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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fun With SWAGs: What Will 15.4 Be?

Last week's SWAG was another half-way decent one that at least got the time domain close (15 minutes vs. 14 minutes) and got one movement right (wall balls), but it wasn't exactly spot-on.  I certainly didn't predict that muscle-ups would appear first in 15.3, but as you'll hear on the podcast below, this wasn't something that came completely out of nowhere.

This week I double-down on an earlier pick, because it just seems too good to pass up this week, but I promise I won't make this pick again if it fails me again.  I've got to believe this week will be short, intense, and I don't think we're quite ready to repeat any movements that have shown up yet.  With that in mind, the official CFG Analysis SWAG for 15.3 (Rx'd division) is:

AMRAP 7 of burpee-box jumps (30"/24")

Remember to check out the podcast for as John Nail and I discuss 15.3, the controversy surrounding muscle-ups appearing as the first movement in an Open workout, how annoyingly hard single-unders can be, and of course, our picks for 15.4.

Please post SWAGs to comment.  Even with so many movements off the table, it will still be quite the accomplishment to get 15.4 or 15.5, especially with HQ showing that the game has changed this year.

Also, be on the lookout this week for a short post later this week looking into how the effect of the 15.3 muscle-ups on the number of Rx vs. scaled athletes, and how it compares to past Open workouts in terms of thinning out the field.


  1. 7:00 AMRAP
    20 Thruster (95/65)
    10 Burpee Box Jump (24/20)

  2. 15.4: 7' AMRAP: 15 Burpee Box Jump Over 24/20, 15 GtoShoulder (P.Clean) 155/105
    15.4a: 5' to establish 1RM snatch.

  3. I'm trying to steal as much as possible, though Jesse's 155 was my idea:

    For Time 21.15.9
    Thruster @ 115
    Burpee Box Jump Over
    Cleans @ 155

  4. I'm persisting with my call that we'll see HSPU this Open:

    8 min AMRAP
    9 HSPU
    15 cleans @ 135/95
    21 box jumps

    This, of course, leaves some nasty combination of thrusters and burpees for 15.5 with a tribute to 14.5...

  5. Spoiler: Longer than original post, sorry in advance

    Admittedly, my methods for arriving at my 15.3 SWAG were flawed. I assumed HQ would give Brooks/Foucher a WOD playing to both their strengths. It’s possible they felt Brooks’ WBS/engine would keep her score on par with Foucher’s. It’s possible they didn’t care. In the past, athletes chosen to “premier” an Open WOD were either solo (in pre-live announcement days) or were fairly matched with an opponent. I don’t plan to learn from last week’s mistake (fluke), and will use similar reasoning on my 15.4 SWAG.

    In response to the podcast and 15.3:
    I feel Castro has a different opinion of DUs than the general CF population. In an Open promo video interviews he calls them a basic CF movement. Before the Triple 3 in a behind the scenes video he says he can do 100 unbroken DU in 60 seconds. As a programmer this has to bias him. I find it interesting the 2009 Games finale had 30 Du’s in a chipper (Mikko Salo alternated single- double and won) and 15.3 had the top athletes repping 400. In response to your plan to a post about the Rx’d field being decreased by the MU: I wonder if DU’s had any effect on the choice to scale. I’d bet there may be a small portion of the field who scaled because of DU’s. Probably not enough to confound your data. My sense is there isn't really a way to tell if this population exists either.

    I’m going to respectfully disagree with your podcast “IG hint” comments. The cfgames IG reposted Castro’s “jump rope” post. Next, he hinted to Rory with a pool break or “shot” resulting in 7 “balls” pocketed. This hints to two movements and the rep number of the third. I’m not saying his hints solved the mystery, but it is a lot of info. The guns were his pistol red herring.

    Looking to 15.4 and 15.5:
    In my 15.2 SWAG I mentioned I felt having only one score per week after week one would be a scoring mistake. I still agree with this. I don’t feel it is a huge mistake on the Individual leaderboard, but I do feel 15.1a scores may be detrimental to the Team leaderboard. I don’t have data on this, but female team scorers seem semi-consistent week to week while the male scorers on 15.1a don’t seem to show up as often on other scores/weeks. I hope to see them remedy this with at least one more two-score week.

