Reebok CrossFit Games 2012 - The Regionals

Here is my opinion on the upcoming Regional events. I compete in the Canada West Regional this weekend (April 27-29th), so I may have some different thoughts afterwards.

Event # 1 - "Diane"
1) Modalities - 2
2) Energy System Tested (based on the top competitors) - CP Stamina/Capacity
3) Thoughts:
- this is a classic CrossFit workout. I remember watching a video of Brett Marshall (CrossFit Calgary) from many many moons ago absolutely destroying this workout. I wonder if anyone will beat his time of sub 2 min during the next few weekends?
this was my best performance on Diane, way back in September 2009...shortly after the 2009 CrossFit Games. My feet were too wide (why that matters I still don't know), my hands were too wide (probably 3-4" wider than the limit for the HSPU's in the Regionals 2012), and I was wearing a belt (that would be an automatic 30 second penalty now that I think about it).
- this is not a workout in favour of someone that is heavy and tall (i.e. DeeJay Wickham)
- for the top Male/Female competitors - the entire workout is centred around the HSPU's. The deadlift will only really dictate positioning in standings for people that are able to blaze through the HSPU's unbroken, thereby creating a scenario which makes the breaks between sets of Deadlifts quite short, thereby making them more challenging.
- for most Female competitors - this might as well be 45 HSPU's for time (for the most part). Only a small percentage (maybe < 20%) females will have some issues with doing the Deadlifts unbroken. And, yes, the Deadlifts will add some fatigue to the upper body/core which does play a part in the HSPU's, but it is not going to be that important. I really dislike the fact that females have to complete the 21 HSPU's in order to advance onward in the competition, very disappointing. These individuals will not take one of the top two spots in my Regional, so I don't know what the issue is. I hope all the females squeak out the round of 21 so they are able to continue. Setting this standard places way too much emphasis on the upper body relative strength (body weight/height vs. strength) of the Female competitors (the Male competitors will likely not be affected by this, for the most part).

Event # 2 - "The Zone 1 Row"
1) Modalities - 3
2) Energy System Tested (based on the top competitors) - CP Stamina/Capacity with a splash of Aerobic System
3) Thoughts:
- poor layout to the workout. Placing the 2000m Row at the start of the workout makes no sense to me, as it takes away 2 things - 1) potentiation of events, and 2) pain (i.e. aerobic power). But, at least everyone will have completed a decent warm-up prior to starting the pistols! I will be rowing the 2000m at a 1:55 ish/500m pace (give or take), meaning that my heart rate will not even approach 85% max, meaning the my cardiac output will be very low, meaning that this is not a test of the aerobic system.
- I believe a slight change in the design would yield more useful results. For example: start the workout with the hang cleans. Make it an AMRAP in 2-5 mins at that weight if you wish. Then AMRAP Pistols in 2-5 mins. Then Row 2000m for time.  At least this way the 2000m Row means something, and being proficient at Pistols means something as well. Score the events individually, or combine, or whatever.
- the Hang Cleans will be the determining factor in the workout for everyone, unless you are very slow at the Pistols due to ankle flexibility, injury to the knee, etc., or your Rower is broken.
- again setting the standard of having to complete the 10 Hang Cleans in order to move on makes no sense to me and will end individuals' weekends' too early.
- for people that have long thigh bones (i.e. femur), and limited ankle flexibility, you had better bring some high heel shoes to get the pistols done...or plan on doing pistols on your toes (read: knee/hip injury).
- I like the use of a single leg movement in testing, as proficiency in double leg and single leg movements is a missing link in many of the people I come across.

Event # 3 - "DB Power Snatch and Yogging"
1) Modalities - 2
2) Energy System Tested (based on the top competitors) - CP Stamina/Capacity with a splash of Aerobic System
3) Thoughts:
- where can I buy a 100lb DB?
- producing power with the hips and finishing with a single arm is a nice addition to competition (like a softball throw).
- receiving the DB overhead is going to be really challenging for many people (myself included).
- the movement standard weight for the Power Snatch is too slow to make the workout very taxing to the lactate or aerobic system for most (relative to its true potential).
- I will be on the lookout for people that are sprinting during this event as it will be non-existant (outside of the last dash during round 4).
- I posted about this on Facebook a few weeks ago, stating that I believe without testing running in a competition, you cannot truly test fitness. This event is not a test of running, in case you were wondering. If you will always test for a max lift in a competition, then you should always test for a run of some sorts (I would suggest distance has to total at least 1600m to balance things out). Running seems very simple or boring, but it is very revealing of any energy system you choose to test and is always valid/repeatable/measurable.
- again, not a fan of cutting people who cannot finish the first round of the DB Power Snatch/Run. I sincerely hope everyone makes it though the first round.

