CrossFit Open Update - March 22nd, 2012

Here is my view on the final Open 12.4 and Open 12.5 from the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.

Event # 4 - Karen/Double Unders/Muscle-ups:
1) Time limit: 12 minutes
2) Modalities: 3
3) Energy System Tested (based on top competitors): Aerobic Power/Capacity (for the most part)
4) Thoughts:
- I love Wall Balls, seriously, I do.
- for 95% + of competitors, Open 12.4 was an aerobic power/capacity session (Wall Balls then Double Unders) leading into a CP session (the Muscle-ups). The reason that it is not continually an aerobic session is because every single person I am aware of had to break up the muscle-ups several times, meaning that it was not very sustainable. This is not to say that you were not still breathing hard, as I am sure most everyone was, even if they were only doing 3-5 reps per minute on average of muscle-ups. But, it is not the same testing/training response as sustainable/continuous efforts. Just think if you did 5 heavy front squats per minute for 5-7 minutes, you certainly would be breathing somewhat, but is that example an aerobic training session? No.
- CrossFit had to design the workout like this because of the scoring system (and a few other things). Regarding female competitors, I do agree that if you plan on using muscle-ups in testing later in the competition (Regionals, Games) then they have to be used in the Open so you don't get half the competitors at the Regionals/Games being unable to do a single muscle-up when they are part of the workout. On the other hand, I personally do not believe that muscle-ups should be used in competition for females, unless they are placed correctly (i.e. set specifically as a test of strength/stamina on their own, because that is what they are). On the same line, I do not believe that females should have the same workouts/testing as males in CrossFit. Do you? If not, why? If yes, why?
- My opinion is that muscle-ups are 1) excessively biased towards lighter/shorter individuals, and 2) other movements can be used to test honestly/fairly what you are looking for (upper body strength, agility, speed, stamina, etc.). When muscle-ups (or HSPU's for that matter) are placed in the middle of a workout (for the very large majority of all competitors) it goes from being an aerobic session (i.e. high breathing, fairly consistent effort) to a fatigue based upper body CP Stamina/Battery session, which I do not believe is 1) conducive to truly testing anything and 2) does not produce the fittest (based on my bias as to what I believe fitness is). Anybody remember watching the first Regional workout from 2011 (Run 1000m, 30 HSPU, Row 1000m - this is a perfect example)?
- That being said, for any female that did get to the muscle-ups, that is quite a feet in and of itself. For those that were able to get a few muscle-ups, great job!

Event # 5 - Thrusters/Chest to Bar Chin-ups:
1) Time limit: 7 minutes
2) Modalities: 2
3) Energy System Tested (based on top competitors): Aerobic Power/Capacity (again, for the most part)
4) Thoughts:
- classic workout. 
- I love the combo's of squatting and upper body pulling (i.e. chin-ups) in both training and testing.
- I love that CrossFit is re-doing a workout from last year. I think they should do this more often. As it will allow people to compare to one year previous. A good comparison in that it is in the same time of the season/competition as one year ago.
- I say that this workout will test the Aerobic Power/Capacity pathway because based on the top competitors there are very few extended breaks (greater than 10 seconds). But, again for many of the females (and many males too), unless they are able to string together chin-ups with very short breaks and are not down to singles repetitively by the end, this will become a CP Stamina/Battery test (no different then the Open 12.2 workout, just likely more breathing).

What Energy Systems were missing from the Open (in my opinion):
- ATP/CP - no true tests were included. Would be very tough to judge on video, which is likely why they are not included (i.e. clean and jerk, deadlift, press, etc.) and it is very easy to lie/mis-count about how much weight is on a barbell.
- Anaerobic Alactic - not really possible with video as running would be the only possibility (based on access to everyone) and scoring/timing accuracy would be a bitch.
- Anaerobic Lactic - would be hard for judging/videoing, but still doable (one possibility would be 15,12,9 Power Cleans @ 115-135lb for males and 75-85lb for females and Burpees, which should be under 2:45 for the top competitors and would likely get at that system). 
- Aerobic Endurance/Stamina - not really possible, as YouTube and Vimeo would crash from the size of the video uploads and it would take about 2 days to complete the upload. But, that is a limitation of the current format of competition, which is fine as I cannot see any reasonable solution.