CrossFit Open Update - March 12th, 2012

Here is my view on Open 12.3 of 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.

Event # 3 - Weight/Gymnastic Triplet:
1) Time limit: 18 minutes
2) Modalities: 3
3) Energy System Tested (based on top competitors): Aerobic Power/Capacity
4) Thoughts:
- this was a great workout to test what CrossFit is looking for. Plus, it was a good design of movements.
- what is truly required of the top competitors in CrossFit is the ability to combine high muscular endurance with high aerobic capacity. The athletes' muscular endurance capability must be intact from low loads through to relatively higher loads if they are to be a true competitor in CrossFit (i.e. you can't only be good @ 65lbs, or vice versa @ 185lbs). 
- as per my previous posts, I believe this workout should be limited by muscular endurance, not breathing, for the elite competitors. This is sometimes tough to assess on your own. But, if muscular endurance was not the limiting factor, then extra (low intensity single modality - run, row, airdyne, swim, etc) MAP training per week is in order to sure up this issue either before Regionals, before the Games, or right now if the individual either will not make it to Regionals or does not plan on competing past the Open and has goals for next year. Without continued direct training for this aspect, things will not improve at the rate they could.
- if muscular endurance is the limiting factor, then smart training prescriptions are in order as it is VERY EASY to overdue this as ego may get in the way (i.e. 100 chin-ups every day to make your chin-up endurance better). I hope you can all see the illogical strategy here. The problem magnifies when you have someone that weighs 225lbs vs. would you design training to improve the muscular endurance ability for each of these people such that you get the dose response from the training (i.e. not too much and not too little) without overtraining that one movement/muscle group - leading to injury and down time. This is one simple example of why individualized training is THE only way to achieve your true potential as an athlete.
- My belief/bias is that these competitions place too much importance on overhead movements (i.e. chin-ups/muscle-ups/hspu/ohs/push press/etc.) thereby limiting the true power output of the athlete over a given time frame, as power production/sustainability is much greater from the shoulders down vs. the shoulders up. This is NOT to say overhead movements should not be tested, they have to be. However, I believe they are tested too often. As a side note, for a sport looking for longevity (or so I assume), the shoulder girdle (specifically GH and AC joints) will likely not last for 10 years in this sport without injury as the loading per session/week/month is likely much greater than the capacity for that area to recover over time. Let's not even mention the elbow, as that is another can of worms.
- as I said, for the top competitors, this was a test of Aerobic Power/Capacity. However, for many of the individuals the workout quickly became a test of the Creatine Phosphate energy system (CP stamina/battery) as either the 75lb or 115lb barbell became too tough to overcome, requiring substantial breaks, or the 9 toes to bar felt more like strict chin-ups in their effort and speed. When this happens, your body will require greater % of recovery of ATP in the relevant musculature prior to you being able to even make another rep, this is a much different scenario than someone that made 450+ reps as there were basically little/no breaks at any point, and aerobic ATP production is likely sufficient to continue their effort at their current % of effort/intensity.