CrossFit Athlete Jacob Heppner Will Not Qualify for Regionals

It’s been a rough couple of years for three-time CrossFit Games athlete Jacob Heppner. Last year, he had to withdraw from the 2017 CrossFit Open after 17.1 due to bursitis in his knee. Now, he’s shared on his Instagram page that he won’t be qualifying for Regionals, which comes as a shock to many.

Heppner finished 41st worldwide in 18.1, 63rd in 18.2, 1015th in 18.3, and 22,723rd in 18.4. The standards for this year’s Open have been questioned by some in the community a few times, and this particular situation has sparked a conversation regarding athletes with body proportions that may be statistical outliers. We’re not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with Heppner here, but we though it relevant to highlight his point of view.

In Heppner’s Instagram post’s description, he explains his take, saying,

“Really not sure how to start this off. So I guess I’ll start by hooking you with the statement “I will not be qualifying to Regionals.” Now read below for the explanation.

My 18.4 score was 104 reps. Most of you know that I love HSPU, HS Walking, and pretty much anything inverted. If these movements existed in a Regionals or Games workout then I usually came out top 5. Unfortunately a problem arose from the new standard, height + 1/2 forearm length. Now for all you folks claiming “If an athlete doesn’t like the new standard then they need to fix their body positioning and get better upside down” this is where you realize that isn’t always true.

Let’s admit we’ve all at least seen that one person who really struggled to hit the standard and it wasn’t because they had bad positioning, but instead was due to their anatomy. The issue lies in the forearm length measurement. Instead of taking the whole arm length, which I admit would be difficult, only the forearm was measured. This creates the possibility that certain athletes, like myself, could be a statistical outlier in our ration of forearm length comparative to bicep/total arm length. Meaning having really long forearms when compared to overall arm length.

I’ve watched my video many times and believe me I couldn’t get any closer to the wall or get my hands any narrower. I just happened to be one of the few athletes that had to stretch and press as much a possible to bet barely over that dreaded line.

I would be lying if I told you the thought didn’t cross my mind of shorting a few measurements, bending my knees when measuring my height, or cutting a few 1/8’s off my elbow measurement. But when it’s all said and done I just wouldn’t be able to live knowing I cheated someone else out, regardless if I agree with the new standard or not.

CrossFit isn’t life and I’d rather be known as a man of integrity than a great athlete.”

Feature image from @jheppner66 on Instagram 


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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.