alexandria VAOfficial Judging

As a participant, you can come to our CrossFit classes during the Open where your scores will be judged and validated by Paul (a registered CrossFit Judge.)  Those of you interested in competing by way of Open Gym will need to submit a video recording to Paul for validation.

The CrossFit Open Features Four Scaling Options:

  • Prescribed (Rx’d),
  • Scaled,
  • Foundations, and
  • Equipment-Free.

It’s worth mentioning that Sand and Steel Fitness started implementing the Four Element Scaling Long before CrossFit did.   So we agree that this shift is a good one.

When a new athlete feels that can’t participate, because the competition might be so much better than them, I just explain that many people enter marathons who know they can’t win.  I’ve run several marathons, and it takes me 5+ hours to complete one.  I have no hope of actually winning.  But I do it for fitness, for the fun of the race, and to give myself a goal so I can be consistent and diligent in my training.  You compete for yourself and maybe against your friends for fun.

Coach Paul

CrossFit Open Age Brackets:

In addition to these 4 scaling options, CrossFit offers different divisions so that you can workout against people of your own age.

  • Men and Women (Open to All Ages)
  • Boys and Girls 14-15 (Born on or between 07/15/2005 and 7/14/2007)
  • Boys and Girls 16-17 (Born on or between 07/15/2003 and 07/14/2005)
  • Men and Women 35-39 (Born on or between 07/15/81 and 07/14/86)
  • Men and Women 40-44 (Born on or between 07/15/76 and 07/14/81)
  • Men and Women 45-49 (Born on or between 07/15/71 and 07/14/76)
  • Men and Women 50-54 (Born on or between 07/15/66 and 07/14/71)
  • Men and Women 55-59 (Born on or between 07/15/61 and 07/14/66)
  • Men and Women 60+ (Born on or before 07/14/61)
CrossFit Open Adaptive Athletes Divisions:
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Upper Extremity
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Lower Extremity
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Neuromuscular
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Vision
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Short Stature
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Seated Athletes (with hip function)
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Seated Athletes (without hip function)
  • Men and Women Adaptive: Intellectual

CrossFit Open 2021 Scaling Explained

Based on maps page.  We estimate that there are 5038 CrossFit boxes in the United States at the time of this article.  If we assume that each of these gyms have 150 members, we know that 755,700 people CrossFit in the United States.  While that seems like a lot of people, it’s only .2% of the United States Population.  These numbers are very important to keep in mind as we explore the 4 scaling options in CrossFit

(1) Rx is the Most Difficult Standard

For most people, the Rx is too difficult.  Even if you can complete the workouts, you’ll do so too slowly or your form will be compromised.  I would estimate only about 2% of CrossFitters should attempt this scaling or 15,114 people.  I would estimate that the real number of people who will do the Rx scaling is closer to 20%.   CrossFit expresses a clear and consistent message, scale-down1  But people’s egos get in the way, and then they wonder why they get hurt.

We don’t provide an Rx standard workout at Sand and Steel Fitness.  We have four scalings: Expert, Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner.  Each level going up a notch in terms of difficulty.  Rx sits one notch about Expert.  And so it should, we don’t program for the top 2% of the CrossFit population.  Our Expert scaling is geared to the top 10% and advanced is the top 25%.

(2) Scaled is the Moderate Standard

If you’ve been consistently CrossFitting for a year or more and following a good diet, then you probably should do the Scaled version of the open.  Scaled is a good option for most people who know how to CrossFit, but they don’t make it a priority in their life.  I would estimate that about 20% of people will utilize this scaling in the Open 2021, but I think closer to 50% of people should.  Setting aside the very significant weights you’ll find in the Rx Standard, there’s a very good chance you’ll also find challenging exercises like muscle-ups, handstand pushups, and double-unders in Rx scaling.