    Using 2013/2014 to compare Bridges’ and Panchik’s similar finishes/best placings, four prior Open movements dominate: Row, Clean, Thruster, Burpee and S2OH. Other common similar finish movements are Bar MU/MU, HSPU, walking lunge, HS walk, pistols, and swim. I have a feeling 15.4/15.5 will have one or two “new to the Open” movements (ie. HSPU, Pistols, Bar MU). Weeks 1-3 have been gymnasty enough and HSPU and/or Bar MU are perfect for the “Three Queens”. Annie has premiered 3 Open Wods, 2/3 featured Box Jumps. I’m saving Box Jumps for her. Annie/Sam did 14.5 last year, I doubt they have them showcase Burpee/Thruster again.

    Bridges won 14.5, Panchik was 15th worldwide, and they scored very similarly on other Burpee/Thruster WODs. My15.4 SWAG is a two-score week. I doubt this will happen, if it does it is redemption for my last two predictions. I feel good about the first part, not so much about the second:

    8 Min AMRAP
    7 Thrusters 95/65
    7 Burpees

    At 8 Mins

    3 Rounds For Time
    20 Calorie Row
    20 Pistols
    20 S2OH 95/65

    1. In response to your Castro "guns were a red herring" comment, it is possible that they pointed towards "shots" too?
      Or even guns = muscles pointing to muscle-ups?

      Bottom line, who knows with Castro? ;)

    2. I agree, it could have been hinting at shots. I'm just saying that I think his post AND the repost were done with the intention of sparking pistol paranoia

    3. or perhaps a warning that you have 2 weeks to get your pistols ready for 15.5 (in my prediction for next week!)

    4. Would be shocked with pistols in open.

      2 reasons.

      1) at best maybe 1 in 50 Can do an Rx pistol. Far free than muscle ups.

      2) judging. Way too much variability here and opps for bad scores.

    5. Prior to this year, with the RX'd division, I'd have totally agreed that pistols won't ever be in the Open, but now the game has changed. Anyone "competing" in the RX'd division should in theory be able to complete any WOD that's going to be at Regionals and we know pistols will be a part of the Regionals programming.

      Another thing I've wondered, is the judging really better at Regionals than the Open? Most of the time whoever is judging you during the Open is either a box owner or a coach, meaning they're at least Level 1 certified. That's not a requirement to be a judge at Regionals though and they're not "Crossfit professional judges." They're simply volunteers, at least some looking for nothing more than free swag. Poor judging is highlighted in the Open because HQ publically announces changes to the top athletes scores but they've never done such a review of judging at Regionals or the Games. I'm not saying it's better or worse, but I am saying we really don't know for sure that one is better than the other.

    6. I'm not convinced pistols are any harder/more variable to judge than wall balls or OHS or full cleans - which have all occurred in open workouts. And besides, I love pistols.

    7. I should have rephrased. Much more blatent cheating with pistols.

    8. My swag guess for 15.4


      Box jumps (30/24)
      Bar facing burpees
      Back squat (225/135)

    9. I think pistols are a little harder to judge due to only having a clear view of one leg (unless the judge switched sides when the athlete switches legs). But the bigger issue, to me, is that so many people just cannot get depth that judges at a local gym may be willing to give people the benefit of the doubt just so they don't have to constantly no-rep the person. At regionals, everyone is capable of performing a legit pistol, so if the judge says go lower, the athlete can do it. In the Open, many athletes just can't.

    10. The question then becomes, does HQ care about the regular athletes being able to stay in the RX division?

    11. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that the Rx division effectively becomes like the "sub-regionals" in a few years. It would be for athletes who are really in contention for regionals, maybe the top 500 or 1000 in each region. Basically, the minimum skill/strength level required would be regional-level.

      Do I think they should do this? No, but I wouldn't be shocked if that's the way they go.

    12. I think HQ is no longer concerned about the capability of the masses or if they have good reps or not. Otherwise they would require video submission for all (nightmare). The only real trouble i see with the judging (or lack of) is in the Masters categories (which i am in) - where top 200 move forward - solely based on their bro-rep scores. However, this would come out in the wash with videos in the qualifier weekend. So there might be differences in the 100-200 ranked athletes, but likely would have no influence on who went the big show in the end. If HQ cared about the masses - they also would have anticipated the 15.1/1a sandbagging issue - and simply required both scores from the same individual to count towards team results. All that being said - the open is still remarkable in unifying us all to have a good workout.

