CrossFit Games Open 15.5: The Final Numbers

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The 2015 Open ended in typical fashion. That is, with lots of pain. 72 calories on the rower and 72 thrusters. Competitors either finished, or they quit. Here’s how the BTWB community managed on 15.5.

CrossFit Games Open 15.5 – Rx’d

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Analysis

In each of the percentile categories, the men were more than a minute faster than the women. The top 1% of BTWB male users took a little more than 7 minutes to complete the workout, while their female counterparts spent about 8.5 minutes to complete the same amount of work. 50th percentile men scored 12.5 minutes, and 50th percentile women scored about 13.5 minutes.

What was the cause for the big difference? The rower. Generally speaking, women pull at a slower pace than the men because they do not produce as much power. Rowing well is all about power production. Height, weight, and strength all provide an advantage on the rower. Statistically, on average, the female population is shorter, lighter, and has less absolute strength than the male population. This translates into slower paces and less calories/hr on the rower. This does not mean that there aren’t females that can outrow men, but the statistical distributions are different for the different groups.

The advantage of the rower for the men is further amplified when we compare 15.5 to the 14.5 results. 14.5 had a similar rep scheme and the exact same thruster weight. The chart below shows that the women in the 75th-95th percentiles for 14.5 had better times than the men. In all other percentile categories, the scores were really close; the women were within 30 seconds of the men’s scores. Utilizing different weights for men and women with barbell movements takes into account the differences in body type and strength between the two genders. Keeping the calorie row the same for both men and women does not. By contrast, burpees, the other movement in 14.5, are much more gender neutral.

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Comparison: CrossFit Games Open 14.5

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CrossFit Games Open 15.5 – Scaled

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Analysis

Similar to the Rx’d version of 15.5, the scaled men were more than a minute faster than the scaled women. As previously mentioned, if male and female thruster ability were exactly the same, the male advantage on the rower was always going to help them produce the faster times. As it turns out, the modified thruster weights (65/45) helped keep the scaled participants in the same relative time frame as the Rx’d participants. For each of the percentile categories, scaled men and women were only about 30-40 seconds slower than their Rx’d counterparts.

15.5 Top 5

Here are the top 5 finishers for 15.5. A big shout out goes to each of the BTWB users who managed to qualify for the Regional phase of the CrossFit Games season. Good luck at Regionals!

15.5 Men

  1. Conor Nugent – 5:58 (Fitness Level 90)
  2. Joseph Guesnier – 6:03 (Fitness Level 95)
  3. Jon Pera – 6:05 (Fitness Level 96)
  4. Joe Rogan – 6:05 (Fitness Level 90)
  5. Sean Tully – 6:06 (Fitness Level NA)

15.5 Women

  1. Christy Adkins – 7:10 (Fitness Level 96)
  2. Alessandra Pichelli – 7:17 (Fitness Level 96)
  3. Kristin Tucker – 7:24 (Fitness Level 96)
  4. Jess Chaplin – 7:27 (Fitness Level 87)
  5. Jennifer Smith – 7:28 (Fitness Level 93)