Event # 4 - "Ouch"
1) Modalities - 5
2) Energy System Tested (based on the top competitors) - I don't know. There will be lots of breathing/muscular endurance needed and lots of fractions of reps (i.e. CP Stamina/Capacity).
3) Thoughts:
- classic CrossFit chipper/beatdown
- most important thing for competitors to realize is that they cannot finish the workout in 10 minutes, and should not attempt to do so, if they do it will end up as a DNF or a very painful last half of the workout. Strategy, proper resting, and recovery of shoulders/quads will be very important in this one.
- this event will test how much discomfort you can put up with while breathing your ass off.
- there will be too many breaks during the event to call it a true aerobic test, but it will be close for some of the elite competitors as they will not be breaking too often.

Event # 5 - "Double Under/Snatch"
1) Modalities - 2
2) Energy System Tested - CP Capacity (this is pretty much a true test of the ATP/CP system, if not for the double unders)
3) Thoughts:
- the double unders add a nice adaptability component. For people getting to the higher loads of 225+, you will have done a fair number of double unders prior to these lifts which can mess with the tech/timing of the Snatch
- your shoulders/low back/quads will likely be quite tender prior to this event, due to the Friday and Saturday events. This may or may not play a vital role in your max effort attempts. However, from my previous experiences in competitions, it will not cause much issue for most people, as adrenaline/cortisol is a wonderful this during competition (not so much for the following week when you don't have any and have trouble lifting your head off the pillow in the morning).
- why not do this event first? If you want test true potential of someone's CP/ATP system, place it first in the weekend. Or, place it earlier in the competition before people are too beat up.

Event # 6 - "The Finale"
1) Modalities - 6
2) Energy System Tested - the 3 rounds of DL/MU's will be CP Stamina/Capacity, after that it will be an aerobic power test
3) Thoughts:
- I think the heavy DL in this event is overkill on the weightlifting and your precious lumbar vertebrae/discs.
- for the numerous females that are not proficient at MU's, the moderate/heavy DL will not help with this. As the DL will likely heavily fatigue the lats/arms making the MU reps that much harder for them.
- It will be key to not smash your grip by pushing too hard on the DL's or the MU's as the toes to bar, farmers walks, and last set of MU's will be tough on the grip.

Limitations of the Regional workouts
- it is only one weekend, and it can't be expected that the events chosen by CrossFit would include every potential modality as equipment shipping/transport/set-up/take down cannot be extreme. I will just discuss what this may be missing.
- each Regional has to have the same workouts, meaning that all event host centres have to have all necessary accommodations, which will again limit workout options (i.e. running, swimming, climbing, etc.).
- the shoulder girdle (more specifically the GH Joint) will once again be devastated by the end of the weekend, hopefully their will not be too many injuries.
- the lumbar vertebrae/musculature will also be devastated by the end of the weekend. Again, hope there are not too many injuries.
- there is no test of Aerobic Capacity/Aerobic Power or Aerobic Endurance (this is where running should come in).
- running is not included in the event, yogging is.
- there is no test of the Anaerobic Lactate (or Anaerobic Glycolytic) system (i.e. something really hard) as all the events are too slow, and hence, not powerful for a sufficient time frame.
- there is no test of Squatting Strength (high rep squatting is not a test of strength, and will not determine who is best at squatting).
- there is no test of Bending Strength, i.e. Deadlift (high rep bending movements are not equivalent to 1RM's).
- there is no test of Upper Body Pulling or Pressing Strength. I loved that their was a Chin-up test in the Games last year...very cool, as was the softball throw. Again, high rep movements do not qualify as a test of strength).
- 5 out of the 6 events include some kind of moderate/heavy bending movement, that is a lot of a single movement pattern. Too much?
- 4 out of the 6 events include some kind of moderate/heavy overhead pressing/lockout, that is a lot for those rotator cuffs to handle in 3 days. Thoughts?
- why is the criteria for being cut from an event (i.e. not finishing the HSPU's/Clean's/DB Snatches/etc.) always based on CP ability. When will people be cut from an event due to inability in their anaerobic glycolytic/anaerobic lactic (i.e. row 500m in a certain time relative to your body weight) or due to an inability in aerobic power (i.e. run 1600m under 7 min for males, under 8 mins for females). This is a very simple question to ask, as well as a very simple thing to test for. For the people spending a lot of money to go to these events, at least tell them before they make travel arrangements and pay their registration fee that if you cannot do the following things: A, B, C, D...then you probably shouldn't bother coming.
- in my opinion, CrossFit is testing their definition of fitness, and who is fit. Which is fine as this is what I signed up for. This is not how I would design a competition to find who is fittest, as clearly my biases/definition are not the same as CrossFit's.
- I believe that you should be able to test for the fittest without having to leverage the individual's body/health against it. At what point does volume during a weekend competition move from necessary to borderline harmful? I believe that it speaks to the validity and efficiency of the tests implored to be able to find your answer in the simplest and least harmful way possible. Critics of my belief may say "you should be able to do that much work if you are to be called the fittest, or "that is CrossFit", or what have you. Maybe they are right. But, I say that is being unaware of the possibilities. Possibilities that have yet to be explored.
- comments are welcome.

All the best to each and every competitor. Full effort, full victory.