The fourth iteration of the Rogue Invitational is set to take place October 28-30 at the Dell Diamond stadium in Round Rock, Texas. It’ll feature elite CrossFit athletes like Justin Medeiros, Laura Horvath, Roman Khrennikov, Annie Thorisdottir, and Amanda Barnhart vying for a first-place payout of at least $215,000 for individual athletes.
While there’s no word on the programming for this year’s event, there are a few predictions to be made based on the past three years’ worth of Rogue-style CrossFit programming. Check out the full breakdown below.
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.
Big Picture: MWG
CrossFit has three general classifications for movements: Monostructural (a single-modality, aerobic-style movement, such as running, biking, swimming, rowing, skiing, or jumping rope), Weightlifting (moving an object through space), and Gymnastics (moving your body through space).
Here is a general overview of the number of scored events at previous Rogue Invitationals, as well as the number of each movement classification.
*Certain movements count as two of these things. For example, a weighted medicine ball GHD sit-up is considered both a gymnastics and a weightlifting movement.
**Note that the 2020 version of the Rogue Invitational took place online and therefore had a much more limited scope regarding what was programmed.
Styles of Workouts at the Rogue Invitational
In the base methodology of CrossFit, there are a few distinct styles of workouts:
Single modality: One thing is tested in isolation.
Couplets: A combination of two movements tested together.
Triplets: A combination of three movements tested together.
- Three rounds of five-ring muscle-ups, 15 handstand push-ups, 25-calorie row.
Chippers: A workout in which once you complete one thing, you generally don’t move back to it.
- The Filthy 50 is a classic CrossFit chipper.
In the case of Rogue, some distinct patterns have been established during the competition’s first three years. Here’s a look at what events have been featured in terms of style or workout:
|Event 1||Chipper||21-15-9 M-G couplet||Down-and-back chipper|
|Event 2||21-15-9 M-G-G triplet||Weightlifting-only test (sprint)||Weightlifting-only test (heavy)|
|Event 3||Chipper||Weightlifting-only test (endurance)||W-M-G sprint|
|Event 4||M-G couplet||M-W-G triplet||M-W-G triplet|
|Event 5||Biathlon||Weightlifting-only test (heavy)||21-15-9 M-G-G triplet|
|Event 6||M-W-M sprint||Down-and-back chipper||Down-and-back chipper|
|Event 7||3 RFT (rounds for time) M-G||21-15-9 W-W couplet||Elimination event|
|Event 8||Weightlifting-only test (heavy and fast)|
The pattern isn’t necessarily by event. Rather, certain styles of events pop up at some point (and sometimes more than once) over the course of each competition.
There’s a lot in here, but the biggest takeaways are that in a three-year span, we’ve seen:
- Five chippers.
- Four 21-15-9 rep scheme workouts.
- Five weightlifting-only tests.
- One of these has been heavy each year.
- In 2020, there was also a speed weightlifting test and an endurance weightlifting test (this is likely a byproduct of the limiting scope of an online competition).
- Zero gymnastics-only tests.
- Zero monostructural-only tests.
- Note that in 2019 they did have a test called the “biathlon,” which involved skiing and shooting for accuracy. Shooting doesn’t really fit into any of these three domains for workouts and has never been part of the CrossFit Games season. Most athletes missed the target and were forced to do a penalty for each miss. A part of that penalty included thrusters (a weightlifting movement) which makes this test difficult to count as a single modality, monostructural workout.
- Each year has featured a rounds-for-time (RFT) workout. This has where most of the variance has been.
- In 2019, it was three RFT of W-G.
- In 2020, it was a monostructural buy-in plus two RFT of G-M.
- In 2021, it was four RFT of M-W-G.
Common Movements at the Rogue Invitational
Rogue seems attracted to specific movements, and the table below shows the most frequently used ones from the last three years.
|4 times||Running, carry, deadlift, clean|
|3 times||Pull-ups, rowing, Echo bike, thruster step-up or lunge, strict and/or deficit HSPU|
|2 times||Burpee pull-ups, GHD sit-ups, ring muscle-ups, skiing, heavy double-unders, rope climbs|
As you can see, four of the five most commonly programmed movements are of the weightlifting variety. Three of those lifts involve pulling from the floor, two of them are Olympic lifts, and one is a horizontal displacement of an odd object. The lone non-weightlifting implement in the group is running.
It’s notable that pull-ups have shown up every year (they were performed twice in the form of burpee pull-ups), but generally speaking, most high-level CrossFit competitions opt for chest-to-bar pull-ups. Rogue seems to prefer to keep it classic in this regard.
Many of the movements that have shown up twice were only absent in the 2020 online version (ring muscle-ups, GHD sit-ups, skiing, and rope climbs).
What to Expect at the 2022 Rogue Invitational
We could, of course, delve deeper here, but these general observations should be enough for us to lay the groundwork for what athletes can expect to see in Texas this year:
- Seven scored events over three days.
- A weightlifting showcase event, likely with a barbell.
- At least one chipper, most likely of the down-and-back nature.
- A 21-15-9 style event.
- A sprint-style, power output, workout.
- A heavy emphasis on weightlifting that includes the classic Olympic lifts in at least one variety.
- A single-leg implement (step-up or lunge).
- At least two odd objects, likely one of which has never been seen in competition before.
- A horizontal displacement of at least one heavy implement.
- A thruster of some kind.
- Rope climbing and muscle-ups.
- Handstand push-ups, probably without a kip allowed.
- Some kind of jumping, or getting your body over a fixed object.
- Running at least once, and most likely with a ruck.
- Skiing and Rowing.
- One will probably be included in a chipper.
- The other will likely be included in a rounds-for-time-style workout.
- Biking, most likely of a fast or high power output variety.
- Heavy double-unders.
What Does This Mean for Fans and Athletes?
Much has been made of programming throughout this year, including the question of “what’s the purpose of the competition?”
Rogue is a showcase event, highlighting the best athletes in the world and world-class equipment from the company. Everything about this weekend (including the Strongman and Legends divisions) is meant to accomplish both of those tasks. And in the process, they use classic CrossFit workouts like couplets, triplets, rounds-for-time workouts, chippers, and single-modality weightlifting tests.
The Rogue Invitational has grown to have a reputation for being a strength-biased competition, and understandably so given how many weightlifting implements show up relative to monostructural and gymnastics.
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Will this affect the outcome? That likely depends on the athlete. Certain competitors have shown the capacity to transcend biases in programming (Tia-Clair Toomey, Justin Medeiros, Pat Vellner) when it comes to Rogue.
These athletes have done great at the Games and at Rogue. Others have proven to do better at Rogue than they’ve done at the Games, like Chandler Smith, Dani Speegle, Jeffrey Adler, and Guilherme Malheiros. All of these athletes have done well in both, but the slight tipping of the scales towards the weightlifting realm has shown to be beneficial for these athletes relative to some of their close competitors.
Featured Image: @rogueinvitational on Instagram