Month: January 2016

CrossFit Open Scoring – How does Scaling work for Points, Place and Score?

2016Games-logoAs CrossFitters, I think we all know what Scaling is, but, before 2015, scaling a workout was not in option in the Open.

In order to put muscle ups first in a WOD and not face the wrath of 200,000+ average CrossFitters, in 2015 HQ added a Scaled option to each WOD.

Ooops. that’s just my opinion. It’s entirely possible that I am not wrong.

How does Scaling work in the Open?

Each WOD has 2 choices, Rx and Scaled. Every week you get to choose which option is better for you. Yes, you can switch back and forth between Scaled and Rx each week. If you do Week 1 Scaled, you can do Week 2 Rx. For Week 3 you get to choose again.

Initially people thought that there was a rule about Scaling – once you Scale one workout you have to Scale the rest of the workouts. That is not true. Scale or Rx is your decision to make for each WOD.

Besides the workout or rep scheme, your Place is different if you Scale or Rx.

One rep of Rx counts more than any number of reps for a Scaled workout.

Using our 100 person box example from the previous explanations let’s look at how Scale and Rx are assigned Points. Let’s say the WOD is 15.3 (14 minute AMRAP

Rx: 7 muscleups, 50 wallballs, 100 double unders

Scaled: 50 wallballs, 200 singles

50 people in the box do the WOD Rx, and 50 people do the WOD Scaled.

You are close to your first muscle up, and you finally get it. Just 1, but it’s a muscle up.


Your friend Mary does the WOD Scaled and hits 4 rounds. Yes, she does 1,000 reps in 14 minutes. She has the “best” Scaled score in your box. In that same 14 minutes you did 1 rep.

Everyone else in your box did at least 2 muscle ups, so you come in 50th place out of the 50 people who did Rx. Because Mary did the Scaled workout she comes in 51st place. It does not matter that Mary has literally 1,000x more reps than you do.

1 rep of Rx scores higher than any number of Scaled reps, for each WOD.

That’s not a judgment call on my part. It’s the rules. For Place and Points we rank ourselves against each other weekly. Because you did Rx, you Place higher than anyone who does the WOD Scaled.

Does that mean that you will always rank higher in the overall standings than Mary?


It means for 15.3 you rank higher. You get 50 points for your point total, and Mary gets 51 points for her total. Whoever has the lowest points overall ranks higher.

This picture shows where someone who Rx’d every workout is ranked lower overall than a couple of people who had Scaled workouts which is noted by the “-s” after their score.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.31.15 AM

Note: this is over the course of 5 weeks.

Why is this possible? Because the people who Scaled 15.3 had better relative scores in the other WODs which allows their one Scaled WOD not to drag them down too far. IMO, this is pretty fair. The Open is a test of general fitness, and having a certain skill, i.e. a muscle up, does not mean you are generally more fit than someone else. Basically it all works out.

Can I qualify for Regionals or the Masters Qualifier if I Scale workouts?

By the rules – Yes. If you have sufficient points to be in the overall Top-200 for your Masters Age Group (worldwide), or you have sufficient points to be in the Top-20 of your region as an Individual, then you can advance to the next level. HQ made that clear last week. If you Scale workouts you are eligible to advance to the next round.

Let’s be honest though.

If you are trying to qualify for Regionals you will not make it if you scale a workout.

If you are old, like me, it depends on your age group. If you are under 55 – male or female – you had to Rx every workout to get enough points to make it into the top-200 in your age group. In the 60+ age groups a few people made it into the Masters Qualifier having Scaled 1 or more of the Open WODs.

Truth of the matter – pick the version of the workout that is right for you. Scaled and Rx both mean that you are competing in the Open, which is pretty damned cool. My point here is only to explain how the math works.

When you can’t fall back on addiction

One would think I would know this stuff by now, but sometimes I get a reminder.

My wife and I were talking last night. We started discussing addiction, and why it makes sense that people will turn to their addiction during times of stress or down times. It can be alcohol or illegal drugs (alcohol just happens to be a legal drug) or overeating or whatever, for good reasons or bad, the addictive behavior provides a way out of the swamp even briefly. That swamp can be daily stress, deadlines approaching, being sick.

My biggest swamp is when I feel incapable. It can be a new and unknown project at work or diving into a massive problem that hasn’t been clearly defined, but nothing makes me feel incapable like being physically limited. That’s what dawned on me. One of my biggest triggers is incompatible with my biggest addiction. Nothing says “incapable” like being physically incapable, and being sick is just that. It is also when I can’t run to my favorite addiction – working out. If I drank I could down a few. I’d feel even worse, but drinking is physically possible. Right now, I’m coughing every few minutes. I’m physically drained all the damned time. I’m physically incapable of a lot of stuff, and those alarm bells are screaming inside my head.

The perfect response to banish those demons would be a workout, or two, or three. Sure the demons would still be there, but for a little while I’d be able to set them aside. Even a bad workout would “help.” At least it would let me set aside reality for a while.

But no.

So I’m stuck with this major trigger firing in my brain and can’t succumb to the addiction that helps me forget it for at least a few minutes a day.

No answer. Just a bit surprised that I didn’t figure this catch-22 out sooner.

CrossFit Open Scoring #2 – How is My Overall Place Calculated Week-to-Week

2016Games-logoIn the last article we covered terminology: Score, Place, and Points

Today we will cover how your position on the Leaderboard changes week-by-week.

The next article will cover Scaling.

Let’s do this: (recap from article #1)

Your Score is the number of Reps you did (or your time).

