Month: March 2015

On to the Post-Mortem – a requiem for the 2015 CrossFit Open

Your scores are done and dusted. You have done all that you can do for the 2015 Open. Some of you are moving on to the Masters Qualifier. Some of you are anxiously awaiting the moment when Games tickets go on sale.

The obvious question is: What did you learn?Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.32.55 AM

I learned a few things:

  • I can do muscle ups – yes, that is plural “ups” and not singular “a muscle up”
  • HSPUs require A LOT MORE shoulder mobility than I currently have
  • Not being injured helps a lot when it comes to making gainz
    • not that I’ve had an injury free year for a long damned time
  • I finished 2015 right where I finished 2014 – almost
  • a shitload of people do not understand the CrossFit Open scoring system
  • the Scaled option was huge in several ways

let’s look at that last one. Having a Scaled option created some interesting opportunities. Everyone could get a score, and HQ was freed up to put some nasty elements into a WOD – i.e. muscle ups.

I scale a LOT at my gym. I probably scale more often than I Rx. I’d offer that is true for most of us. I would also offer that the competition of the Open drives people just a little bit harder and makes them really want to Rx. You can want something really, really badly, but if you didn’t work for it you ain’t going to get it. I was able to knock out the first 3 HSPUs in 15.4, but the next round was no fun at all. Why? because I never work HSPUs….

You might notice in my graph (above) that there is no entry for 15.5. Knee pain was way too severe to try and force my way through 72 thrusters, so I had to gracefully bow out. In all honest, I wasn’t too stoked about doing it anyway. Thrusters are NOT my friend. Rowing is my friend, but them thrusters? No. Just, no.

The 2015 Open reminded me of  the many things that I need to work on. Some of them are recovery related – hip mobility, lateral leg strength, regaining my endurance. And some of them or general – gymnastic skills, overall strength, etc.

I hate being reminded of my weaknesses. I also love honesty.

The CrossFit Open is your best friend telling you that you look like shit when you….look like shit. You hate them for it, but you know that they have your best interest at heart.

Onward to 2016…

And here we have the glaring weakness… 15.5 and thrusters

15.3 was a spotlight on a hole in my CrossFit game – muscle ups. Holes are frustrating, but often they are something that is beyond our reach or something that we just need to work on to fill the hole.  I was able to find enough dirt to fill that hole.

15.5 is another beast altogether.

Thrusters have never been in my wheelhouse. I’m a long, skinny dude, with horrible mobility in hips, ankles, AND shoulders means that I have never loved thrusters. To be honest, they have never loved me either. Let’s add in that afternoon of hip surgery back in September – I’m only cleared to “start” lifting weights again this month.

By “start” I am fairly certain that my surgeon was thinking of 95# squats and not 72 reps of 95# thruster.

Here’s the deal though. I know it’s a weakness. I was 100% confident that they would appear in the Open. That’s CrossFit.

That said – the opening set of 27 reps is scaring the hell out of me.

[rant] Please, just shut up about her body.

Really feeling the need to blast this one out there. Maybe I never realized it. Maybe I’m just as guilty, but guys really need to shut up about women’s bodies.

Hanging with a crew of 30+ guys in a sunny beachside town this week. Don’t get me wrong, I am a straight guy who loves women. I will check out a woman on the street. If she is wearing something a little short or revealing I will look twice. If she is wearing a bikini I will probably stare. That’s not saying I’m bad, good or indifferent. Just saying I get it. We are visual creatures.

Here’s the deal though – guys really need to shut the fuck up when they decide they are entitled to pass judgment on a woman’s body. Look. Judge. Whatever, but don’t tell the world your opinion.

Hanging out on the patio during a break. BS’ing about this and that. A crew of young ladies wearing shorts walks to the end of the patio to check out the view. Yes, I looked, and then I looked back at the ocean. Trust me, youth has its own beauty. One of our crew standing a bit away with a different group starts evaluating each girls ass. I’m fairly certain that a 19 year-old wants nothing more in life than to be evaluated by a bunch of gray haired businessmen, or any man for that matter.

If I could hear it. They could hear it. They definitely walked away.

Then same guy said,”well they sure walked away quickly.”

I wonder why.

I don’t really wonder why at all.

Dropping in at a CrossFit box – love that aspect of our community

Walked a whole 1/2 mile to Systematic CrossFit at 5:30am this morning. It’s cool to cruise a town when nobody is awake.

Small crowd, only 4 of us. Everyone introduced themselves. Gotta love that about drop-ins.

Warmup started with 2 minutes of DU practice. I was the only person who had Dubs. That was cool. Then some planks and pushups. Was sweating by the end of warmup.

