Get rid of HSPU in the Open

I’m terrible at handstand push ups. Terrible. I think I had about 90 seconds to two minutes to get as many HSPU as I could get during 17.4 and I could only muster 12 of them. This post has nothing to do with that. I am much worse at muscle ups and I don’t think CrossFit should do away with those in the Open. HSPU are judged way too differently to really use them.

I wrote about this two years ago. How athletes are able to get their heels above the line when they are several inches (feet?) from the wall or super wide hands just doesn’t make mathematical sense. As I note in my original blog post if you place a ruler flat against a wall with the end of the ruler placed where the floor meets the wall…and then move that end away from the wall the ruler will obviously not be as high. Does this seem to make sense for HSPU? Even with the three inch drop from where your wrists are measured?

Let me start at the beginning. Here is how the standard is written on the Games website:


I’ll call out the wording “hands over their head with elbows locked out“. LOCKED OUT.

Brooke Wells being measured:


Patrick Vellner being measured:


Tennil Reed being measured:


Do any of those athletes look like they have their elbows locked? Nope. Not one of them. I would be willing to bet they aren’t the only ones. I’m not just talking “profressional” exercisers either. I am sure this sort of “lock out” is seen at gyms all over the world. Almost makes me wish I held my athletes to this same poor standard. If top Games competitors can get away without locking out their elbows then why can’t my athletes?

I know that for myself those few inches would make a big difference in the ease of reps for my HSPU.

I’m fairly certain I won’t be promoting the Open in my gym in 2018. I enjoy competing enough that I will probably sign up myself in 2018, but it is becoming a joke for the average Joe to do the Open. First of all, what’s the point anymore? Not like you can even compare yourself to other athletes around the world with the poor standards being upheld in other gyms. And now it is getting hard to compare yourself to the pro’s since they don’t hold up to standards either.

I honestly believe that for each of the athletes pictured above their scores should be marked as invalid as not one of their HSPU met standards.


No fear, Sam Briggs won 17.4 and her measurement was on point. So good to see her extend her arms and lock out her elbows for her HSPU measurement. I hope she doesn’t go Masters this year and competes with the younger ladies.


2017 CrossFit California Region – women get a shake up

I think that traditionally the Central East Region has been the viewed as consistently the most difficult Region to qualify out of as a male – especially when Rich Froning was still competing as an individual. (And if you haven’t heard Dan Bailey is back in the Central East.)

I think the same can be said for the female side in California. Sure there are some really tough regions out there, but year in and year out the California region for the ladies is top notch.

It will get more difficult as Sara Sigmundsdottir is going to be competing out of California this year. I just saw this for the first time on a newly released video from CrossFit.

Last year the top five finishers were Lauren Fisher, Rebecca Voigt, Alessandra Pichelli, Chyna Cho and Jamie Hagiya. This left athletes like Brooke Ence, Colleen Fotsch and Chelsey Grigsby on the outside looking in.

Let’s mix it up by putting Sigmundsdottir into this Region and Fisher coming off of surgery on her ankle AND the possibility of Voigt competing in the newly formed 35-39 age division (which I don’t think she will do) and we could have a whole new crop of qualifiers out of this tough Region.

Between news like this and all the “super teams” forming I am getting really excited for the 2017 Games Season! (And a bit nervous for the Open workouts.)

2017 CrossFit Games “super teams”

Going to start to compile a list of teams as they are announced for the 2017 CrossFit Games season.

Mayhem Freedom – Another year another member change for Mayhem Freedom. While Rich Froning, Matt Hewett, Kristin Reffett and Elly Kabboord have not changed in each of the 3 iterations of this team they did make a change last year in adding Lindy Barber and this year James Hobart is back in the northeast and Darren Hunsucker is the 3rd male athlete.

Team Reebok CrossFit One – I thought Hobart was going to be part of this team as it became obvious that he was not back in Cookeville to begin 2017. To compete on a team you need to train at that gym like 75 or 80 percent of the time. Hobart was clearly not in Tennessee based on his Instagram posts. But he isn’t on Team RCO and I haven’t seen anything indicating what his plans are for 2017. As for this team it is comprised of a few CrossFit Games individual competitors from years past with Spencer Hendel and Austin Malleolo. They are joined by Conor Murphy, Kate Brierley, Rachel Simone and Allyson Leard. I think all of those 4 have competed at the Regionals level as individuals and/or the Games as part of a team.

