BTWB 2015 CrossFit Fitness Report

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“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
–Winston Churchill

It’s the end of 2015, and as another calendar year comes to a close, so does another year of fitness. Needless to say, the #BTWB community has been busy putting in work! With a lot of posts comes a lot of data, and we all know we love data. Here’s a breakdown of the latest trends we found.

The following breaks down the different modalities of workouts posted in 2015.

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  • M: Monostructural
  • G: Gymnastics
  • W: Weightlifting
  • MG: Monostructural + Gymnastics
  • MW: Monostructural + Weightlifting
  • GW: Gymnastics + Weightlifting
  • MGW: Monostructural + Gymnastics + Weightlifting

You have around a 75% chance of walking into a random gym and have that WOD involve some form of weightlifting.

Boom. That’s right. Weightlifting took up a whopping 44.82% of all posts on BTWB this year. Combining the other percentages that weightlifting is involved in gives us 74.65%. CrossFit’s methodologies taught us to embrace change and varying movements to create an all-inclusive re-defined Fitness. Yet, based off of this data, you have around a 75% chance of walking into a random gym and have that WOD involve some form of weightlifting. Needless to say, you also have a 44.13% chance of that workout to include some form of gymnastics. Combining the two give us the classic format of workouts, Gymnastics + Weightlifting, at 17.85%. This makes sense since popular workouts like Fran, Amanda, and Nasty Girls fall right into this.

This data inclines us to believe that we are very heavily Strength biased in our community. The Games events seem to be getting heavier and heavier each year. From the gyms I’ve visited, most extra accessory work being performed is all weightlifting. It’s much less common to see someone working on improving their gymnastics threshold. Is this because the fitness community has a better idea of a progression on getting stronger? Most trainers could spit out a ton of different popular Squat programs at you, but the path for gymnastics seems a little more blurred.

The beauty of CrossFit is the variability. We can have heavy or light, long or short, high reps or low reps, you name it.

On the contrary, just because we do a ton of weightlifting, doesn’t mean everyone is just lifting heavy crap and putting it back down all day. The beauty of CrossFit is the variability. We can have heavy or light, long or short, high reps or low reps, you name it. I could go into detail, but this meme pretty much sums up the beauty of weightlifting in CrossFit.

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Here’s a recent science article about High Intensity workouts, but this isn’t new information for any of us 😛

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For those curious about the stats on the characteristics, here’s some numbers.

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Taking a quick look, High reps and Medium loads are the most prevalent. A workout like the CrossFit Games Open 14.5 is a perfect example of these two characteristics combined. As a quick refresher, this was the nasty 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of 95/65lb Thrusters and Bar Facing Burpees 😦 . We strongly favor moving some weight and also moving it fast. A study back from 2010 showed that “low-load high volume resistance exercise is more effective in inducing acute muscle anabolism than high-load low volume or work matched resistance exercise modes.” CrossFit gives us the perfect recipe for getting jacked and increasing our metabolic performance.

What’s also interesting is how much we do Timed workouts compared to the rest. Although, it’s always an intense adrenaline rush when you go all out to finish your final reps and then yell out “TIME!” as you collapse to the floor (and proceed to rip off your shoes if you are like me). Tabata has a sad showing at only 3%. Could this be due to the aging popularity of Tabata workouts and the rise in EMOMs? Looks like we are all more likely to do something timed then the classic Tabata Something Else workout.

Let’s take a look at the Top Movements that were logged this year.

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8 of the top 10 movements can be performed with just a barbell, jump-rope, and a pull-up bar

This list of top movements embodies what we as a community favor in our workouts. 8 of the top 10 movements can be performed with just a barbell, jump-rope, and a pull-up bar as your equipment. It’s safe to say that most anyone can easily do what we all are doing in CrossFit in their home garage. You don’t need an insane amount of equipment to be super effective with your fitness. Most of the movements and workouts can be accomplished with minimal gear, and Rogue Fitness has the perfect package for your home gym on a budget. Sometimes I think people get caught on having the “craziest” and most complicated workouts to do and lose sight of what they’re really trying to go for with their fitness. Keeping it simple is sometimes all you need. I remember doing “Bottom-to-Bottom Tabata Air Squats” 8 years ago in Jeremy Kinnick’s garage. I have dark flashbacks to those grueling 4 minutes. Simple and effective.

Now given those movements, let’s take a look at the top Workouts.

Top 25 Workouts

1. Fran 14. Fight Gone Bad
2. Annie 15. Murph
3. Helen 16. DT
4. Grace 17. ELizabeth
5. Cindy 18. Karen
6. CrossFit Games Open 15.1 19. CrossFit Games Open 15.4
7. Run 1 mi TT 20. Row 1000 m TT
8. CrossFit Games Open 14.2 / 15.2 21. CrossFit Total
9. Jackie 22. Isabel
10. Diane 23. Row 2000 m TT
11. Run 5 km TT 24. Filthy Fifty
12. CrossFit Games Open 15.5 25. The Chief
13. Nancy

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It’s clear to see we do a whole ton of classic benchmark workouts. The Girls workouts alone count for 44% of the top 25 workouts. These are the obvious go-to benchmark. This list also coincides with our Characteristics from earlier of Medium Loads and High Reps, basically every Girl benchmark. It’s easy to ask someone “What’s your Fran time?” to get a rough estimate of their athletic capability in CrossFit. What’s also interesting to note though is how the CrossFit Games Open workouts descend the ranks almost by their order in the Open. This corresponds with how people tend to drop out of the Open as the workouts progress typically due to difficulty and the skill involved, like Muscle-Ups.

CrossFit as a whole is constantly changing and evolving. Just like coach Glassman has said from the beginning, it’s about “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity across broad times and modal domains”. We should be seeing a change in popular workouts and movements from year to year, and we are. We might look like we’ve done a lot of weightlifting, but we’ve done a whole lot of everything else. From pushing the red-line on those AMRAPs to squeezing out every last pound on our snatch. Although, maybe next year, instead of working on them squat #gainz, what about some gymnastics? 🙂 I’m excited to see what this next year has in-store for us all, and I’m willing to bet Assault Bike will be on the list of movements for 2016 😉 .