Welcome back. We're closing in on the end of the third CrossFit Games Open, and I think for the most part, it's been an enjoyable year for me. Without question, HQ has to address the judging issues that have surfaced this year (most notably in 13.2 but also in 13.4 with a big flap over Jason Khalipa's toes-to-bar), but overall I think we've seen an improvement from last year's Open. Participation is way up, the Games site has been running much more smoothly, and in my opinion, the programming has been better.
Let's talk a bit more about the programming. As I've said in the past, I don't think you can afford to program single-modality events in a competition with five events. You're just introducing too much variance into the equation and potentially letting some specialists into the Regionals ahead of more well-rounded competitors. Couplets and triplets simply tell us more about each athlete, and we need to gain a lot of information about these athletes in order to trim the field from 5,000+ down in some cases to only 48. To this point, HQ has not used any single-modality events, and it shows when you look at the standings. The 48th place competitor in the Central East currently has 273 points through 4 events, which is less than the 48th place competitor in that region had through just 3 events last year with half as many athletes. What does this mean? It means that a) my projections for the necessary points to qualify for regionals were way too high; and b) the cream is rising to the top faster. The best athletes are doing relatively well on every event.
Has the programming been perfect? No, I don't think it has. To be sure, 13.2 was a judging disaster, and in my opinion, weighted too heavily toward the box jumps. I liked 13.4, but I think it would have been a more balanced workout with the toes-to-bar first. I also don't think they've gone heavy enough to this point, meaning you may see the standings shake up quite a bit at the regionals when things inevitably jump up in weight.
That being said, I think it's been an improvement over last year. And hindsight is 20/20 on some of this stuff; I'm not claiming that I could have programmed five workouts that would, at the end of the day, been preferable.
Alright, enough chit-chat. Let's get down to the business at hand: making a (not really that wild) guess at 13.5. Anyone who's been paying attention knows two movements that are still on the table: thrusters and pull-ups. I'd be stunned if both these movements don't make an appearance in 13.5, so in my mind, the big questions are:
1) Will they include overhead squats?
2) Will the pull-ups be chest-to-bar?
3) How heavy will they go on the thrusters?
4) What will the time domain be?
5) What will the rep scheme be?
Let's tackle these one at a time. I think it's a toss-up whether overhead squats get used. I think one of the major disappointments last year in the Open was the lack of overhead squats, which is just about the quintessential CrossFit movement. I'd personally be disappointed if they left them out again, but they may not want to mess with the "Fran" concept (thrusters and pull-ups) for the final workout. But since I have to pick one way or the other, I say they include overhead squats.
Next, I think the pull-ups will be chest-to-bar. I was surprised when they did this in 2011, because there are a lot of otherwise fit women who can't do these. But from a judging perspective, they are simply much easier to handle than chin-to-bar. Advantage: chest-to-bar.
Third, I think the weight on the thrusters is an interesting question. Overall, the average relative weight is still lower (0.86 men, 0.56 women) than 2011 (0.93, 0.63) or 2012 (0.99, 0.61). The load-based emphasis on lifting (LBEL) is 0.43/0.28, compared with 0.52/0.35 in 2011 and 0.43/0.27 in 2012. Thrusters at 100/65 lbs. comes in at 0.91/0.59, which would bring the average relative weight up slightly this year but still keep us lower than average. At the end of the day, though, I think HQ really likes the 100/65 lb. weight too much to switch.
My guess on the time domain is that it's between 7-12 minutes. The average time this year has been 11:30, slightly over the two-year average of 11:00. I doubt they go long this time. Let's go with 8:00, because that puts us precisely at the 54 total minutes from 2012.
Finally, the rep scheme. After 13.4, I think we can bury the ascending ladder scheme for this one. Beyond that, let's face it: this is a wild guess. So with all this in mind, here's my scientific wild-ass guess for 13.5:
In 8 minutes, complete 40 overhead squats (100/65), followed by as many rounds as possible of 10 pull-ups (chest-to-bar), 10 thrusters (100/65)
Again, feel free to throw your guess into the mix in the comments. We were awfully close last week, and I think someone might be able to nail it this time around. Good luck to everyone on 13.5!