(updated 2/9/17) Team NorCal – I’ll call this a super team just because they have to train at least some of the time with Jason Khalipa (who, on a side note, I believe plans on competing in 2017 and I thought he was going team, but if he is it isn’t on this team…is he competing as an individual again? PLEASE SAY “YES”!!) and they are coached by Chris Spealler. Team NorCal was the team a few years ago that made the team competition super interesting because of the great personalities on the team. They talked trash with Mayhem and made it so much fun. Molly Volmer, Jen Cadmus and Alex Rollin are returning to NorCal who were on the team in 2015 with Khalipa. Pat Barber, Miranda Chivers (formerly Oldroyd) and Khalipa are replaced by Britt Blanco, Ryon O’Neill and Raphael Durand.

Those are the 2 teams I am aware of at this point. I know Jason Khalipa has stated he is competing this year, but I haven’t seen whether or not he is going individual or team. I would venture that he is going team with some other NC Fit athletes. Maybe Team NorCal from two years ago will reunite (partially at best since Miranda Oldroyd – or has she officially changed her name yet? – is pregnant).

Any other super teams that you have heard of? I would assume Invictus puts together a great team, but will it consist of past individual Games athletes? I assume Garrett Fisher and Rasmus Anderson are going individual. Is Lauren Fisher competing this year? From the look of her Instagram I can’t tell. She just started running on her fixed ankle recently. Will it be ready in time? I think she has time, but enough time to make a run individually? Maddy Myers individual or team?

What will happen with the Brute crew? Adrian Conway, Brennan Fjord and Tiffany Hendrickson and those folks who trained and competed with Ute CrossFit for so many years – will they put together a team?

If you know any other teams please leave a comment below. I think this is a fun and exciting time of year as we get to see these teams form and take on Mayhem Freedom.

2017 WZA Teams and Team Members

For those of you out there who are looking at the team standings at the 2017 Wodapalooza and wondering who is on which team, I’m going to try to help.

Elite Men

  1. Misfit nLnM (No Lube No Mercy): Travis Williams (@travisfwilliams), Chandler Smith (@blacksmifff), Jordan Cook (@jcrossfitcook)
  2. Smith Bro’s: Ben Smith (@bsmith13), Alex Smith (@alecsmith8) and Dane Smith (@danedoes)
  3. Team Panchik: Scott Panchi (@scottpanchik), Saxon Panchik (@saxon_panchik), Spencer Panchik (@spencer_panchik)
  4. Team TEN Red: Daniel Tyminski (@boomsauce39), Gerald Sasser (@gerald_sasser), Cam Pernich (@cpernich)
  5. CrossFit Shrewsbury: Anthony Vazquez (@avazquez03), Corey Lunney (@clunney), Trevor James (@trev_james92)
  6. Team Zevia: Nick Block (@nbloch37), Brent Fikowski (@fikowski), Irving Hernandez (@theirvingh)
  7. BearKomplexL Joe Scali (@scalifit), Elijah “EZ” Muhammad (@elijahezmuhammad), Nick Urankar (@nickurankar)
  8. Ten Performance: Daniel Petro (@danielquadzillapetro), Nathan Bramblett (@nathan_bramblett), Aaron Hanna (@aaron_hanna)
  9. Team Gorilla Fitness: Alex Vigneault (@vigneaultalex), Alexandre Caron (@alex.caron), Jason Houde (@jayhoude67)
  10. Team Jakt: Paul Tremblay (@hosstremblay), Charles Felx-leduc (@iamcharlo87), Albert-Dominique Larouche (@larouchadm)
  11. Midwest monSTARs 2.0: Jack Long (@jlonghair6), Duke Burk (@dukeburk), Shane McBridge (@spmcbride1)
  12. Team NorCal: You might think this would be an easy one, but I have no idea who was on this team. I *think* Khalipa was, but not even positive about that.
  13. Reebok CrossFit ONE: Spencer Hendel (@spencer_hendel), Austin Malleolo (@amalleolo), Conor Murphy (@conortmurphy)
  14. The Boys: No idea
  15. Brute Squad: Mitch Spjut (@spjut2), Adrian Conway (@adrianconway_), Brennan Fjord (@builtfjordtough)

And in 30th place we have Jared Stevens (@jaredwaynestevens), Justin Allen (@justin.allen) and Sam Dancer (@samdancing). I am including them because they are Instagram all stars who finished in 30th place – far behind some local gyms.

