2016 CrossFit Regionals: Everything You Need To Know

JPEG_image-9660C42B0B75-1-1.jpegHere's eveything you need to know about the 2016 CrossFit Regionals: how to watch them, what the events are, and even a viewers guide for each event.

How To Watch The 2016 CrossFit Regionals

Head over to http://games.crossfit.com/ to catch the live steam, great commentary and expert analysis of each event. 

2016 CrossFit Regionals Schedule

The 2016 CrossFit Regionals will take place over three weekends beginning on Friday May 13th and wrapping up on Sunday May 27th. Weekend 1: May 13th-15th
  • California Regional
  • South Regional
  • Pacific Regional
Weekend 2: May 20th-22nd
  • West Regional
  • Atlantic Regional
Weekend 3: May 27th-29th
  • Central Regional
  • Meridian Regional
  • East Regional

2016 CrossFit Regionals Events


2016 CrossFit Regionals Events: Viewers Guide

Event commentary courtesy of Todd Nief, South Loop Strength and Conditioning.

2016 CrossFit Regionals Event 1: Snatch Ladder

This type of tester is one of the best predictors of performance in the sport of CrossFit.  
Some athletes will simply not be strong enough to move past a certain barbell - there will be several individual competitors whose 1RM squat snatch is in the ballpark of 245 for men and 155 for women, and they will not be able to complete the event.
That said, 1RM squat snatch - past a certain threshold - is not going to be predictive of performance on this event. If you can’t snatch at least 275-285 for men or 180-190 for women, you probably don’t have a shot at clearing the ladder. Still, there are going to be mene with a 1RM squat snatch of 285# beating people who can snatch over 300# on this event.
Because the trait being tested here is “how long do you have to rest between ‘heavy’ lifts on a squat snatch”? It’s not as simple as calculating the percentage of a 1RM to figure out who will complete more lifts faster. There are athletes who have to rest less between repeated lifts at 90% of 1RM than other athletes have to rest at repeated lifts at 75% of 1RM - and the first “type” of athlete is often the one who succeeds in CrossFit.
This trait has been referred to before as the CP battery. 
There will also be a separation here between athletes who “know themselves” and those who don’t. The best competitors are finely attuned with their own performance and will be able to tell when they’re ready to make another attempt - especially as the barbells get heavier.
Those who are less self-aware will get caught up in the adrenaline of competition, the announcers, and the crowd.


2016 CrossFit Regionals Event 2: Regional Nate

Event 2 is going to be limited pretty much entirely by the ability to repeatedly perform challenging upper body pushing and pulling movements - with a little bit of additional fatigue surrounding the scapula thrown in from the kettlebell snatching.
Just like on the snatch ladder, it’s not necessarily the athlete with the strongest weighted pull-up or the strongest press who will come out on top - nor is it the athlete with the biggest AMRAP set of strict muscle-ups or strict handstand push-ups.
The athletes who will dominate on this event are those who can perform the highest percentages of their AMRAP sets repeatedly with less rest.
You’ll see these traits over and over again in those who are really good in the sport of CrossFit. You may have one athlete with an AMRAP set of 14 strict pull-ups and another with an AMRAP of 20. However, when doing 50 strict pull-ups for time, the athlete with 14 AMRAP is able to do 5 reps every 30s for 7 sets before starting to fatigue and break into smaller fractions while the athlete with 20 AMRAP has to switch to doubles singles after hitting 8/7/6 for their first few sets.
In this case, the athlete with the smaller AMRAP set actually performs better in testing 50 pull-ups for time simply because he has the capacity to repeat these sets with minimal rest.

2016 CrossFit Regionals Events 3 & 4: Wall Ball + Pull Up, Pistol + Power Clean

This is one of the first times that we’ve seen something resembling a fatigue repeatability test with a conditioning emphasis at the Regionals. For athletes competing at the Regional level, Event 3 will likely be completed with minimal fractioning and short breaks. There is a six minute cap on the event, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see several times in the low four minute range on this event.  
Given that athletes will have practiced this in training, they will probably know exactly how and when to break up their wall balls and pull-ups to keep moving consistently.
A potential issue for some competitors is going to be the overall volume on the muscles surrounding the scapula. Given the design of the Open and the Regionals over the last few years, it should be no surprise to competitive CrossFitters that they basically need to grow an extra rotator cuff muscle.
Still, there is always separation at the Regionals between people who can recover and handle the volume of upper body pushing and pulling for two or three events per day compared to those who cannot.
The turnaround to move on to Event 4 will be relatively short, so there will also be some separation between those who are able to complete Event 3 quickly without going threshold and “blowing up” and those who hit redline trying to squeak out their pull-ups under the timecap.
Even though the turnover on Event 4 isn’t going to be super high based upon the volume of pistols, we will likely see big separations here in cycle time in terms of people who can quickly alternate their pistols and keep the power cleans moving at a touch-and-go clip versus those who went a bit “too hard” to complete event 3 and are shuffling through their pistols. The alternating pistol, like the burpee, is a movement that can slow down dramatically on a per rep basis when fatigue starts to set in.
There will also be a pretty significant element of muscle endurance in the quads based upon the volume of wall balls going right into pistols. 
Just as in the previous events, those who are "good at CrossFit" tend to display a unique set of traits that enables them to go “all out” or “near all out” on a conditioning workout, then repeat the same level of effort on incomplete rest. So, we will likely see people who look like they’re completely recovered after a few minutes rest leading into Event 4, and we’ll see people who are shuffling like zombies trying to move through their pistols.


