2023 Wodapalooza Event Preview: Rings & Squats

Who's got the best chance to win the new Rings & Squats event at the 2023 Wodapalooza?

The 2023 TYR Wodapalooza (WZA) returns to Miami, FL, from Jan. 12-15, 2023. In this four-day functional fitness competition, some of the most notable CrossFit athletes will compete in the Individual and Team divisions, with a total of $500,000 in prize money up for grabs.

Though the full list of events hasn’t been released yet at the time of this article’s publication, the first one has been confirmed. Read below for a full breakdown of what to expect.

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.

[Related: Karin Freyová Is a DFC Legend. Can She See Similar Success at the 2023 CrossFit Games?]

Wodapalooza 2023 Event: Rings & Squats

WZA founder Guido Trinidad says this Rings & Squats workout has been in the hopper for six years, and it’s finally seeing the light of day in 2023. Here’s what it entails:

12-minute time cap.

Picks to Win

Athletes need to excel at all aspects of the workouts to win in a field as big and as deep as the WZA elite Individual fields are. They need to be elite on the rings while also having the squatting capacity to stay strong as the reps get more difficult. To secure the victory, an athlete likely needs to perform an unbroken set of overhead squats at the end.

*Note: The rosters for Wodapalooza are not finalized; these picks are based on what’s been published on the Wodapalooza Instagram and the online qualifiers. BarBend will update this article if there are any changes.

Gui Malheiros and Emma Cary

Proficiency on the rings shouldn’t be an issue for either Gui Malheiros or Emma Cary. There’s no one with a better squat and overhead position in the sport than Malheiros, making him an easy favorite.

Cary doesn’t have the flair or standout performances of Malheiros, but her overhead strength shouldn’t be overlooked. She hit a 200-pound snatch at Semifinals in 2021 and placed seventh at the max snatch at the CrossFit Games that same year.

Dark Horses for the Event

One of the unique elements of WZA is its hybrid elite field, with about half the athletes earning invites via previous accomplishments and the other half earning their spot through the online qualifier. All of our dark horse picks for WZA this year are athletes who earned a spot through the qualifier.

[Related: 7 of the Best CrossFit Athletes of 2022]

Fabian Beneito and Oihana Moya

Both athletes made waves at the Dubai Fitness Championship earlier this offseason: Fabian Beneito took the win, and Oihana Moya earned a top-five finish. Moya also came close to a top-10 finish at WZA last year before withdrawing due to a wrist injury.

Each has the capacity for ring muscle-ups and impressive times at the 2022 quarterfinal workout. They competed at the Lowlands Throwdown, where the last movement of the final workout was 10 reps of overhead squats at a similar weight. Beneito and Moya had strong showings on that workout, which bodes well for them on the critical event.

Damage Control

Although the fields are deep and talented, only a handful of athletes in each division have a legitimate shot to win it or make the podium. Here are two athletes who need to mitigate damage on each workout to maximize their potential.

Roman Khrennikov and Dani Speegle

Events featuring ring muscle-ups have not been kind to Roman Khrennikov in 2022. He placed 15th (his worst event finish) at the CrossFit Games in the Up and Over event and took 17th out of 20 (his worst event finish) on The Goblet at the Rogue Invitational. He could prove doubters wrong by pulling off an elite performance on the muscle-ups in Florida.

Dani Speegle similarly struggled on those two workouts. She came in 33rd at the Games on Up and Over and 18th on The Goblet at Rogue. All three rounds of squats will be almost an afterthought for Speegle, so if she can manage the muscle-ups moderately well, she could salvage a much better finish on this workout than those other two.

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Featured Image: @wodapalooza on Instagram