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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quick Hits: Open Week 3 Initial Thoughts

After hinting early on that there might be a repeat workout again this year, HQ delivered this week by repeating 12.4 as 13.3. I thought they might have considered 13.1 to be a "repeat," since it was just a mash-up of 12.1 and 12.2, but obviously they wanted to go with an exact duplicate this week. My thoughts:

  • I wasn't too upset that they picked this one to repeat. It's a workout where you can certainly make big strides over last year by fixing one or two weaknesses. For me, I was able to go much more smoothly on the wall balls and double-unders and save a lot more energy for muscle-ups. I scored 253 compared with 246 and 243 on two attempts last year. Part of that was strategy, no doubt, but I'd like to think that some improved fitness contributed as well.
  • After the judging fiascos from 13.2*, I'm glad HQ decided to go with a workout that was lot more easier to judge. Sure, depth is always tough to judge on squats, but for the top dogs, we're talking about muscle-ups making the big difference, and those are hard to cheat. I'm glad we saw Kristan Clever called out on the big kips a few times during the demo. I have nothing against Clever, but it's nice to see the judges willing to call out the sport's top athletes. We need things like this.
  • You could certainly argue that there is no need for the restriction on the height of the feet on muscle-ups, but in my opinion it's a good rule. The muscle-up is meant to be an upper body movement, and this keeps it that way. If you want to have uprises in the competition, fine, but they can be a separate movement, just as the snatch and clean and jerk are two different movements despite starting and ending in the same spot. Everything in CrossFit doesn't always have to be purely about functionality. Otherwise we'd have no need for the rules regarding squat depth, because life rarely demands you bend your knees to an arbitrary angle. 
  • Continuing on this train of thought (sorry, rambling a bit here), let's treat this sport as what it is: a sport. It's an attempt to find the fittest athletes in the world, but at the end of the day, we're finding the best CrossFitter. They can be called the "fittest man/woman on Earth," but let's not get carried away in trying to prove this in any sort of absolute terms. It's a fantastic sport, but it's not a science experiment.
  • OK, back to 13.3. I had forgotten how critical the accuracy component can be in the wall ball. For me, and many long-time CrossFitters, hitting the wall ball target consistently has become second nature. But for many new athletes, or those who have recently moved up to a heavier ball, achieving an accurate toss can prove difficult. Over the course of 150 wall balls, a lack of accuracy really adds up, not only in terms of missed reps but reps that are more difficult than they need to be because the ball didn't rebound back smoothly.
  • That being said, I'd love to see HQ throw in wall balls at a different height at the Regional or Games level. These top athletes have no trouble hitting the 10'/9' target, so why not test their accuracy on an different height? Multiple heights in the same workout? Perhaps ball tosses over an object, as opposed to at an object? And let's face it, watching even the best athletes in the world do regular old wall balls just isn't that exciting.
Well, that's it for now. I'll be back on Monday night to try and redeem myself after my last scientific wild-ass guess (SWAG) was basically a big swing and a miss on 13.3. Let's see if we can't get a bit closer this week. And feel free to chime in with your prediction. If you get it right, I'll reward you with a high five if we ever meet.

*For those not aware, Josh Golden was disqualified after posting a score of 387 (tied for tops in the world). Although the workout was validated at an affiliate, a video surfaced showing this performance with a substantial number of reps not up to standard. HQ decided to disqualify him based on this video, and of course the internet then exploded. Also, earlier today, Danielle Sidell's score of 420 (which was tops in the world by nearly 40 reps) was removed due to box jumps that were not up to standard. No video has been released publicly, but I have to believe that if HQ was willing to invalidate a score that no one else will ever see, it must have been obviously sub-standard. So in summary, the top men's score in the world and the top women's score in the world were both invalidated. That's generally not a good thing.

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