Virtuosity and Work Capacity…The Magic of the CrossFit Open – CrossFit and Fearless

Virtuosity and Work Capacity…The Magic of the CrossFit Open


Virtuosity and Work Capacity…The Magic of the CrossFit Open

Here we go again, it’s time for the CrossFit Open, that means it’s time to buckle down and attack the workouts. I’ve been thinking about this blog for some time, the one thing I don’t want to do is tell you is “Why I do the open, by Coach Ray”, instead I’d like to talk about what the Open actually shows us about our fitness. The weights tend to be light, the workouts relatively short, and while some advanced skills are needed, they are not a deal breaker. Why, because you can always perform the scaled option.

So the magic of the open in terms of fitness is its ability to magnify our lack of Virtuosity and Work Capacity.


“Doing the common, uncommonly well”, that’s the definition of Virtuosity. In other words, the most basic of concepts are the most important foundations for any complex movement, skill, or idea. Example: The air squat is the foundation of the back, front, and overhead squats. I can immediately tell if you will have trouble in any of the barbell squats simply by the way you move in your air squat.

Virtuosity would be your quest to refine the air squat in all aspects of the movement; do you have an acceptable amount of ankle, hip, and torso flexibility? Are you able to control your descent, while allowing your knees to track over your toes, and maintaining a tall chest? A perfect air squat will translate to better barbell squats, thrusters, and wall balls. If you don’t work on the nuances of your movement you will never perfect it. Bad technique will always translate to a bad performance.

Work Capacity:

How much work can you do in a given amount of time (rounds for time, max reps in given time). Work capacity comes from conditioning all three of your energy systems across varied time intervals and intensities. So if you skip the slow long workouts that are 20+ min, you will likely not be able to work continuously for 1 hour. The same can be said about those that skip the short, hard, and painful workouts. Missing out on those will be clear when your unable to generate the necessary intensity to move fast in a short workout.

The CrossFit Open magnifies our crappy movement and lack of work capacity in 2 ways.

  • Crappy movement translates to higher energy cost. Quite literally, if you move bad you require more energy to complete a given task. That means a thruster repeated 45 times will feel easier for an athlete who moves efficiently.
  • The higher energy cost creates metabolic byproducts – lactate and heat. These byproducts have to be dealt with through hyperventilation and increased sweating. Both of these responses unfortunately increase heart rate, decrease blood volume, and when your body is unable to provide the necessary blood, nutrients, and buffering effects it fails. You feel this as muscle fatigue, shortness of breath, and sometimes dizziness.

That in essence is the magic of the Open. You don’t have to be the strongest or fastest, but you need to move well and grind.

How does this encourage you to participate? Easy, you already have everything you need.

Over the past 8 months we have worked diligently at refining our lifting technique, increasing our strength, and most importantly over the past 2 months we have focused greatly on conditioning.

Lastly every Friday we’ll come together as a community to workout, cheer, and most importantly hang out with good people!!!

-Coach Ray


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