WOD 1, 10 min AMRAP
5 bodyweight deadlifts (190#s)
10 box jumps
15 wall balls

Oh how my engine sucks. Deads were easy, box jumps were OK, but the wallballs? Oh, hell no! Not that they have ever been my friend, but I’ve lost so much ground with them.

WOD 2, 6 min AMRAP
10 pull-ups
30 double unders
10 pushups

Holy shit my butterfly was on point. Khalipa told me to look up at the bar during butterfly, and he seems to know a few things.

Hit my 10 and was on the rope before the other guys were at 5 pull-ups. Only problem? Double unders are not good when I’m tired. Got em done, but it wasn’t pretty.

Butterfly stayed with me through 3 rounds. So smooth, so fast.

I shouldn’t, but the guy next to me was far from doing legit pushups which annoyed me. It also made me be sure to be super legit. Beat him back to the bar for round 4, but my butterfly was flapping weakly… Got 7 or 8 in before time was called.

Jogged back to the hotel, did breakfast, and my presentation. I’m done. Just listening to Power Point slides for the next 2 1/2 days.


Given the choice… I’ll walk….

9 hours of Power Point today. Had 90 minutes between shutdown and dinner. Most folks said, “let’s grab a beer.”Monterey plaza hotel

I’m dropping in at a CrossFit box down the street tomorrow morning, so I choose to walk over and check out the route for my 5:30am shuffle.

I win.  😉

CrossFit Open Scoring Part 5 – What about people who drop out of the Open? How does that affect my score?

Follow-up to Part 4 of my series on how the CrossFit Open is scored. In Part 4 I think that I proved that each WOD is basically equivalent to every other WOD when it comes to your Overall Ranking.

Question 2 was, “Is it more important to do good in earlier WODs than the later ones because people drop out?”

To that I say, “Yes, absolutely yes.”

First off, how does HQ rank dropouts in the Overall standings?

Once a person does not submit a score for a WOD they are no longer considered in the Overall rankings; however, their previous scores DO still count in point totals. Explanation: Dave does 15.1 and 15.2, but he does not submit a score for 15.3. His scores for 15.1 and 15.2 remain in effect. They are not deleted.

Dave receives a 0 for 15.3 and is no longer considered in the Overall Leaderboard.

Suppose Dave comes back and submits a score on 15.4. Can he do that? Yes. His score will be accepted. You can even sort by “Open Week 4” and see how Dave stacks up compared to his peer group, but Dave will receive 0 points for 15.4, and he will not be factored into the overall Leaderboard. i.e. He is out of the Open.

But how do Dave’s earlier scores affect other people?

The best way I can think of to explain is to create a scenario.

Steve and Phil are mortal enemies in their box. Actually, they are buddies who love to compete against each other. Normally they are within 1 rep of each other on WODs. For 15.1 Steve recruits 1,000 people to compete. He also pays their entry fee. Don’t worry, Steve was pre-IPO at Facebook, so he’s loaded.

Phil hits 200 reps in 15.1. In their box they have a custom leaderboard. Steve gets 201 reps. He has 1 more rep than Phil. Normally this would put Steve one place ahead of Phil. Steve would get 100 points for 15.1, and Phil would get 101 points. (assuming there are 100 people in their box who did better than 201 reps…)

But Steve set it up to win. His 1,000 recruits also got 201 reps. Now Steve and his recruits each have 100 points, and Phil, one rep lower, receives 1,101 points. This is because 1,001 people tied in 100th place at 201 reps.

Then Steve’s 1,000 recruits drop out of the Open and do not log a score for 15.2. Guess what? Their scores still count for 15.1, and Steve and Phil are still 1,001 points apart on the Leaderboard. Yep, Steve is clearly an asshole.

Why does this work? With every WOD it’s the point differential that matters. Normally Steve and Phil are equal or 1 rep apart. If Phil beats Steve by 1 rep for 15.2, 15.3, and 15.4 then Phil will net 3 points in his life-or-death battle with Phil. That is 1 point for each WOD that he beats Steve. In his chase to beat Steve, Phil will end the Open 998 points behind Steve. Phil’s ploy worked as he created an insurmountable lead with his minions.

How does this affect you? Clearly the example above is crazy, but it’s illustrative. There is normally a 10%-15% weekly dropout rate. People who were ahead of you in 15.1 or 15.2 and dropped out still count against your total point count.

If HQ removed these people entirely from the Leaderboard your 15.1 and 15.2 scores would improve possibly by up to 5%. In Steve and Phil’s case, after the minions drop out Phil would get 1,000 points back and once again be neck-and-neck with Phil. People who perform better in earlier WODs benefit from having a padding of dropouts between them and other people who are lower down on the Leaderboard.

Let’s make this applicable to a mid-pack athlete. If 10,000 people drop out of the Open every week, and generally speaking, 50% of them are above you on the Leaderboard would this impact your Overall standing? People on the higher end of the Leaderboard will see less impact. People on the lower end of the Leaderboard will see a larger impact.

