Are muscle-ups that important, Castro?

In previous posts, I’ve presented on the range of Open workout placings athletes have and its impact on CrossFit Games Regional qualification. These results were posted in a series entitled “Predicting regional competitors from single open workouts” and can be found here:

I believe these results partially counter Dave Castro’s statement during the introduction to Open workout 14.4 (around minute 37:00 here):

We wanted the best of the best to be able to finish it and get back to the rower. … You should not go to Regionals, you should not go to Regionals if you don’t have a basic move like the muscle-up. Period.

The Open is changing year-to-year, becoming more competitive and more challenging to qualify for Regionals, but one thing my posts have illustrated: there is a lot of variation and a single Open workout is a poor predictor of regional qualification.

So how can Castro make this claim? Have muscle-ups been a deciding factor in Regional qualification in the past?


In fact, muscle-ups have been featured in the past two Open competitions during the Karen-esque, miserably painful 12.4 and 13.3, and there were plenty of Regionally qualifying women who didn’t perform a single muscle-up during these workouts. Indeed, 39 in 2012, and 5 in 2013 just from my sub-sampled data set (described in my first post).

The range in scores for 12.4 and 13.3 for Regional qualifiers (overall place is less than 60) in my data set: 240-270, and 240-273, respectively. This means that an athlete needed to complete double-unders, (the workout was 150 wall balls, 90 double unders, then muscle ups), but muscle-ups were optional…

But… the Open is becoming more competitive. It was much harder to get to Regionals last year than in 2012 without muscle-ups (i.e., 39 athletes in 2012 versus 5 in 2013 in the sub-set I’m working with).

So Castro might be right this year: Perhaps no one will qualify for Regionals this year that doesn’t compete a muscle-up in 14.4. We can only, anxiously wait. But the way I see it: CrossFit is more than a muscle-up, and the Open generally does a good job of demonstrating it.

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