Elite Women

  1. Team Progenex: Stacie Tovar (@stacietovar), Chyna Cho )@chynacho), Emily Bridgers (@emilybridgers)
  2. Probably FitAid: Alexis Johnson (@mf_mathlete), Cassidy Lance (@cassidylance), Kaleena Ladeairous (@justkaleena)
  3. Team Soul: Jime Becerra (@jimebecerrab), Negra Crv (@negracrv), Laura Carolina Gonzalez Marin (@lauragonzyyy)
  4. PRGNX/RPM Fitness: Molly Vollmer (@mollyvollmer), Nicole Holcomb (@crossfitnicole), Jen Cadmus (@jencadmus)
  5. Invictus: Regan Huckaby (@reganhuckaby), Maddy Myers (@maddy.myers1), Jamie Hagiya (@jamiejoyce2)
  6. Mid Atlantic Mavens: Gretchen Kittelberger (@glkitt), Christy Adkins (@christycrossfit), Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias (@atunnicliffe)
  7. CrossFit Parallax: unsure
  8. Brute, Mandi and her MILFs: Mandi Janowitz (@mandi_janowitz), Tiffany Hendrickson (@tuesdaysmom) and I don’t know the third
  9. Savage Barbell – Hustle Hard
  10. 12 Labours Ladies Region
  11. Exo Sleeve: Kristi Eramo (@kristi_eramo29),
  12. FitAid ABBs: Alye DeRoma (@alyederoma), Breona Evans (@breonanicole7), Brista Mayfield (@bristamayfield)
  13. CrossFit Fort Vancouver
  14. Team XPN – RX Labs: Mirakim (@mklil1),
  15. Midwestern Built: Megan Jane Scales (@meganjanescales), Taylor Streid (@hollitay7), Chelsey Cross (@momma_chels)
  16. Westside Conjugate
  17. Jenny and the Block 2.0: Nicolle Capurso (@ncapurso22), Jenny Borda (@gymjen99), Brooke Haas (@brookedahook)

I think it is interesting some of the teams with multiple Games athletes that lost to teams without any real recognizable names.

I wish you could watch these off season events for free. I just can’t bring myself to paying for Floelite.

Dubai Fitness Championship winnings

Last week the Dubai Fitness Championship took place. It was quite the event. From the video and pictures online the facilities looked amazing. Not a shock as Dubai itself looks amazing. The final event(s) in the mall looked really cool.

It attracted some of the biggest names in CrossFit – Mat Fraser, Sam Briggs, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Ben Smith and Annie Thorisdottir just to name a few. I wonder how much each of the really big name athletes were paid to show up – or was their travel at least covered by the owners of the event? From what I can tell it is put on by Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (I think that is his full name?!). He is obviously loaded and my guess if he paid for each athletes, or at least the biggest names, trip and hotel it would be a drop in his ocean of money.

Not shocked that Fraser and Sigmundsdottir won. I would pick them to win the 2017 CrossFit Games if asked. I was pleasantly surprised to see Briggs competing. I thought I saw an Instagram post from her after the 2016 Games that she was done competing. Maybe just done competing at the Games? She made a nice bit of money last week competing in Dubai. I would think it would be hard to turn away those sorts of paychecks if you can still earn them.

The male podium was Fraser, Ben Smith and Alex Anderson. On the female side Sigmundsdottir, Briggs and Thorisdottir took 1st, 2nd and 3rd. There was decent money on the line for each event and a really good chunk for placing high on the podium.

The top five men in terms of money won was

  1. Fraser: $57,000
  2. B. Smith: $38,000
  3. A. Anderson: $28,000
  4. Jonne Koski: $20,000
  5. Ricky Garard: $19,000

On the ladies side

  1. Sigmundsdottir: $69,000
  2. Briggs: $49,000
  3. Thorisdottir: $30,000
  4. Julie Abildgaard: $23,000
  5. Kari Pearce: $20,000

Even “specialists” like Jess Towl (did really well in the long endurance events) won over $10,000 and Jordan Troyan (known for his swimming) won over $10,000 himself.

We are heating up the “off season” competition part of the year leading into the CrossFit Open. Next month WZA takes place and that is typically very well attended by the biggest names in CrossFit. Just gets the CrossFit geek in me excited for the 2017 CrossFit Games season!