Leveling Out The Open

Every year the CrossFit Open comes around and gyms all over the world have energy-packed workout parties!

It’s an amazing way to bring the community together and celebrate fitness… we love it! 

But, there’s also a big problem… some people should not be doing the workouts that are posted. 

The Open can be about moments of celebration, where someone strives and achieves a goal — we get it — but very often it becomes a slop-fest of people trying to do things under a time constraint before they’ve developed the capacity and skill to actually do them safely

A recipe for disaster = 

A person who has not developed the appropriate foundations + challenging weights/movements + a timed clock + a crowd of people yelling in their face to go faster

So the question is: do the positives outweigh the negatives? 

Or maybe that’s not the right question, maybe a better question is:

Is there a better way to get all the benefits with limited downside?

Yes. And it comes down to control, and having a structure that makes scaling easy, and almost self-managed.

Just as a quick reminder, Level Method provides experienced gym owners with a visual, step-by-step fitness progression system that’s fun, engaging, and easy-to-use so that regular folks can reach their fitness goals faster and safer…

And that last word, safer, is really important… because we use levels, and provide workouts that are appropriate for the person at their level

Every year we “level-out” the Open workouts, so that our gyms can still have an amazing time, but not put their members at excessive risk. Now, obviously, folks that want to submit their scores to the global leaderboard will have to do the posted CrossFit workouts, but for the rest of your clients who just want to have fun with everyone, we have a solution. 

So what’s it all look like? Let’s use an example: 20.3 Workout

20.3 Workout Scaling Options DL #1 UB #1 DL #2 UB #2 
For time: 

21 deadlifts (225/155) 

21 handstand push-ups 

15 deadlifts (225/155) 

15 handstand push-ups 

9 deadlifts (225/155) 

9 handstand push-ups 

21 deadlifts (315/205) 

50-ft. handstand walk 

15 deadlifts (315/205) 

50-ft. handstand walk 

9 deadlifts (315/205) 

50-ft. handstand walk 

 Time cap: 9 minutes

Rx  M: 225 

F: 155

HSPU M: 315

F: 205 

50 ft HSW 
Scaled M: 135

F: 95

HR Pushups M: 185

F: 135

Bear Crawl
Teenagers M: 135

F: 95

HSPU M: 185

F: 135

50 ft HSW
Scaled Teens M: 75

F: 55

HR Pushups M: 95

F: 75

Bear Crawl
Masters 55+ M: 185

F: 125

M: 95 PP

F: 65 PP 

M: 225

F: 165

10 HSPU 
Scaled Masters  M: 115

W: 80

HR Knee Pushups M: 155

W: 105

Bear Crawl 

With Level Method, we don’t take into account categories of athlete, we simply have a universal scaling structure based on a comprehensive assessment of fitness and ability. It’s a totally different way to look at scaling — the Level Method provides a universal scaling framework. If someone wants to do a higher level, they have to earn it by improving their overall level in the Level Method. 

For us, a WHITE level member is a WHITE, an ORANGE is an ORANGE… it doesn’t matter if they are in a different age group — that only comes into play if someone is competing.

It’s much easier, and much safer (for regular members) to use this framework than the classic Open scaling options. Again, if someone is a competitor, that’s a different story, and they should obviously have dominance over all the movement variations. 

We’re looking to mitigate risk, while still having an AWESOME time in the Open. 

We will be providing Level Method versions of all the workouts for the 2021 Open, and they will be accessible through Chalkit Pro.


The Level Method provides experienced gym owners with a visual, step-by-step fitness progression system that’s fun, engaging, and easy-to-use so that regular folks in your gym can reach their fitness goals faster and safer than ever before and become raving fans of your gym.

Learn more about Level Method and sign up for a free discovery session to find out if it is a good fit for you. 

Nathan Holiday

CEO of Level Method, Nathan was born in Australia, grew up in CA, and joined the Army at 18. He deployed to Baghdad, Iraq as a Sniper team leader in 2006 and after being honorably discharged in 2008 went on to become a coach, athlete, and entrepreneur. He holds a BA in Business, earned at night while running his gym in the day. Nathan has extensive knowledge and experience in a wide variety of subjects and considers himself a committed, lifelong student.
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