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.

Josh Bridges and 16.4


Bridges has been penalized for the video.

First – how is it fair to penalize him now? Same as the issue with OPEX. If HQ approved the video submission on Friday, then how can they go back on their word? Just like they did with OPEX. I am sure if HQ told Bridges on Friday that his video was not acceptable he would have redid the workout. But they waited until after the internet cried and then they penalized. Another hit to the legitimacy of CrossFit as a sport.

Second – Again, nothing said about the HSPU. Nothing in the video showing the standard was set correctly and nothing showing that his heels were clearing the line. All the talk is about the deadlifts, but the HSPU as much more questionable.

The good news is that this terrible decision and really poor handling of this by CrossFit will not effect whether or not Bridges makes it to Regionals. Even with the penalty he still finishes inside the top 10 in his region and will still easily make Regionals. Would love to see Bridges at the Games in 2016.


How is this acceptable?

Let’s just move past the deadlifts and if Josh Bridges (blue shirt) was fully extending at the top of every rep. I am more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here due to lens angle. I mean, if the guy on the far right is standing up all the way, then Josh definitely is.

What happened to showing standards before the video starts? Where is the part of the video showing that Bridges had his toes against the wall, arms fully extended with thumbs touching? Why isn’t that shown? Why isn’t the initial measurement for the handstand pushups shown? Last year that was a requirement, right?

Even if the measurement is accurate how you can possibly tell if his heels are getting above the line at the top of his HSPU? Can you even SEE the line? I can’t. If you can’t see the line how could you possibly tell if he was meeting standards at the top of his HSPU? That camera angle sucks for seeing that standard anyway.

And what about the rower? Did he row 55 calories? Who knows?!

I love Bridges and doubt he did anything wrong, but there are standards for a reason. Maybe there was video evidence submitted to CrossFit showing the measurement, the display of the rower and a camera angle showing his heels clearing the line? Maybe. But if this was the only video submitted then I don’t see how the score should be allowed.

Same goes for Kara Webb and her video. I swear there are several (half?) of her HSPU where her heels do not get over the top of the tape.

The HSPU standards make it difficult to do HSPU, which is fine, but they are sooo subjective from affiliate to affiliate. They can’t have them in the Open anymore.

15.4 puts judging to the test

First, where is Val Voboril’s 15.4 score?! As I am writing this sentence it shows her with a no entry for 15.4.

voborilI hope there is a technicality of some sort because I love to root for her at the Games. I think she was second in the SoCal Region prior to this event trailing only Lauren Fisher.

OK, now that that is out of the way, on to the judging of 15.4. We all know that the quality of judging differs from one box to the next. From one judge to the next. From one coach to the next. Whether we are judging depth on overhead squats or whether or not the t-shirt touched the bar in a chest-to-bar pullup or if the chest itself actually touched, judging varies. With that being said, I think 15.4 put those varying standards to a real test.

I myself, even at my own box, felt I may have been judged a bit harder than others. First, I will say that I have a bum left shoulder. When I performed 15.4 on Friday I tried to shoulder press a 50 pound dumbbell with my right arm – no problem – light weight, but then I tried with my left and it was a real struggle. I did mobility, took my time and it sort of loosened up. I was able to do a handstand against the wall and was able to do a kipping pushup. I couldn’t do a strict handstand pushup, but I could kip. Shoulder wasn’t right, that’s for sure. I went on anyway.

My initial measurement for the line in which my heels needed to cross for the HSPU to count was deemed too low and I was re-measured. Even after the new measurement when I was testing my shoulder I was told my heels were well over the line. I didn’t get a picture or verify myself, took the word of the guys looking. Then, during the workout there were times in which I got into a full handstand, with my hands closer together than my usual HSPU and even my UPPER back touching the wall – no rep. I would get fully extended and then extend my scapula even more, hold it for a few seconds, push….PUSH even more and then come off the wall only to find it was a no-rep. I seriously wondered how getting over the line was even possible. Continue reading

WOD – 01.28.2013

Nice and long

Nice and long

Nice welt

Nice welt

What is more CrossFit: ripped blisters from pullups or shin scrapes from box jumps? I don’t know. I hate both. I think I hate torn hands more because of the shower factor. Sure, scraped shins hurt in the shower but NOTHING like a good hand tear. Those hurt.

Today I got my shin pretty darn good. We were doing 30 inch box jumps as part of the WOD and I got too quick with my rebounds and nailed myself. But you should see that box! I think I won…

I even had high socks on and they didn’t help at all, except they caught the skin so it didn’t end up on the floor…I included a few pictures and made them thumbnails so I don’t totally gross out anyone. Click of you want a larger view. And this is after ice, peroxide, a shower and about 2 hours after it happened. The good thing about shin scrapes is that they don’t impact the rest of the day. Blisters can bother you throughout the day but shin scrapes are OK after that first shower.

If this hasn’t happened to you either, 1. you haven’t been CrossFitting long enough, 2. you aren’t challenging yourself with a high enough box, or 3. you aren’t moving fast enough. If you are working your ass off and challenging yourself this is bound to happen. It is a right of passage. It is failure and it is weakness leaving the body. Embrace it when it happens. Ladies, if you really love CrossFit, say goodbye to those smooth perfect legs. You will be more proud of these anyway.

Today’s WOD was

Samson stretch, OHS w PVC, pushups, pullups and good mornings x2

Handstands and handstand walks. I took two “steps” today handstand walking. That’s right, new PR!

10-1 of:
Box jump

5×5 push jerk
6 EMOTM of 1 clean and 5 push jerk

Results Continue reading