CrossFit Off The Grid - Competition Review - November 17th, 2012

I was asked by my client, Mark Saber, to design the annual competition for his facility. Of course, I obliged, as I love designing competitions to test fitness. For those that competed or those that may be interested, here is my review and thought process behind the design of events. If you have any critiques or questions, the comment section is below.

(CrossFit OTG, Williamstown)

Event 1
Snatch, 1RM

Modality: 1
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP Potential
Characteristics: power, speed, strength, technical efficiency, flexibility
- based on the large number of competitors in the event, we opted to go with a 7 minute time limit. Warm-up areas were provided prior to event to ensure no one went in to the event cold.
- true test of ATP-CP potential (i.e. maximum single effort). Individuals with the highest neuromuscular efficiency (i.e. geared towards maximal power output, not toward stamina) should perform best in this event. 
- great indicator of the individual's true power output coupled with optimal movement mechanics.
- testing power/speed at moderate to high loading.

Event 2
Consecutive Broad Jump x 5

Modality: 1
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP Potential
Characteristics: power, speed, strength, technical efficiency, optimal transfer of energy
- at no point were competitors allowed to pause, or reset between jumps. Must be 5 consecutive jumps.
- 3 minute time limit. Only 3 judged attempts were allowed. If you have ever done this, you will know why only 3 attempts were allowed.
- a very simple and valid/reliable indicator of lower body speed and power relative to bodyweight.
- ability to optimally absorb eccentric loading and minimize amoratization time is paramount.
- if an individual does not possess true speed relative to their body weight, then this test will show it...and you need to train it.
- taller individuals will do better on this event, simply due to height and limb length (basically the opposite of Event 1).

Event 3
Clean and Jerk, 5RM

Modality: 1
Energy System Tested: ATP-CP Battery/Stamina
Characteristics: power, speed, technical efficiency, squatting stamina and strength, overhead stamina and strength
- each rep must involve a full squat prior to the bar going overhead. Power clean then front squat, or squat clean, or split clean then front squat, whatever.
- high amount of eccentric loading in the legs in this event compared to event 1.
- there is a 60 second time limit in which you complete 5 legitimate repetitions. I can't remember how many judged attempts each athlete was given.
- ATP-CP Battery/Stamina is a VERY important part of most CrossFit competitions (i.e. high/moderate loading done for a LOT of reps) and some Fitness competitions. I am assuming that those who have the greatest ability to rephosphorylate ATP in minimal time will perform best at this event (assuming the individual also possess the necessary characteristics stated above). 

Event 4
15,12,9 for time (5 min time limit):
Power Clean @ 115lb/80lb
Lateral Barbell Burpees
Rest 10 min
15,12,9 for time (5 min time limit):
Power Clean @ 115lb/80lb
Lateral Barbell Burpees

Modality: 2
Energy System Tested: Anaerobic Lactic Endurance 
Characteristics: speed of repetition, efficiency of movement, pacing and recovery
- meant to be an attempt to test lactate endurance fatigue repeatability.
- for some athletes that are at the elite level of aerobic fitness OR do not push to the right intensity they are capable of OR if the weight is too heavy for them to keep the power output up.
- those that do get the dose response will be in for a ride. If you do not train for fast, powerful, and anaerobic metabolism based events, you are screwed. If you do not have an adequate aerobic system relative to the power you are able to produce in this event such that you are able to recover in the 10 minutes, you are screwed. 
- weight was not meant to become a limiting factor, the intensity of the event was meant to become the limiting factor (i.e. you are limited by your physiological potential to maintain the intensity for the duration, not limited by 1 single movement or excessive loading). 
- if this event CRUSHED you, then you need to work on both lactate training as well as more aerobic training. However, this always needs the be based on your own individual traits.
- I use this in testing and assessing my new competitive CrossFit clientele. It is very revealing to me as a Coach.

Event 5
10 minute AMRAP:
5 Thrusters @ 95lb/65lb
5 Chin-ups (C2B for males)
5 Step Down Box Jumps (24" - males, 20" - females)
10 min rest
For time (10 minute time limit):
1k Run
1k Row

Modalities: 5
Energy System Tested: Aerobic Power
Characteristics: pacing, movement efficiency, speed of repetitions, sustainability
- meant to be a fatigue repeatability type of event.
- this will be a very uncomfortable final event.
- should end up being a test of aerobic power for nearly all competitors, especially the 2nd half of the event. Only those that are unable to do the chin-up and thruster standards will not accomplish aerobic power, as it will likely be more a matter of strength than anything else.
- I am very happy that we used the step down box jump, as I am not aware of many events that make it mandatory. If you think that makes the event too easy, please go ahead and send me a video of you doing 20+ rounds.
- pacing correctly in both events is critical, as you will have to be just below "threshold" (lactate) the entire time in both events if you want to do your absolute best. Just as important (or maybe more for some) will be the recovery between events, such that you are able to do well in the least event.
- if this event CRUSHED you, you need to work on aerobic training more frequently based on your own individual traits (unless of course you were not strong enough to complete the movements, then you need to get stronger 1st).
- fatigue repeatability is critical to achieving maximal aerobic power and maximal performance in the CrossFit and Fitness competitions that are held year round.

(personal training client from June 2012 following a lactate power training session - loaded sled sprinting for 25-30 sec x 5, 6-8 minute rest...held that position for about 30 great for building power and capacity for these young hockey players)