Why Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr’s ‘Mistake’ In 21.4 Makes Total Sense

When the Fittest Woman In the world says she could've lifted more, we believe her.

On March 28, 2021, following the completion of 2021 CrossFit Open workouts 21.3 and 21.4, the four-time reigning Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr shared her thoughts on the workouts and a mistake she made in 21.4. Workout 21.4 has the lifter work up to a one-rep max for a barbell complex consisting of a deadlift, a clean, a hang clean, and a jerk. The athlete has seven minutes to find their 1RM, and 21.4 starts immediately after 21.3.

Toomey-Orr was disappointed in her 21.4 performance because she “didn’t have a proper game plan going into it.” Despite that, she still lifted 230 pounds, which was good enough for eighth place out of 10,000-plus women. Christine Middleton of the USA got first with a 242-pound complex.

Check out Toomey-Orr’s thoughts on 21.4 as well as the full workout below courtesy of her and Shane Orr‘s YouTube channel:

[Related: Weightlifter Dmitry Klokov Tosses Around 330 Pounds In CrossFit Open Workout 21.4]

Toomey-Orr’s “mistake” was that she inaccurately gauged her heart rate following 21.3, which was an intense conditioning piece that involved thrusters, muscle-ups, front squats, pull-ups, and more. At the end of 21.3, Toomey-Orr’s heart rate was higher than expected, but she and her coach Shane Orr didn’t consider how much she would be able to lift as her heart rate lowered.

The Australian athlete points out that as 21.4 went on, her lifts were getting better, even though the weight was increasing. Her movement patterns improved as her heart rate came down. Therefore, she felt like she should have pushed harder — a mistake that she chalks up to not having a gameplan. 

I walked away knowing I could have done more.

Fortunately for the 2020 CrossFit Games champion, less than her best is still the best in the field. Toomey-Orr currently sits atop the overall worldwide leaderboard, having hit the following scores across the Open’s four workouts:

  • 21.1 — Sixth place, 11:21
  • 21.2 — 11th place, 9:26
  • 21.3 — Third place, 7:37
  • 21.4 — Eighth place, 230 pounds

Toomey-Orr scored 28 points in the Open — 44 points ahead of the second-place finisher, Emma Cary of the USA (the lower the point total, the better).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr (@tiaclair1)

[Related: Noah Ohlsen and Kristin Holte Give Their Tips to Dominate the Virtual Open]

The Strength Of Toomey-Orr

Toomey-Orr has an extensive history with a barbell, particularly when it comes to Olympic weightlifting. She competed in the 58-kilogram class on the Australian National Team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where she finished 14th. Toomey-Orr is actually the only athlete to ever compete at the Olympic Games and the CrossFit Games in the same year.

Additionally, Toomey-Orr won the 2018 Commonwealth Games competing at 58-kilograms. Here were her stats at that event:

  • Snatch — 87 kilograms (191.8 pounds)
  • Clean & Jerk — 114 kilograms (251.3 pounds)
  • Total — 201 kilograms (443.1 pounds)

When it comes to CrossFit competition, in particular, Toomey-Orr’s prowess in heavy barbell events is pretty apparent. During the 2020 CrossFit Games CrossFit Total event, which was essentially a powerlifting meet (subbing the bench press with a shoulder press), Toomey-Orr put up a first-place, 890-pound total. It was enough to beat her now training partner Brooke Wells by six pounds, and Kari Pearce, who finished third in the event, by 126 pounds.

[Related: Sara Sigmundsdóttir Will Miss the 2021 CrossFit Season Due to Ruptured ACL]

If all that weightlifting experience wasn’t enough, Toomey-Orr also has recent experience pushing a bobsled. The Fittest Woman on Earth® competed in and won her first competitive bobsled race with the Australian National Team in South Korea prior to the start of the 2021 CrossFit Open.

2021 CrossFit Games

Only the top 10 percent of athletes in each continental region following the Open will advance to the virtual Quarterfinals. Toomey-Orr has expressed how the standards to qualify for this year’s CrossFit Games will be an additional hurdle for her. The Semifinals will be in-person events, and she will have to compete in the Torian Pro in Brisbane, Australia. This is a difficult task considering she is currently training in Tennessee, and flights from the USA to Australia during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are few and far between, not to mention expensive.

Assuming the travel circumstances aren’t too much of a detriment to Toomey-Orr’s training schedule, she has proven through the Open that it will be difficult to take her place atop the Games podium.

Featured image: @tiaclair1 on Instagram