The CrossFit Games 2016: What They Are And What to Expect
The CrossFit Games started in 2007 and have grown to include 17 regions and 17 divisions. It’s a three stage process – The Open, Regionals, and The Games. Each stage has its rules as do the workouts.
The CrossFit Games is like a funnel. All athletes can participate but only the top performers qualify for the next stage eliminating the rest. Ages range from 14 years old and up.
The 17 regions are:
California – Northern and Southern
Canada – East and West
North – Central, East, and West
South – Central, East, and West
The 17 divisions are:
Individual – men and women
Teenage – boys and girls – two age categories (14 and 15), and (16 and 17)
Masters – Men and women – five age categories (40-44), (45-49), (50-54), (55-59), and 60+
Part of CrossFit’s philosophy of being fit is being prepared for the unknown and/or unknowable. To gauge this, the workouts are not announced until right before the competition. Athletes really have no way of preparing for the Games other than competing with themselves during the year leading up to the competition.
This is the first stage. It’s held in the winter and lasts five weeks. The competition WODs are posted on Thursdays and athletes have until the following Monday to do the workouts and log their scores. This year, 2016, The Open started in February. The top athletes from the 17 regions and divisions will go on to the Regionals.
The five workouts for the Open were:
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Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Men lunge 95 lb.
Women lunge 65 lb.
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Beginning on a 4-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb.
If completed before 4 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb.
If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb.
If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb.
If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb.
Stop at 20 minutes.
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
10 power snatches
3 bar muscle-ups
Men use 75 lb.
Women use 55 lb.
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 13 minutes of:
55 wall-ball shots
55 handstand push-ups
Men deadlift 225 lb. and throw 20-lb. ball to 10-ft. target
Women deadlift 155 lb. and throw 14-lb. ball to 9-ft. target
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
Men use 95 lb.
Women use 65 lb.
Each workout could be scaled. To see the scaled workouts and the rules that had to be followed for counted reps, you can go to CrossFit’s site.
The top ten Regionals qualifiers worldwide are:
In this second stage the athletes who performed best at the Open will advance to the Regionals. These workouts will be shown live and held over three weekends in May.
Remember the funnel analogy? The Open had 17 regions competing. The Regionals will have 8 regions competing. They are Atlantic, California, Central, East, Meridian, Pacific, South, and West. According to the Reebok CrossFit Games 2016 site:
- 20 men, 20 women and 15 teams will advance from regions in the U.S. and Canada.
- 30 men, 30 women and 20 teams will advance from Europe and Australia.
- 10 men, 10 women and 10 teams will advance from Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
The schedule for the Regionals is as follows:
The weekend of MAY 13-15 the California, South, and Pacific regions will compete.
The weekend of MAY 20 – 22 the West and Atlantic regions will compete.
The weekend of MAY 27 – 29 the Central, Meridian, and East regions will compete.
The top athletes then form teams from two-three regions to compete for the next stage – the CrossFit Games.
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At this stage, 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams, 40 teenagers, and 200 masters get to compete for the “Fittest on Earth” title. In July, The Games will take place at the StubHub Center in California.
The individual and team athletes that come in from first to fifth place get to take home cash prizes. These prizes are awarded in U.S. dollars. The prizes are distributed as follows:
- First Place: $5,000
- Second Place: $4,000
- Third Place: $3,000
- Fourth Place: $2,000
- Fifth Place: $1,000
- First Place: $3,000
- Second Place: $2,500
- Third Place: $2,000
- Fourth Place: $1,500
- Fifth Place: $1,000
To keep with the integrity of the sport, all individuals are subject to drug testing. Everyone needs to take a drug test before moving on to the Games or to receive prizes.
Every year more and more athletes compete in the CrossFit Games. To get a sense of how big the sport is, last year over 11,000 affiliates participated in the Games. And it’s expected to grow bigger in the coming years.
What’s great about the CrossFit Games is that anyone can participate in the Open. That’s where you find out where your fitness level is compared to the rest of the world. And if you didn’t do as well as you wanted to this year, there’s always next year.
Josh Blackburn is NASM-CPT and Underground Strength Coach, who loves CrossFit, Strongman training, and helping people reach their athletic potential. He is also the founder of Athletic Muscle, where he shares information to help you build muscle, gain strength, and improve performance. You can join him on Facebook & Instagram as well.