    13. I think Mark's 1/50 is an over(under?)statement regarding pistols. I may have a skewed perspective regarding these movements, but I semi-firmly believe that number of athletes with MU is very similar to the number of athletes with pistols. I think MU is a much sexier movement to try to master and many new CFers are enamored with getting them. They are also a movement that has been tested in every Open, which may be another reason that CFers focus on them so much.

      I have been tracking Mainsite this year leading up to Regionals. Before the 15.3 announcement, Pistols, HSPU, MUs, WBS, and Clean and Jerk had all been programmed twice. Compare this to pull ups which have been programmed 11 times as of Sunday 3/15. 15.2 forced a lot of athletes to go scaled because of a movement that HQ programmed 11 times this year. At this point those other 5 movements I mentioned combine to total 12. I really feel like HQ is going to move (is moving) in the direction of more "skilled" Open movements

      Looking at CF Games movements:
      MU's, HSPU, and DUs were introduced in 2009
      Pistols were introduced in 2010.

      Looking at Regional Movements
      MUs, HSPU, and DUs and were tested in 2011, and (sans DUs for individuals in 2014) have been tested each Regional since
      Pistols have been tested since 2012

      I disagree with the point on judging. I doubt we will ever see Push Ups again because of "the worm". The end points for a push up are chest to the ground and arms and legs locked out on top. Of course the athlete should have a nice plank throughout, but it is hard to judge or regulate this. I don't think this exists with pistols. An athlete can either pistol or not pistol.It's my opinion that depth is not that hard to judge. If you watch last years Regional judges, they evaluated the ROM from an almost straight on position. This may have been a function of lane assignment and room or the floor. It may have also been the way that HQ wanted them judged, it's very easy to see depth if the hip crease disappears behind the knee. I hope every gym holds their standards high in terms of judging, but I suspect that there might be gyms out there with substandard judging. The integrity of the Open, at least for non-Regional quality athletes, has always relied on honest judging and reporting.

      I think that pistol depth is just as challenging to judge as squat depth, a full lockout at the top of a MU, or full control and open hips at the top of a Box Jumps. I think if HSPU get introduced there will be a lot of speculation about full lockout with heels on the wall. No matter what the movement happens to be, athletes are doing them fast and if they aren't held to proper standard they can get sloppy and short of the required ROM.

      I am by no means saying that I am convinced pistols will be an open movement. I am just saying I don't feel they are out of the realm of possibilities this year. I am also saying that with "the NEW Open" the game has changed. How far are they willing to take that? They put MU at the front of an AMRAP! Will they take it further? I guess we will know in two weeks.

    14. JesseM,
      I completely agree with you about preventing sandbagging in 15.1/a. I would hope in the future they would score a workout of that nature like this: 15.1 as it's own score and then 15.1a as a combination of 15.1's score and the weight from 15.1a. This would prevent sandbagging on the first portion by making it count towards the second score.

      I honestly believe that they did not foresee teams having sandbaggers and the potential complications this would produce. If they had, they wouldn't have DQ'd all the sandbagger scores and they wouldnt have had to post a "Full Effort Expected" article.

      I think your solution would have created another problem. If your second score could only count for the team score as long as you scored for the first part, I think it would create a problem for serious gyms trying to qualify. Especially if you had two athletes who performed like this:

      Athlete A does 220 reps and CnJ is 250
      Athlete B does 214 reps and CnJ is 325

      Gym Owners and Team Coaches would have a dilemma on their hands, because the 6 reps on part 1 is minuscule (in terms of a teams leaderboard place) compared to the extra 75 lbs. Serious teams may suppress Athlete A's part 1 score so that Athlete B's part 2 score would be counted. As in "Hey, Athlete A, I know you did 220 reps. You also passed 214 on your way to 220. You need to report 214 or we won't validate." A second score combo removes this possibility, while still making both pieces of the workout relevant.

    15. I thought an easy fix to the sandbagging would be to use the combined placing of week 1 parts for team score, just like they did to find the week 1 $ winners. So Khalipa would have ended up with the best team score contribution in the world and find a way to give that a point score. The problem was treating them as 2 workouts in the team score when that is clearly not the intention of the workout. Teams could end up with 12 athletes contributing for the week instead of 6 like every other week.

