Are 15.3 and 15.4 good for CrossFit?

With the regionals right around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to discuss the future of CrossFit, in hopes that it will invoke thoughts and begin discussions.

We saw the first installment of muscle ups at the start of an open workout in 15.3. With this, I was forced to wonder—will this push CrossFit to new skill levels? Or will it cause the everyday CrossFitter to loose interest in performing in the open? Will it separate the elite from the everyday CrossFit athlete?

It is amazing to see how far CrossFit has come since the initial games and the amount of skills that have been added and progressed. In 2013, we saw a 2007 workout repeated.   It was a for time 1000-meter row, followed by 5 rounds of 25 pull-ups and 7 push jerks (135/85). In 2007, Brett Marshall finished it in 13:07. In 2013, Josh Bridges completed the same workout in 8:33. This alone shows the natural evolution and push that CrossFit has. I, myself, got demolished with the 14.2 workout that saw overhead squats. After recovering from the open, this pushed me to work on my overhead movements and was the primary catalyst to becoming a more complete CrossFitter.

On the other hand, part of the spirit of the open is that I can compare myself to the fittest athletes on earth. I am not in class of Froning, Kalipa, Bridges, or any other games or regional athlete. But with the open, I can say that I completed the workout they did—I in some way competed alongside these legends. This is what makes the open unique and CrossFit special to many of us everyday athletes. In what other sport or athletic event can an individual legitimately compare him or herself to the guys that get paid? Football, no chance. Baseball, I don’t think so. Basketball, nope. Hockey, I can barely ice skate. Soccer, I don’t think they would let you buy your way onto the pitch.

For an athlete unable to complete a muscle up or for those who persist and try miserably till his or her shoulders give, it is just not the same. Does this go against the spirit of the open? It takes away from it what makes it unique. As a Physical Therapist, this could sometimes look like more business. When done correctly, I see CrossFit in no way to be bad, cause injury, or place athletes at risk for injury. This changes when athletes start to attempt tasks beyond their abilities. This is true for any sport. When there is poor form, there becomes the possibility of injury. For me, this is the thought I have when I see an open workout staring with muscle ups. Not true for all, but replace “muscle ups” with that task which is most difficult for you. It would be like adding a 155 snatch to 15.1 or a 135 overhead squat to 15.2 (14.2). I am happy they have a scaled division, however when looking at the workout, the pull-up and dip are removed. This completely changes the workout from a triplet to a couplet.

I hope that 15.3 and 15.4 will help to push our community to grow and advance in skills, but also that HQ does not overlook the importance of the everyday CrossFiter for the elite few, as they are the ones who inspire the rest.