Scaled is what we call our Intermediate Scaling

(3) Foundations is the Beginner Standard

CrossFit introduced providing a beginner scaling in their Mainsite workouts on January 1, 2021.  They began labeling it as foundations on February 4, 2021.  From looking at 1-2 months of foundations/beginner level workouts, I can see that CrossFit is still working through what should be the difficulty for this standard.  It seems clear though, they are targeting people who are brand new to CrossFit and are deconditioned.

It’s the same as what we call our Beginner Scaling.

(4) Equipment Free

I think everyone who is stuck at home from COVID-19 is glad to see an equipment-free option.  Some CrossFit workouts can be done without special equipment, most can’t.  Or if you do provide an equipment-free option, it’s not quite the same in terms of challenging or muscle recruitment.  If you cannot get to a gym, because the gyms are closed, then this an option for you.  You cannot get the same workout at home without equipment.  It’s a stop-gap solution for a country in the midst of a pandemic.

Examples of Scalings for the Open 2021

Thursday 210211 – Workout 12.3

Paul’s Comments: The Rx in this case is on the easier side, but the Rx workouts have gotten harder over time.  The Rx of 2012 would be much easier than the Rx of 2021.  In 2021, I’d expect to see a 30-inch box and 155 on the push press.  This particular Rx workout is about equivalent to our Expert Scaling.  The Scaled version is about the same as our Intermediate option.  Foundations in this case is just pathetic.  It’s way too easy to be a competition workout.  If you need to do that level of scaling, you probably should just do personal training or yoga.  The Equipment-Free option is fine.  V-ups are still a far cry from toes 2 bar, but at least it’s a reasonably scaled variation.


Complete as many rounds as possible in 18 minutes of:

  • 15 box jumps
  • 12 push presses
  • 9 toes-to-bars

♀ 20-in. box, 75-lb. presses
♂ 24-in. box, 115-lb. presses

Post rounds completed to comments.
Compare to 120308.


Complete as many rounds as possible in 18 minutes of:

  • 15 box jumps or step-ups
  • 12 push presses
  • 9 hanging knee-raises

♀ 20-in. box, 45-lb. presses
♂ 20-in. box, 75-lb. presses


Complete as many rounds as possible in 18 minutes of:

  • 15 box step-ups or walking high knees
  • 12 push presses
  • 9 sit-ups or seated knee-ups

♀ 4-in. box, PVC or broomstick for presses
♂ 6-in. box, PVC or broomstick for presses

Equipment Free:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 18 minutes of:

  • 15 broad jumps, 36-in. jump
  • 12 push-ups
  • 9 V-ups

Friday 210205 – Open Workout 15.3

Paul’s Comments: The Rx is as it always is, unapproachable to most people.  The Scaled is too easy in my opinion, but it is about the same as our Intermediate option.  Foundations in this case is equivalent to our beginner class.  Equipment Free – dips between chairs is a mistake.  Box dips with straight legs would have been a better decision.  Even so — the chair dip doesn’t contain the same stimulus as a pull-up or a muscle-up.  It’s not a direct scaling, and overall not scaled properly.


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

  • 7 muscle-ups
  • 50 wall-ball shots (14 lb. to 9 ft./20 lb. to 10 ft.)
  • 100 double-unders


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

  • 7 pull-ups
  • 50 wall-ball shots (10 lb. to 9 ft./14 lb. to 10 ft.)
  • 100 single-unders


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

  • 7 push-ups, from feet or knees
  • 25 squats or sit-to-stands
  • 50 jumping jacks or lateral steps

Equipment Free

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

  • 14 dips between chairs
  • 50 air squats
  • 100 jumping jacks

Choosing your Scaling for the CrossFit Open

CrossFit’s internal scoring system prioritizes the Rx over Scaled.  A person in the Scaled category cannot beat a person in the Rx.  The best person in the Scaled category always loses to the worst person in Rx.  For this reason, many people attempt the Rx when they should be doing scaled.  In the Iron Star Games, we apply the same standard.  It’s an issue with no easy solution.


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