The CrossFit Open Is The World’s Biggest Fitness Competition And Anyone Can Give It A Try

People performing kipping pull-ups in a CrossFit gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hundreds of thousands of CrossFit fans around the world are preparing to put their fitness to the test in the CrossFit Open, but outside of the box it’s not so well known. That’s a pity, because it’s free to take part in and different versions are offered so anyone with experience of the gym can give it a try.

To help first-timers work out what on Earth is going on, I’ve identified and answered some common queries, based on officially taking part in two CrossFit Opens and tagging along using whatever equipment I could muster since 2018.

When is the CrossFit Open 2024?

The CrossFit Open 2024 starts on Thursday February 29 with the reveal of the first workout. Athletes will then have until the following Monday (March 4) to complete the workout and submit their scores. 

The second workout will be released on Thursday March 7, with scores to be submitted by Monday March 11. The final workout will be unveiled on Thursday March 14, with a submission deadline of Monday March 18. 

What is the CrossFit Open?

The CrossFit Open is an annual fitness competition that is held online. Participants who have registered submit their scores for a series of workouts. It lasts three weeks and one workout is set every Thursday. Participants have until Monday to perform the workout and submit their scores.

The scoring element may relate to the amount of weight you lift, the number of repetitions you complete or the time it takes you to finish the challenge. 

Your score needs to be verified by a judge at your CrossFit box, or if you’re training independently and still want to take part, you can film yourself completing the workout and submit the video online for verification by CrossFit.

Then you can see how you stack up on the online leaderboard. 

How do you sign up for the CrossFit Open?

How do you submit a CrossFit Open score?

Once you’re signed up for the CrossFit Open, you’re ready to tackle the workouts when they’re released. 

For your entry to count, you need to do this before 5pm PST on the Monday after the workout is announced. You will also need to follow one of the three submission styles listed below: 

  1. Complete the workout in a CrossFit affiliate gym, then the affiliate manager can register your score.  
  2. If you train in your garage or somewhere that isn’t a registered CrossFit affiliate, you can enter the competition via video submission. Upload your video to a hosting site like YouTube, then when you submit your score you’ll be asked to provide a link to the video. Your video will also have to meet certain standards, which CrossFit is set to release nearer the time. 
  3. A new option for the 2024 season is completing the workout under the watchful eye of a person who has completed the judge’s course

What is the point of the CrossFit Open?

For most people, the Open is a fun way to test their fitness, but it is also the opening act of the CrossFit season. The top 10% of the online leaderboard qualify for the quarter-finals, which operates in a similar way to the Open. The top performers from the quarters are invited to attend in-person semi-final events in one of seven regions: North America West, North America East, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. 

Eventually, the hundreds of thousands of Open participants will be whittled down to 40 elite individual men and 40 elite individual women, who have earned the right to compete at the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, for the title of fittest man or woman on Earth. There are also team, masters and adaptive divisions represented at the Games. 

How fit do you have to be to take part in the CrossFit Open?

Fit, but perhaps not as fit as you may think. CrossFit aims to make it as accessible as possible, and to that end several versions of each workout are released. 

We’ve detailed each below and included the 22.2 CrossFit Open workout, the second 2022 edition, by way of example. The workout involved doing a pyramid workout—going from one rep up to 10 and back down again—of deadlifts and barbell-facing burpees as quickly as possible with a time cap of 10 minutes. 

RX: The most difficult version of the workout, this is the category elite individual and team athletes aiming to progress to the quarter-finals and beyond need to do.

22.2 RX: Barbell load 102kg for men or 70kg for women. For the burpee your chest and hips must touch the floor with your head pointing towards the barbell. You must then stand upright and jump over the barbell.

Scaled: This is a slightly easier version of the RX workout. Changes may include lifts being performed with a lighter weight, the target number of reps being lowered, or high-skill movements like muscle-ups being substituted with easier alternatives like a pull-up or ring row. 

22.2 scaled: Barbell load 61kg for men or 43kg for women. You may step over the barbell rather than jump.

Foundation: This is the most accessible version of the workout for general gym-goers and newcomers. Again, movements will be altered so more people are able to perform them. 

22.2 foundation: Barbell load 35kg for men or 25kg for women. Bar-facing burpees are replaced with standard burpees.

Adaptive: CrossFit has several divisions for people with disabilities. The adaptive athlete policy outlines the eligible impairments.

How are CrossFit Open workouts named?

CrossFit Open workouts are named after the year they take place, and the order in which they were announced in the competition. So the first 2024 workout will be known as 24.1, the second will be 24.2, and so on. 

How many CrossFit Open workouts are there each year?

When the CrossFit Open launched in 2011, it consisted of five or six workouts until in 2021 when the competition was shortened to three workouts. That said, CrossFit has been known to include a curveball. 

The final week of the 2021 Open saw the release of workouts 21.3 and 21.4. CrossFit specified that these two workouts – a combination of front squats, thrusters and pull-up bar skills, alongside a deadlift, clean, hang clean and jerk complex – were to be performed back to back, but they counted as separate scores on the online leaderboard.

CrossFit Open 2023 Workouts

The CrossFit Open 2023 stuck to the three-week format introduced in 2021 rather than the traditional five-week run. However, the second workout featured two parts—a metcon and a max lift—that were performed back to back and counted as separate scores.

You can find all of the workouts below.

CrossFit Open Workout 23.1

You have 14 minutes to complete as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of the following:

  • 60-calorie row
  • 50 toes-to-bar
  • 40 wall balls (20lb/9kg for men, 14lb/6kg for women)
  • 30 cleans (135lb/61kg for men, 95lb/43kg for women)
  • 20 ring muscle-ups

CrossFit Open Workout 23.2A

You have 15 minutes to complete as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of:

  • 5 burpee pull-ups (add another five reps each round)
  • 10 shuttle runs (25ft out, 25ft back)

CrossFit Open Workout 23.2B

Immediately after finishing 23.2A, you have five minutes to establish a one-rep max thruster. 

CrossFit Open Workout 23.3

Start a running clock and in six minutes complete as much of the below as possible:

  • 5 wall walks
  • 50 double-unders
  • 15 snatches (95lb/43kg for men, 65lb/29kg for women)
  • 5 wall walks 
  • 50 double-unders
  • 12 snatches (135lb/61kg for men, 95lb/43kg for women)

If you complete all of this within six minutes, work through as many of the below as possible before the clock reaches nine minutes:

  • 20 strict handstand push-ups
  • 50 double-unders
  • 9 snatches (185lb/83kg for men, 125lb/56kg for women)

If you complete all of this within nine minutes, work through as many of the below as possible before the clock reaches 12 minutes:

  • 20 strict handstand push-ups
  • 50 double-unders
  • 6 snatches (225lb/102kg for men, 155lb/70kg for women)

If you finish all of the work within the time-cap, your score is your time. If you hit a time-cap, your score is the number of reps completed. 

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.