5 Observations from the 2014 CrossFit Games:
By Coach Rudy Nielsen, Outlaw CrossFit, via The Outlaw Way blog (Observation#3)
3) The programming this year was not only the best we’ve seen to date IMO, but – almost more importantly – it was also the most complementary to the Regionals and the process by which the Games athletes were selected.
Case in point: According to their worldwide ranking after Regionals – 8 of the top 10 men, and 7 of the top 10 women – ended up in the top 10 at that 2014 Games. NOT TO MENTION, the Regional rankings predicted BOTH the male and female winner, and two of the top three finishers on both the men’s and women’s side.
So what does this mean?
It means that the Games were not a wildly separate event from the qualifiers. In the past there have been multiple Regional standouts who got to the Games, and because of the deviation from the styles of tests that were used at Regionals, were not so standout. For instance; in 2012 Team Outlaw qualified an entire group of 220# monsters who could Snatch anything and were good enough at HSPU, and muscle-ups to get through the Regional with ease. Then our group of human tanks got hit with Pendleton, Broad Jumps, 115# Split Snatches, and nothing heavier than 205# power cleans for twenty reps. They had qualified by one-arm snatching the dreaded 100# dumbbell 50 times, maxing their collectively massive snatches, hang cleaning 225# thirty times, and finished by deadlifting 345# for twenty-one reps in between some Muscle-ups. Needless to say, it was not a fun Games for the group of horses we brought (except “The Mayor” Chad MacKay, who runs like the wind and swims like a dolphin).
Now don’t start with a bunch of “Rudy says the Games programming wasn’t good before this year” bullshit… That’s not at all what I’m saying. Our big boys weren’t up to the challenge of the Games in 2012. Frankly I’d rather have had them tested out at Regionals, than showing up in Carson with a group of knives at an all out gunfight. 2014 simply did the best job to date of picking the right group of athletes, for the task at hand.
From a spectator standpoint every event this year was easy to follow, and had some sort of built in drama. Yes, “The Beach” wasn’t great, but no one watches the Wednesday workouts anyway, and the whole notion of swimming around that pier added some drama for me – mostly because I hate swimming, and I would have surely died. The use of the soccer stadium was perfect, and the gigantic monolithic rig that Rogue put in the middle of the field was the first exercise wonder of the world. The sled and sprint carry races were fun to watch and short enough to keep the viewers attention, and the “Muscle-Up Biathlon” was easily one of my five favorite events ever. The tennis stadium events were obviously great as well, letting Camille show off on the “21-15-9 Complex”, Elisabeth show off on the “Clean Speed Ladder”, and Rich show off on, well…everything. That’s all eyeball test, and fluff reaction though. What’s most important is how did the workouts build on the test from Regionals, and show that the correct group was in Carson?
Let me remind everyone of something: CrossFit is a sport that was started, built, is governed by, and is under the control of CrossFit HQ. It has become what it is because they had the balls to say they were testing for the fittest human on earth, and because no one else had even come close to defining such a thing. My point? They say what the test is – you can either bitch and do something else, or try to hit their ever-moving target (and probably still bitch). That target left a lot of really good competitive exercisers sitting at home this year. Is that a bad thing? Does that mean the tests didn’t make sense, or were too biased? Let’s use the ever debated handstand walk from Regionals as an example. They tested a max unbroken HS walk (with a drop and turnaround at 120?), as far as I can tell, for a reason this year. Because it led directly into the “Midline March”, which had three 50? unbroken sections, after GHD sit-ups. Why is it important to get a group that can HS walk with proficiency from Regionals to the Games? Partially because Coach wrote about the importance of it in 2002. But from a “good for the sport” standpoint, do you remember the legless rope climb event from last year? I remember watching quite a few, if not most of the women standing around, unable to complete a climb at a certain spot. In fact, if you look at the standings for that event, there is a tie for fifth, then a big group tied at eleventh, then sixteenth, and so on down to the bottom. This means large groups got stuck at one section and just stood there.
This year there weren’t really any “stand around” events. I thought “Push/Pull” could become that, but thirty women finished that event, and all but one male finished as well. Odd how that works – you have the athletes do fifty-four strict HSPU at Regionals, and the group you get is fairly well prepared for smaller numbers with a deficit. Yes, the overhead squat may have been overvalued this entire season, but the numbers put up by the athletes at the Games were massive on the 1RM, and most had an easy time with the reps at 245/165# on “Thick and Quick”. Also, if you think the overhead squat was overvalued, perhaps you should have listened back in 2005 when Coach wrote:
The overhead squat is the ultimate core exercise, the heart of the snatch, and peerless in developing effective athletic movement. This functional gem trains for efficient transfer of energy from large to small body parts – the essence of sport movement. For this reason it is an indispensable tool for developing speed and power.
That’s from CFJ issue 36, in August of 2005. The guy that started the whole thing also said, in 2002 that you should be able to handstand walk a football field unbroken. Apparently the Games and Regionals were a test of CrossFit, laid out and blueprinted for us between nine and twelve years ago. This year the smaller test simply did the best job ever of feeding into the bigger test.
If you believe those tests are not without rhyme or reason, and the athletes have actually known what to practice for years – then you probably didn’t have a problem with the final test of the season. That is, if you made it there.
Workout of the Day
Back Squat your body weight, 30 reps
400 meter run
Note: “Back Squat your body weight” means prepare a barbell so the total of the barbell and plates reflects your personal body weight. Let’s say you weigh 160 lbs. You will get a 45lb. barbell and place a 45lb. plate, a 10lb. plate and a two and a half pound plate on each side. This equal 160 lbs. Do you see what I did there? Good. Now you try.
Hold on a minute. I see you back there raising your hand. Good question! What to do if you cannot back squat your body weight or if your 1 rep max is just a bit over your body weight. Let not your heart be troubled. Use a weight that you can squat for 30 reps. The weight should be substantial enough that it is difficult to perform 30 reps, but not so difficult that you have to place the barbell down every 3 reps. (70% of your 1 Rep Max should work).
Post your scores to.