CrossFit Open Scoring – part 2 or “Why is that guy who did Scaled AHEAD OF ME on the Leaderboard?”

In part 1 of this series we covered the CrossFit Open Leaderboard and the difference between:


Now that 15.2 and 15.3 have come and gone there is a another lingering question that seems to vex people

“If I did all of my WODs Rx, why is someone who did Scaled ahead of me on the Leaderboard?”Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.04.26 PM

As in part 1 – first off – don’t check the Leaderboard until Wednesday. If you check it on Friday at 9am and think that “the algorithm is wrong” then you are on crack. It will look like there are some messed up rankings, but what you will really see is a small sample size creating a messy total. Things work their way out once all scores are entered. Before then things are messy.

OK, here’s our topic for the day.

There are 3 groups of people in the Open

  1. People who ALWAYS Rx their WODs
  2. People who ALWAYS Scale their WODs
  3. People who do a combination of Rx and Scaled – 1 week they Scale; the next they Rx.

Group 1 will always rank higher than Group 2. Full stop. End of story. If you always Rx you will have more points than someone who always Scales. Even if you only do 1 rep of Rx on every WOD you will always get more points than someone who Scales every WOD.

Here’s the rub. Group 3 (some Scaled and some Rx, in any combination), may rank HIGHER than someone who always Rx’s their WODs.

By WHY? you ask…. I heard that Scaled ranks LOWER than Rx!!!!!

Yeah, within each WOD, a Scaled workout ranks lower than Rx, but Overall is a different story.

Let’s illustrate with 2 people.

  • Person 1 does all of their WODs Rx.
  • Person 3 did 15.1, 15.1A and 15.2 Rx but they did 15.3 Scaled. You guessed it, they don’t have a muscle up.

There are about 8,000 men in the M45-49 age group, so let’s assume both Person 1 and Person 3 are Men aged 45-49… (it makes the math easier). Let’s say the mid-point for someone who does 1 rep of Rx in each WOD is right about 4,000th place in this age group.

Here are the points each Person achieved in each WOD. Note: this is not their “Score” or the number of reps they did – this is their finishing position within each WOD. i.e. Person 1 was in 4,000th place in each WOD, and person 3 was in 500th place in 15.1, 15.1A and 15.2. In 15.3 Person 3 had the best Scaled and finished in 4,001st place.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 4.42.35 PM

Whoever has the fewest total points is ranked higher Overall.

Between these 2 people the math shows us that Person 3 would be ranked higher Overall than Person 1 even though Person 1 did all of their WODs Rx. If you sort the Leaderboard by “Open Week 3” (i.e. 15.3) then Person 1 will be ranked higher than Person 3 because Person 3 did 15.3 Scaled.

It’s when you look at their Overall scores (i.e. the sum of their Points), that Person 3 ranks higher overall than Person 1.

One can argue if this is the “proper” way to calculate scores, or if there should be a separate Leaderboard for anyone who ever Scales a WOD.

I’d offer that this is pretty legit. Someone who is generally fit but has a big goat (i.e. muscle ups) should rank higher Overall than someone who is generally less fit even if they have 1 muscle up.

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

12 thoughts on “CrossFit Open Scoring – part 2 or “Why is that guy who did Scaled AHEAD OF ME on the Leaderboard?”

  1. Matthew Francis

    Well wished someone would have explained this earlier. I thought in saw somewhere in the early stages of the open build up it said if you had one rep.of rx it would be better than going scaled. I personally struggled through a muscle up doe to a rotator injury recently healed to stay out of scaled and would defiantly not done that if I knew it would hurt me overall. I’m not going to regional but still not going to be ranked where I should have apparently could have been higher.

  2. Getting to Rx

    Agree – wish it was explained earlier by HQ. I assumed this was how it would work, but it wasn’t clear until 15.2 that Overall ranking is a straightforward summation of points. Had to wait to verify before I wrote about it. Good luck with your shoulder.

  3. Anonymous

    My question is for the masters qual. 60+ early on the leaderboard you can see a combo of scaled and RX so it’s my understanding that the top 200 in each age group get to do the masters qual. Will only the RX try out or the top 200 no matter what
    Example: person one strictly did RX ,person two did a combo and rank who gets to go?? And when it comes time to do the masters qual the person two will they have a to do all 4 master qualifier RX???

  4. Getting to Rx

    Short, and honest, answer – I don’t know. Rules say that people who Scale “are not eligible to advance” – but others have heard from HQ that they are leaving the door open.

    I wrote another piece this morning about exactly this. For most Age Groups it’s not an issue, but for a few Age Groups it’s entirely possible that someone who Scaled may be in the Top 200 after 15.5. Whether HQ allows them into the Masters Qualifier remains to be seen.

  5. Getting to Rx

    Update – if you Scale you are not eligible for the Masters Qualifier
    From an email another person received from HQ:

    “In order to advance to the Masters Qualifier you must submit a valid Rx score for all of the Open workouts and place in the top 200 overall of your division. Submitting a Scaled score or not submitting a score at all will disqualify you from the Masters Qualifier. Let me know if you have any further questions and good luck!”

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for the info, however when you talk about the top 200 do they discount the scaled that are within the top 200 and keep counting ?? If so that may go into the top 300 in same of the masters ranking

  7. Scott Hundley

    Thanks for the great explanations of the scores and rules. I have a request for another topic for you to research and explain. It looks like it is more important to do good in the earlier WODs than the later ones. There is a competitor in my age group that did 1, 1a, and 3, but did not record a score for 2. Overall, he is out of the competition, but his participation in 15.1 and 15.1a impacted me. For the 3 workouts that he did, he did more reps/weight than me. On 15.1 and 15.1a, my place was increased by 1 because he beat me. On 15.3, he also beat me, but since he did not report a 15.2 score, there is a dash next to his 15.3 score instead of a place. It appears to me that once an athlete fails to provide a score, his place on future WODs has no impact on the remaining field, but his earlier score does. This is inconsistent and puts more importance on the earlier WODs. By the last WOD, the number of people that still count could be drastically lower than the first WOD.

  8. Getting to Rx

    Thanks Scott. That’s a good idea for a topic. I’ll write it up in a day or two.

  9. Getting to Rx

    HQ just posted this in a single announcement:
    “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.”

  10. Edie Berg

    Hi, so if I understand correctly, on 15.4 I did Rx=3 reps, Scaled=98 reps. I should post the Rx score?


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