2016 CrossFit Regionals Event 5: Run + GHD Sit Up + Deadlift

Let me begin by stating there a lot of CrossFitters who are just awful at deadlifting. However, as stated in my last article, competitive fitness athletes can get away with (relatively) terrible deadlifting.
Any time there is an event where deadlifting plays a significant role in placing, there’s a chance that we could see major leaderboard shake-ups a la Open workout 14.3.
We’re likely going to see some men with 335+ clean & jerks really struggling with 405 on the deadlift and some women with 220+ clean and jerks really struggling with 275. Some of this may be based upon limb length, some of this may be based upon anatomy of the pelvis and low back, and some of this may be based upon the fact that true tests of hinging strength, muscular endurance, or battery are somewhat rare in competitive CrossFit.
Next - the ability to run on a TrueForm is definitely a skill. For athletes who haven’t been on one, expect a huge demand on the hamstrings. There’s an art to figuring out exactly where to place your feet on each step, and there’s a learning curve on the pacing as well. 
We will likely see a big difference between athletes who are able to get some practice time in on the TrueForm and learn their pace vs those who aren’t. Imagine switching from an old, rusted Airdyne to a brand new Assault Bike. It takes awhile to understand the differences in how calories count and what RPM is sustainable on each device - if you haven’t experienced this, know that 75 rpm on an old airdyne feels much different (read: easier) than 75 rpm on an Assault Bike.
This event includes the most significant role that running has played in a Regional competition, which is very exciting. Even though last year included a mile run on the TrueForm to start a chipper, that was more of a test of the ability to pace the opening mile well enough to come off feeling good enough to hammer overhead squats. Unless an athlete was exceptionally terrible or exceptionally great on the run, it played much less of a role on event outcomes than the overhead squats or the sumo deadlift high-pulls.
In this case, ability to maintain a high effort pace on the run will be a significant separator for athletes who can move through the deadlifts without blowing up.


2016 CrossFit Regionals Event 6: Chipper

This event will show just how far the level of talent at the Regional level has progressed over the last several years. We will likely see many women completing 15 overhead squats at the same weight (155) that was a “pretty good" three rep max at Regionals in 2013.
I see the main seperator on this event the ability of athletes to maintain good shoulder positioning and stabilization on the overhead squats at this point in the weekend.
Athletes will have potentially done 30 heavy squat snatches, 40 strict muscle-ups, 70 strict handstand push-ups, 52 pull-ups, 104 wall balls, 100’ of handstand walking, and 50 burpees leading into that last set of overhead squats.
For some people, this is a normal training day - and that simply shows how much volume the best in the sport of CrossFit can handle before they “lose it” in terms of shoulder positioning, muscle endurance, and stability.
Unfortunately, the rowing and the biking are likely a non-factor on this event. The way the event is structured right now, people who are good on the rower and the bike only have the opportunity to gain a few seconds.
Why not place the row at the end so that people are sprinting to beat each other after the overhead squat? Why not increase the distance covered on the row and the bike so that good rowers have the opportunity to gain 30-60s on the competition?
This is more a test of knowing what pace you can row at without becoming too fatigued to cycle burpees and hit overhead squats than it is a test of capacity on the rower or the bike.


2016 CrossFit Regionals Event 7: Thrusters + Legless Rope Climbs

We saw a team variation on this workout in the CrossFit Games Invitational last fall. This is reminiscent of Tommy V, which was part of last year’s Regionals, but - even though this is a legless event there will likely be less management of pacing and volume here.
At this point in the Regionals level, most athletes should have the capacity to handle 6 legless rope climbs without too much trouble.
However, as we’ve seen every time the legless rope climb has made an appearance, once you enter the fail zone, there’s pretty much no coming back.
This creates an interesting dynamic since we’re undoubtedly going to have athletes fighting for a top five finish based upon where they sit in this event. If they rush a bit on a rope climb and don’t make it, they’re completely screwed.
This is another opportunity for the crowd and announcers to get in an athlete’s head and put them in a position where they’re getting capped failing their last rope climb based upon taking a rushed attempt.
We will also see a separation in those who are mechanically able to recover in the upper body from the rest of the weekend. Last year we saw several athletes struggle to complete 15 muscle-ups in the final workout - all of whom probably have AMRAP sets of 12+ reps. However, hitting 15 muscle-ups to start a workout or 6 total legless rope climbs feels quite a bit different in your home gym on an average training day than it does at Event 7 of of the Regionals. 
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