The CrossFit Open is Losing Its Sweaty Glow

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Muscle-ups will likely be part of an Open workout. Can you do them? If not should you still compete?

I love the CrossFit Open. This worldwide search for the fittest man and woman is the most unique fitness competition ever. With nothing more than a video camera and an internet connect CrossFit creates a global playing field. The fittest person in the world may be hitting it hard in her garage thousands of miles away from the nearest affiliate. The Open gives this person a chance to test herself against thousands of like-minded people.

I remember 14.1 when it was 11.1. Back then I was just beginning to get a handle on the constant variety that is CrossFit. I remember struggling with 55lbs and barely stringing together more than five double unders. I got 134 reps then. Today I’m a lot stronger and have mastered more CrossFit skills and so I was very pleased when I knocked off 260 reps.

Sam Briggs holds the top spot for the women with 472 reps. My 260 reps is a respectable score, but it isn’t good enough for the Open leaderboard. According to the leaderboard that would put me in a 400 way tie for 11,000th spot. At the opposite end of the spectrum there are thousands of athletes competing for last place with one double under recorded. The inclusive nature of the Open is admirable, but this year I’m questioning why tens of thousands of people are even on the leaderboard.

Only the best make it to the Regionals.

Only the best make it to the Regionals.

I get that affiliates want to get their members excited about the Games and promote the CrossFit community, but there are other ways to do it than having people who are not capable of the workout standards paying to participate. Certainly those people who posted one rep know they’ll never make it to the next workout, never mind the Regionals.  It’s like going to a track meet and expecting a pass to the national level when you can barely run 400m. It takes away from the athletes who legitimately stand a chance. In many respects it is also fodder for CrossFit haters. Allowing one rep scores to stand dummies down the competition and makes it look like a farce.

The Open is in its fourth year and the competition is getting tough. This great event is quickly losing its luster.  Here are a few suggestions in case CrossFit HQ is reading:

·         Set minimum rep requirements for each workout. All of the Open workouts have been tried and tested and therefore a realistic, but challenging minimum number can be established. In 14.1 I would say anything over 260 reps would be worth posting. I’d rather be in last place with 260 reps than one.

·         Triple the entry fee. I can imagine that the mindset at most affiliates is something like this: “It’s only twenty bucks. Why not?” A sixty dollar entry fee makes people think twice. In this case only those who meet the skill and minimum rep requirements would participate. Chances are there would still be over 100,000 participants worldwide.

·         CrossFit could create a subscription based service where average CrossFit athletes can post scores. In this case there would be specific scaling standards for men and women, masters and newbies alike. This would allow participants to compare their scores with athletes locally and globally all year long.

This sport is growing fast and there will be some bumps along the way. In an effort to foster elite fitness and world-class competition there needs to be a more impressive show of athleticism right from the first Open workout. CrossFit is for everyone, but the Open is not.

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  1. […] I love the CrossFit Open. This worldwide search for the fittest man and woman is the most unique fitness competition ever. With nothing more than a video camera and an internet connect CrossFit creates a global playing field. The fittest person in the world may be hitting it hard in her garage thousands of miles away from the nearest affiliate. The Open gives this person a chance to test herself against thousands of like-minded people. I remember 14.1 when it was 11.1. Back then I was just beginning to get a handle on the constant variety that is CrossFit. I remember struggling with 55lbs and barely stringing together more than five double unders. I got 134 reps then. Today I’m a lot stronger and have mastered more CrossFit skills and so I was very pleased when I knocked off 260 reps. Sam Briggs holds the top spot for the women with 472 reps. My 260 reps is a respectable score, but it isn’t good enough for the Open leaderboard. According to the leaderboard that would put me in a 400 way tie for 11,000th spot. At the opposite end of the spectrum there are thousands of athletes competing for last place with one double under recorded. The inclusive nature of the Open is admirable, but this year I’m questioning why tens of thousands of people are even on the leaderboard. Read More……. […]



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