If you are going to test a group of athletes fitness then you want to be confident that the test will distinguish the most fit from the least fit. When trying to identify the fittest athletes for a particular sport. It is also important to use a range of tests that assess all components of fitness that contribute to performance. Sports scientists go to great lengths to ensure that fitness tests are valid and reliable. After all, an athletes selection and livelihood may depend on it.
Finding the Fittest on Earth
The competitive side of CrossFit is a worldwide competition open to all CrossFitters that culminates in crowning the Fittest on Earth. It starts with a 5 week Open, during which beginners and elite alike complete 5 standardised workouts. It might just be the only competition and in the world where grassroots goes head to head with the elite of the sport. The very best performers throughout the Open are invited to a Regional Contest. The top 5 men and women from 10 Regional Finals are invited to the annual CrossFit Games. Here they battle to be crowned Fittest on Earth.
The CrossFit Open as a Test of Fitness
Here’s the dilemma – just 5 workouts that everyone can have a go at. Just 5 workouts to identify those that might be able to go to the Regional level of competition. The workouts must cater for mass participation but also meet the criteria of being a good test of fitness. In other words, the Open workouts must generate enough separation between the worst and the best CrossFit athletes. With hundreds of thousands taking part too, the tests are often short, giving people ample time to get themselves through it (participants have just 4 days to complete each workout and submit their scores).
I have to say that in recent years the Open workouts have become rather predictable – similar exercises, popping up in various combinations. As each workout was announced it meant that the options narrowed for the latter ones, where people could predict what was coming. However, the 2018 season has been different. Dave Castro, who designs the workouts in top secret, has certainly raised the bar this season. Not only have we seen new exercises that are more demanding, such as handstand walks for the first time, but we’ve also seen more challenging combinations that before.
The Fitness Test as a Separator
As a result of innovative workouts, this years CrossFit Open has been a genuine separator. If you could handstand walk then you had to earn the right to get to that part of the workout before time ran out. Unlike previous years 50 Double Unders will isn’t enough – it’s now 100. If you cannot perform a ring muscle up then 18.3 was going to stop at 220 reps. The best CrossFit athletes were able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. This years Open has been a very good test of CrossFit skills and fitness.