As the lightest male qualifier in the Australian Region and maybe the world, I have had lots of people ask me my opinion of the Regional Workouts. I can only guess, but I assume this is because they expect to hear me rant and rave about the volume of heavy stuff.
Before we get on to my opinion of the workouts, the first thing I want to discuss is the purpose of the CrossFit games and the events that lead up to it. Firstly, I don’t have the ability to talk to Dave Castro and co. so I can only speculate as to the thought processes that went into the workout selection and what you read here is merely my opinion.
Let’s start with the CrossFit Open. I see the Open as the first filter to determine who has some raw work capacity while being inclusive to the masses. This year I think we saw a good spread of movement and difficulty but what made this year interesting was the formats that created barriers which resulted in large separations in scores. I would love to know the thought process behind this and whether it panned out the way they wanted it to, but I’ll probably never know. The take away for me from this years Open was that you can never underestimate the value of a single workout or rep and that you have to put your best foot forward every single week.
The Regionals is a chance to then determine which of those athletes can apply that capacity to some technical and or heavy movement and to further filter the field down to a few people who could legitimately contend for the title of fittest man or women in the world. There is lots of debate going on as to whether the Regional workouts are fair for athletes of differing size but few people seem to be focusing on what I believe is the most important thing – will they result in the the fittest people (as per CrossFit’s definition) making it to the games.
Now to my opinion of the Regionals. I don’t think the Regional events are fair for athletes at the extreme ends of the size spectrum and nor do I think they need to be. There are many sports that eliminate people of differing sizes due to different physical demands and I think CrossFit is one of them – think Basketball and Gymnastics. I chose to participate in this sport knowing the possible advantages and disadvantages my size might create and that is why I love it. What I do think is interesting is that there seems to have been a departure from increasing the difficulty of the gymnastic element in line with the increase in weight or difficulty of the weightlifting elements. In 2009 we saw parallette HSPU, in 2010 we saw Ring HSPU and then in 2011 we took (in my opinion) a step backwards to the kipping HSPU. This is just one example, but the gymnastic element of CrossFit competition seems to have stagnated. Once again without hearing the thought process behind it, I can only speculate. Ultimately, I think the best information will come once all of the Regionals and the Games have taken place. We now have enough of a back catalogue of information from previous games, regionals, sectionals and local competitions to know who the proven performers are, and if they don’t do well then maybe the test of fitness was not as good as it could be. We can not forget that there is no super computer that simply punches out workouts that are the best test of fitness. This is a human process and where there are humans involved there will be mistakes along the way. Let’s see how it all pans out.
For me, the goal is to progress with the sport for as long as possible and while these regional events are going to be difficult, I look at them as a personal challenge and if I can perform to my best potential, where that sits me in the field is irrelevant.