The Regional Workout Change You Probably Missed

Now that all the Events of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Regionals have been released, we can talk about what we expect in the upcoming weekends. As elite CrossFit athletes evolve to become skilled across all ten fitness domains, so have the tests to determine the individual male and female Games champions. While previous  programming could have (arguably) benefited specialists, the programming this year sends a clear message: Specialists will be punished.

In 2016, all seven Individual Regional Events have a minimum work requirement. Failure to perform results in immediate elimination from the competition.

Minimum work requirements for Events are nothing new. We’ve seen them for Regional Events in 2011, 2012, and 2013—and as competitive athletes get progressively fitter, the minimum requirements also progress; from a single handstand pushup for Event 1 in 2011, to 25 handstand push-ups for Event 6 in 2013. Strength requirements also shot up, from one snatch at 135 lb. for men, and 95 lb. for women in 2011, to ten hang cleans at 225 for men and 135 lb. for women.

During both the 2014 and 2015 Regionals, all individual athletes got to compete in all seven events, regardless of their performance in previous Events throughout the Regional weekend. With that change, we saw a number of  individuals flawlessly execute heavy snatches, and gloriously fail while trying to walk on their hands. Others made short work of strict handstand push-ups, and struggled with moderate-weight overhead squats. This year, things are different.  

This is the statement posted on the Games’ 2016 Regional Events — Individual page:

Some events will have a minimum work requirement. For those events, if an athlete fails to meet the minimum work requirement, they will not be eligible to move on to the next event.

You can find the complete workout descriptions, including all of the minimum work requirements at the Games site, and yes, all seven workouts have a minimum requirement. Some could be labeled easier than others, but the reality is that any athlete can be sent home early at any point during the weekend.

Here is a quick breakdown of the requirements, and what we might  expect to see.  

Event 1 Minimum Work Requirement

1 squat snatch.

185 lb. for men and 135 lb. for women.

Assuming the average snatch for Regional athletes is 235 lb. for men, and 145 lb. for women, the opening weights for the Snatch Ladder don’t look so daunting. However, I predict we will see at least a few athletes trying to PR their snatch during Event 1, just to stay in the game.

Event 2 Minimum Work Requirement

1 full round (23 reps)

4 strict muscle-ups

7 strict handstand push-ups

12 kettlebell snatches

70 lb. for men and 53 lb. for women

No other Regional workout has ever made me this giddy. Ever since the strict handstand push-up apocalypse of 2014, I’ve been waiting for the magic words: strict muscle-ups. This workout will expose athletes who chose to run before they could walk. As if that weren’t enough, Games Director Dave Castro also threw in one of my favorite (and wildly underrated) movements in the universe, the kettlebell snatch. This workout will destroy egos, as well as grips.

Event 3 Minimum Work Requirement

1 pull-up (105 reps)

104 wall-ball shots

20 lb. to a 10 ft. target for men and 14 lb. to a 10 ft. target for women.

1 pull-up

At first glance, this elegant couplet looks incapable of eliminating Regional-level athletes from competition,but if you take into consideration the psychological effect of getting repeatedly no-repped can have on an athlete, this workout could put some athletes’ mental fortitude to the test.

Event 4  Minimum Work Requirement

1 full round (43 reps)

28 alternating pistols

15 power cleans

115 lb. for men and 80 lb. for women

This is another minimum requirement that “doesn’t look too bad,” but any CrossFit athlete worth their salt knows how dangerous it is to underestimate a workout. With only a minute of rest between Events 3 and 4, muscle fatigue from the wall-balls is bound to, at the very least, influence athletes’ performances on the pistols.

Event 5 Minimum Work Requirement

1 deadlift (45 reps)

400m run

40 GHD sit-ups

7 deadlifts

405 lb. for men and 275 lb. for women

These deadlift weights are probably around 80-85% of the average Regional athlete’s max deadlift. Add to that the grip-taxing workouts preceding Event 5, and we will likely see athletes tear through the run and sit-ups and struggle with the bar in an attempt to complete a successful lift.

Event 6 Minimum Work Requirement

1 overhead squat (21 reps)

1,000m Assault Bike

100 ft. handstand walk

10 overhead squats

225 lb. for men and 155 lb. for women

Affectionately dubbed ‘The Devil’s Bicycle’ by some athletes I know, this is the Assault Bike’s first appearance at the Regional level. Much like the other newcomer of the seasonthe kettlebell snatch—the Assault Bike is a guaranteed challenge. And while athletes at previous Regionals were still allowed to advance despite a bad performance on handstand walks, unless you can walk 100 ft. on your hands (after spending some quality time with Beelzebub’s preferred mode of transportation) you are done for the weekend.

Event 7  Minimum Work Requirement

1 round (24 reps)

21 thrusters

3 legless rope climbs

95 lb. for men and 65 lb. for women

As with some previous Regionals, the last workout is a quick-and-dirty  race to the finish. If an athlete has made it this far, it doesn’t really matter what the minimum requirements are. That is, unless their weakness is legless rope climbs.

I’m personally very excited to see how the cream of the crop fares on these workouts. I find these workouts to be simple, elegant, grueling, and a great way to test fitness—which is pretty much everything I love about CrossFit.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.