Your Place is how you rank relative to your group (Overall, your age group, your box)

Your Points are the same as you per WOD Place (Finish in 11th and you get 11 points. Finish in 25,123rd and you get 25,123 points)

To keep the same theme, you completed 270 reps on 14.1, and 10 of your boxmates completed 271 reps for the highest score in the box. For your efforts, you get 11 points, and your friend Mary, who got 271 reps, gets 1 point. When you look at your scores it will look something like this

…………………………..Workout 01

1 (1)     Mary Badass   1 (271)

11 (11) You Yourself   11 (270)

The first column is your Overall standings. It’s your current overall place followed by (in parentheses) the total number of points you have. It’s week 1, so you only have one set of points.

The Column below “Workout 01” is your results from Workout 01. In this case, the first number is how you placed in the WOD, and the number in parentheses is your # of reps, i.e your Score.

Notice – that one extra rep in Workout 1 is worth 10 points for Mary because 10 people tied at 271 reps, and you hit 270 reps. Really? You couldn’t have done just……..more…..rep?

Seriously, more on this later, but early WODs effectively count for more than later WODs.

Let’s look at how this adds up when week 2 rolls around.

Week 2’s WOD is 9 minute AMRAP, 15 toes-to-bar, 10 deadlift 115#, and 5 snatch 115#. Sorry Mary, but you are doing the men’s weights for this one.

This time you hit 115 reps, and Mary hits 114 reps. In your box that is good for 10th place (you), and 11th place (Mary)

…………………………….Workout 01  Workout 2

5   (12)   Mary Badass     1 (271)         11 (114)

14 (21)   You Yourself   11 (270)         10 (115)

In this example, Mary is now in 5th Place Overall for your box after week 2.

You are in 14th Place Overall for your box after week 2.

I just made up those placings, but here is what matters: you add your Place in each WOD to get your total Points.

Look at column at 1. In WOD 1 Mary got 1 point for finishing tied for 1st place. In WOD 2 Mary got 11 points for finishing in 11th place. Thus she has 12 total points (11 + 1).

You now have 21 total points. 11 points for finishing 11th in WOD 1 + 10 points for finishing 10th in WOD 2. See, all you had to do was one….more….double-under in WOD 1, and you would be ahead of Mary after WOD 2.

This is how Points work. You rank everyone in each WOD and total up those numbers to get your “Overall” Points. Then you compare each person by their total Points.

What if someone finishes in First Place in every WOD? If there are 5 total WODs then their final point total at the end of the Open would be 5, or 1 point for each WOD.

Next Time: How Does Scaling Work?

How the CrossFit Open is Scored: Win, Place or Show

2016Games-logoI did an article last year on how the CrossFit Open is scored, and it was surprisingly popular. It turns out that mathnerds immediately grok the Open, but we are only a small subset of the population. While I have tried to streamline this down to a single paragraph it just did not work. To make this most effective it will be in at least 3 parts.

This week, let’s start with 3 terms: Score, Place, and Points



this is how many reps you do in a WOD, or your time.

It’s an absolute number. It doesn’t change, and it’s all about you. Nobody else matters when it comes to Score.

Let’s say the WOD is a 10 minute AMRAP of 30 double unders and 15 ground to overhead (i.e. 11.1 and 14.1). If you finish 6 rounds at 45 reps per round then your Score is 270. By 5pm Pacific Time on Monday you need to enter “270” on the games website.

Easy-peasy. You did 270 reps in 10 minutes, so your Score is 270.



Now we start comparing ourselves to other people.

Your Score is absolute. 270 reps is 270 reps is 270 reps.

However, your Place is relative to other people. To keep it simple let’s compare only to the 100 other people in your box. Let’s say your Score of 270 is the most in your box. That means you came in first place for this WOD. Alternately, if your Score of 270 is the least in your box then you came in 100th place.

What if your Score of 270 is neither the most nor the least? It’s not quite linear, but remember that we are comparing ourselves to other people. That makes things a bit messy at times.

Suppose, in your box, 10 people Scored 271 reps on the WOD. That means you had the 11th best Score. There would be 10 people in First place with a score of 271, and you would be in 11th Place with your Score of 270.

Remember, this is your Place, and it is relative to the Scores of other people. NOTE: you must enter your Scores before 5pm PT Monday, but don’t even look at your Place until Wednesday. Why? As more Scores hit the database the rankings change. It’s really common to watch your Place drop by 10,000 or more on Tuesday or Wednesday.

But what if I Scale the WOD?

Complication #1 ….. if you scale, you will Place below every other person who did the WOD Rx. If you have the best Scaled score in your box, and 50 people did Rx, then you will be in 51st place.

One rep of Rx is Placed higher than 1,000 reps of Scaled. That’s not a judgment. It’s the way the Open is done.



The Points that you receive each week are based on your Place in the WOD.

First place is 1 point, 2nd place is 2 points, 50th place is 50 points, and 5,000th place is 5,000 points. For a lot of us, when looking at the overall rankings, 250,000th place is 250,000 points.

Let’s take it back to basics. We are in the first Open WOD. You scored 270 reps which was good for 11th Place in your Box. That means you get 11 points for the WOD.

Anyone who did 271 reps, and tied for First place, got 1 point for the WOD. Sticking with our story, 10 people tied for first place, so 10 people receive 1 point.

Each week the Points accumulate. You take the Points you get for week 1 and add those to the Points you get for week 2 and then week 3 to get your combined total.

Your overall Place is the sum of your weekly Points.

Next time we will take a look at how Points are distributed, and what that means.