Should HQ zero out an athlete’s earlier placement when they drop out of the Open?

Yes, I think they should. Keeping scores from early WODs inflates the importance of the earlier WODs and makes it tougher to march up the Leaderboard. As I mentioned in Part 4 of this series for people who continue to post scores each WOD has about the same level of importance. However, there is an influence from people who drop out of the Open.

That said, I will add that I think it’s great that HQ allows you to enter scores even after you dropout. You can see where you would have placed if you had continuous scores.

CrossFit Open Scoring Part 4: Does 15.1 Count More than 15.4 because of… ???

I received a great question, “Do the earlier Open WODs have more of an impact on your standing than the later WODs?” I really struggled to make a cogent argument here because the answer that I figured out runs counter to my assumptions.

For my other explanations on CrossFit Open Scoring you can look here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

There was also a second part, “If someone drops out of the Open how does that affect my current ranking?” which I will address later.

Usual disclaimer – I don’t work for HQ. I have no relationship with HQ other than that I paid my $20 and entered the Open and I live closer to HQ than most people in the Open. My answers are based on looking at the math of the Leaderboard.

Let’s start with Question 1 – do different WODs count for more or less for a person’s ranking in the Open?

Mathematically speaking all of the WODs count the same for your final ranking. For each WOD:

  • the winner gets 1 point
  • the person who finishes in 1,000th place gets 1,000 points
  • the person who finished in 100,000th place gets 100,000 points

OK. That’s a simple answer, “All WODs count equally.” We’re done here.

It is true that each WOD (15.1, 15.1A, 15.2, etc) count equally, but it is actually a bit more complicated than that. My gut reaction was that the early WODs had a larger impact on Overall ranking because of the decay in participation over the course of the Open.

In total, about 150,000 men registered for the Open. About 130,000 submitted scores for 15.1 and 15.1A. If you do not submit a score for a given WOD you are no longer counted in the Overall rankings. About 115,000 Men submitted scores for 15.2. For 15.3 the total number of active participants dropped to almost 96,000. That’s almost a 25% drop in participation from Open Week 1 to Open Week 3. My gut told me that fewer participants meant there would be fewer people tied at certain scores.

Let’s look at my score in 15.1 where I had 115 reps. Toes-to-bar, why didst thou depart me?

that 115 reps ranked me in 72,990th place overall. One more rep (116 reps) would have bumped me up to 70,682nd place – a point differential of 2,308. One fewer rep My peer group Overall as of 15.3would have dropped me in the standings down to 75,269th place – a point differential of 2,279 points.

15.1 (AMRAP, total time)
116 reps place: 70,682
115 reps place: 72,990  (+2,308 points)
114 reps place: 75,269 (+2,279 points)

My initial reaction to the question was simple – fewer participants means fewer people submitting tie scores therefore lower point differentials. Then I took a look at 15.3 and saw that my initial reaction may not be correct. Somehow I found that mythical beast called “muscle up” and was able to complete one round in 15.3 for 157 points.

But there was a BIG difference between 15.1 and 15.3 – besides the muscle ups. In 15.3 there was a tiebreak (the elapsed time when you completed the round). In 15.1 there was no tiebreak, so everyone who got 115 reps received the exact same score. In 15.3 there was a gradation of scores for everyone who got 157 reps. If you look at the Leaderboard a little closer and ignore the tie-break the point spreads for “1 rep more” and “1 rep less” are almost the same as in 15.1.

15.3 (AMRAP, with time based tie-break)
158 reps starts at: 53,005
157 reps starts at: 54,575 (+1,570 points)
156 reps starts at: 57,264 (+2,689 points)

One rep more in 15.1 was worth 2,308 spots on the Leaderboard.
One rep more in 15.3 was worth 1,570 spots on the Leaderboard – for me.

One rep less in 15.1 was worth 2,279 spots on the leaderboard.
One rep less in 15.3 was worth 2,689 spots on the Leaderboard – for me.

I’d call that almost equal, so what is going on?

Since my personal scores are not indicative of the whole, I looked at this for a few people (10 total), but I don’t have either the data or the time required for a truly exhaustive analysis.

Here’s my story – we are not dealing with a simple system.

If this were a 100 question test that 150,000 people took we would see a normal distribution. But what we are dealing with is a semi-continuous system. In the Open there are clear breaking points. In 15.3 for example that break point was 157. i.e. 1 full round. In 15.1 there were three break points – at 15, 10 and 5. Sure, people score all over the place, but there will be some groupings due to human nature.

Another thing that changes is how HQ scores the WODs. If 15.1 had a tie-break there would not be the large groupings of points that we see clustered around certain scores. 15.3 is a great example of that. There were 2,689 men who tied, based on reps, at 157. Because of the tiebreak (time to finish complete round) there was a distribution of scores instead of 2,689 of people grouped up at one score.

