2015 CrossFit Games Open: A Summary

It’s always a bitter-sweet feeling when the CrossFit Games Open comes to an end. On the one hand, for most, it’s the only opportunity to participate in an officially sanctioned CrossFit competition. The energy at every box in the world is high and the community is absolutely buzzing wondering what new challenge each Open workout will present. On the other hand, most of us don’t want to see the 2015 Open workouts again, hopefully, for a very long time. They were absolutely brutal, and the memory of the pain is still too fresh.

Before we move on to the next exciting phases of the CrossFit Games season (Regionals, Games), let’s take a look back at the 2015 Open workouts to see how the BTWB community handled the challenge.

15.1 & 15.1 A

The opening week of the 2015 CrossFit Games Open brought us a brand new workout style never before seen in the Open. It was a two-part workout. The first, 15.1 benefitted the smaller athletes. The major peaks represent athletes finishing the workout in the middle of the Snatch and T2B portions, not the Deadlifts. Very few people finished the workout on the Deadlifts, and, as a result, there are dips at those points.

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15.1A, by contrast, was a bigger athlete’s dream workout. The top 1% of BTWB men lifted 290+ lbs while the top 1% of BTWB women lifted 185+ lbs. Those are some impressive numbers, especially when considering they were completed immediately following a difficult 9 min AMRAP.

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15.2

15.2 was all about history. Each year of the Open has always had a repeat workout. This year it was the mental battle that was 14.2. When all was said and done, for each of the percentile categories, both men and women earned more reps in 2015 than they did in 2014. I think it’s safe to say that our users are more fit than they were last year.

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15.3

The new scaled division meant HQ could be much more flexible in their movement selection. That flexibility translated into muscle-ups… lots of muscle-ups. Because they were at the beginning of the workout, there was no escaping them. The increased difficulty rating meant only 55% of male participants could perform the workout as prescribed. Only 13% of women could do the same.

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15.4

While 15.2 relived a little bit of history, the fourth workout of the 2015 Games made history. It was the first time handstand push-ups made an appearance in a CrossFit Games Open. With it also came a brand new, and challenging, standard for the movement. Yes, the workout also included cleans, but the scores distribution for both men and women suggest that 15.4 was more about how good you were at HSPUs than how well you could handle 185/125 lb cleans.

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15.5

Thrusters and rowing. A fitting end to an eventful 2015 Open. In each of the percentile categories, the men were more than a minute faster than the women. 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.

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What We’ve Learned

The one big takeaway from this year’s Open is that all bets are off. The new scaled division means more/different movements are now in play. It also means greater flexibility in workout creation for Dave Castro.

New Trends

Newer, more advanced, movements are now on the table. The handstand push-up from 15.4 was the perfect example of a sign of things to come. With it also came a new standard.

Also, 2015 gave us a brand new workout style. 15.1/15.1a was the first ever two-part workout. Could we see more of these in the future? 15.3 also introduced muscle-ups at the beginning of a workout. CrossFit is no longer concerned with an athlete’s ability to perform at least one rep of a highly skilled movement. The sport has advanced to the point where athletes must demonstrate their competency at doing multiple reps on multiple occasions, all within the same workout.

Lastly, the Open is also getting harder. The difficulty level of the workouts in 2015 was at an all-time high. 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 had a 54%, 54%, 13% Rx’d participation rate, respectively, for the women. The male Rx’d participation rates for the same workouts were 81%, 72%, and 55%.

History Repeats Itself

Some things never change…at least not yet. For the 5th straight year, thrusters appeared in the final workout of the Open. As, perhaps, the most iconic of CrossFit movements (and the most taxing), it’s only fitting to include the Thruster as part of the Open’s finale. View a complete list of the torturous finales below.

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

We also saw another ascending rep scheme. In fact, 2015 had two. So did 2014. The ascending rep schemes offer up the additional mental battle that Dave Castro seems to hold near and dear to his heart. A list of the history of the Open’s ascending rep scheme workouts can be viewed below.

11.6, 12.5, 13.4, 14.2, 14.3, 15.2, 15.4

Lastly, what’s a CrossFit Games Open without a repeat workout? Repeat workouts are a foundation of the CrossFit program. It’s the easiest way of knowing if fitness progress is being made. It only makes sense for the Open to include them as well. I wouldn’t expect that trend to end any time soon.

12.5, 13.3, 14.1, 15.2

Surprises

The biggest surprise of the 2015 CrossFit Games Open was the exclusion of both box jumps and burpees from the programming. Since 2011, 9 movements have appeared in each and every Open. That streak was ended this year. Box jumps and burpees are a staple of the CrossFit program, and it was surprising to see them missing from 2015’s test. For a complete list of the 9 movements from 2011-2014 be sure to read CrossFit Games Open 2015: What To Expect.