  6. fight gone bad style 1 minute stations, 3 rounds:
    - row for calories
    - thrusters @ 95/65#
    - burpees
    - box jumps @ 24/20"
    - rest

  7. 8 Minute AMRAP - Decending Thruster Ladder & Burpees - You can only adjust weights after burpees are complete.

    5 Thrusters @ 155
    15 Burpees
    10 Thrusters @ 135
    15 Burpees
    15 Thrusters @ 115
    15 Burpees
    Max Reps Thrusters @ 95

  8. 15.4 and 15.4a
    5 minute AMRAP
    3 Thrusters 135#
    3 Bar-facing burpees

    at the 5:01 mark, begin 15.4a
    2 minute ME HSPUs

  9. 15.4
    AMRAP 10
    3 Power Cleans 135/95
    3 Burpee Over Box 24/20
    6 Power Cleans 135/95
    6 Burpee Over Box 24/20

    Commencing at 10:01
    AMRAP 3

  10. 15.4 will be an AMRAP with a 20 min time cap:
    Burpees - 50
    Power Cleans - 40 #95
    Box Jump - 30
    Thrusters - 20 #95
    Handstand Push-ups - 10

    I've got to say MU as the first movement isn't the greatest business decision. Crossfit needs people like myself (will finish somewhere in the middle of the pack) to participate in the Games. Registration fees for the Games generated about $5.5 M ($20 by 275k). In addition to the base registration fees the Games can argue to advertisers that they have a captive audience of 275,000 people. The Games need to program in such a way that athletes won't be disappointed by the programming.

    Sure, I’m not going to make the games or even regionals. That being said, I want to feel like I’m doing the same thing as the great athletes that you participate with. WODs like 14.4 are designed in such a way that the best among us will still rise to the top, but modest people can still say they got a shot at the workout. In my mind, I only scale when I cannot perform the WOD RX. so I go into the games knowing I can move the weight, and I'll only be stuck on two things: Pistols (don't have the mobility and are generally at regionals or above) and MUs.

    As a business, the Games needs me to not be disappointed because if I am, I won't pay next year. I'll do the WOD for free. I'll admit that the "purpose" of the games isn't to keep me happy, it's to find the fittest on earth. If it were 2007 and the Games were at the ranch, I’d agree to that. As it is, the games have become an international sporting event with a large following and millions in revenues. It is the key event for the Crossfit brand.

    I would argue that the Open is not designed to find the fittest on Earth. Rather, it is a prelim for the fittest that is designed to generate revenue. If the goal of the Open was to find the fittest, 15.1 would have been a 10 min AMRAP of 10 two pood weighted pistols, 100 meter handstand walks, and 10 MUs that must be performed unbroken. WODs like that will still put the elite at the top, but they won’t get anyone else excited. As a tool to generate revenue, the programming needs to embrace the average, not disappoint them.

    1. Wholeheartedly agree. This is the first year I didn't register for the Open in three years for many of the same reasons you listed above. I assumed the Open WODs would be more techinically challenging which basiscally eliminates me. While it hasn't lowered my interest in watching the live announcements or keeping an eye on the leaderboard, I also wasn't interested in paying $20 for scaled WODs.

      In the grand scheme of things, my inclusion or your inclusion will have zero effect on the quest to "find the fittest" as you stated but it could hurt their ability to generate revenue. Perhaps HQ is completely fine with that if the result of finding the fittest is still the same though.

    2. Do you never scale workouts in your CrossFit gym. Like if they had MU, pistols, the weight was too heavy, or you needed a lighter day?

      I've loved the changes so far, but have seen it highlight ego issues with some friends not wanting to scale because their programming never includes some of these Rx movements. :-/ This is what the scaled workouts are for in my opinion.

      I think the scaled version last week was a weak alternative since it didn't have any scaled movement in place of the MU and well, 200 single unders suck to count. :-)

  11. 15.4
    8:00 AMRAP
    8 Thrusters (95/65)
    8 Box Jumps (24/20)
    16 Thrusters
    16 Box Jumps
    24 Thrusters
    24 Box Jumps

    Continue increasing 8 reps each round

  12. OPEX must be fans of the site. ;-)

    1. How dare they plagiarize me plagiarizing your pick from last year!