Simple answer – each WOD does count equally, but there are factors that can affect your ranking. Tie-breaks are one of those factors. Your buddy who did one less rep than you in 15.1 was 2,000+ points behind you on the leaderboard. If the same buddy tied you on 15.3 he may actually be in better shape on the leaderboard depending on your tiebreak time. If he scored 1 less rep than you in 15.3 then he is probably 2,000+ points behind you for 15.3 just like he was in 15.1.

I’m a bit surprised, but it looks like 15.1 does not receiver a heavier weighting due to having more people compete and log scores.

Of course this will vary depending on your personal scores in each WOD, but it holds pretty much true. How HQ scores each WOD has more of an impact than which WOD it is.

I will say it again – this is not exhaustive. I checked scores for 10 people and found similar phenomena between 15.1 and 15.3. For some people the scores varied slightly more for 15.3 than for 15.1, and for others the scores for 15.1 varied more than for 15.3.

If you have other data that contradicts my information please share it.

Check back in a day or two for the answer to, “If someone drops out of the Open how does that affect my current ranking?”

Care to comment? Click here and leave me a comment or question at the bottom of the post.


15.4 – Done but maybe not forgotten for a few days

Looked at 15.4 the same way I have the other 2015 Open WODs. Whatever happens, happens.

5 hour flight delay Friday screwed up my plans to hit 15.4 on Friday afternoon, so I rolled in to Open gym. Warmed up, did a few cleans with the usual weight progressions until I hit 185#. That was heavy. Muscle cleaned it though. Still having problems getting low to receive the bar. My 1RM is only 200, so this was 92.5%.  Not a prescription for doing lots of reps.

I only did one HSPU beforehand as it was not a good idea to waste time trying my HSPUs. Figure I’d either have them or not.

Goal was 1 round Rx.

Did the first 3 HSPUs unbroken. They didn’t feel too bad. Cleans were heavy and ugly. Then it was back to the HSPUs. Got a couple and then no-repped. Just could not lock it out. Trying for #3 my right shoulder screamed quite loudly. Turns out that screwed up muscle up from Tuesday is not fully healed (I shot through the rings and wound up hanging from the rings with my arms behind me).

The person counting for me was really encouraging. I let her know it was now a major struggle. She didn’t quite get it, “wait, are you in pain?” “Yes, I am….” Took my time and was able to accomplish 3 more reps to finish up the HSPUs.

Score: 12 reps. 1 round + 6 HSPUs

Beat my goal of 1 round. Kind of down at the moment for obvious reasons.

The new HSPU standard is legit!

I slammed 800mg of my old friend, Vitamin I, and will see what comes next.

Good News – CrossFit Masters Athletes who Scaled either 15.3 or 15.4 are eligible for Masters Qualifier

Straight from HQ:

Athletes in all Masters categories who choose to perform the scaled version of Workout 15.4, or previously chose to scale Workout 15.3, will still be eligible to advance to the Masters Qualifier. They will be ranked below all athletes who performed the Rx’d versions, but will not be ineligible for the next stage of competition.

You can find it here.

What does it mean?

If you Scaled 15.3 and/or 15.4, and you are in the Top 200 of your Age Group  then you will be eligible for the Masters Qualifier!!!

Previously it was stated that you would NOT be eligible. Cleary HQ has changed their rules to accommodate some Age Groups where many people in the Top 200 had Scaled their WODs in 15.3 and will do so again in 15.4.

If you read my earlier post about this very topic and whether it was a real thing, well it’s clear that HQ was listening to me… not really. I just like saying that.

Good luck. Making it to the Qualifier is AWESOME!

Care to comment? Click here and leave me a comment or question at the bottom of the post.


Did Muscle Ups change your Open results? Not mine…. 2014 vs. 2015 #crossfit

If you are me (and I am) – muscle ups didn’t do a darned thing for my Open results.

I keep track of how I do Overall (Individual Men) and how I do in my Age Group (M 45-49). The following chart is a comparison of my week-by-week results from 2014 compared with 2015. I do it as a percentile because it looks better that way – i.e. being 75th percentile instead of 25%….

14.3 was pretty good to me. It was the Deadlift-Box Jump couplet. Turns out 15.3 was just as good.

I find it pretty amazing that in week 3 of 2014 and 2015 I am basically right in the same position both in my Age Group and for All Males in the Open. For both Opens, I was out of the gym for 4+ months prior though my pre-2015 injury and surgery were more severe than my pre-2014 injury/surgery. Yes, I am combining 15.1 and 15.1A into “Week 1” because it’s just easier that way.

Holding steady with my peers. And…. kicking some young guys’ butts….

so, it’s not all bad.

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