Muscle Ups Blew Up the Internet

Last night the Crossfit Open workout 15.3 was announced, and if you do Crossfit you probably already know, the world exploded.

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The workout is a 14 minute AMRAP beginning with 7 muscle ups and then moving to 50 wall balls and 100 double unders.  While traditionally the Open workouts have included this complex gymnastic movement, it has usually followed an easier, more accessible movement allowing the wide range of participants who sign up for the Open to at least receive some sort of score for the week.

Obviously, for 15.3 this isn’t the case, and people are seriously pissed.

Part of me understands, and even sympathizes with those who are saying that signing up for the Open is BS and a waste of money.  Heck, I don’t have muscle ups in my repertoire either.

But let’s be honest kids, they have shown up as a moment every single year since the inception of the Crossfit Open.  It’s not like we didn’t expect to see them.

And with the new scaled Open option available to participants this year, it’s not really any surprise that the Rx version of the workouts are more challenging than what we’ve seen in previous years, is it?

All of that said, I think there’s one very simple thing Crossfit could have done leading up to the Open to avoid all of controversy floating around on the interwebz right now.

Release workout standards prior to the Open while folks are registering.

If you look at other Crossfit competitions around the country, it’s a common practice to release workout standards leading up to the event for the Rx and Scaled divisions.  Not the workouts themselves mind you, but just a list of movements that participants should be both able and comfortable doing with weights they should easily be able to move in each category.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll even see the movements in a workout, but it gives participants an idea of what they should be able to do for each category.  Don’t have muscle ups, chest to bar pull ups, or heavy snatches or deadlifts?  Then sign up for the scaled category and you’ll be sure to be able to complete the movements as prescribed.

In the case of the Open, is this overkill?  Yeah, maybe.  Sure, the open is a worldwide competition that’s purpose is to whittle down tens of thousands of competitors into just the best of the best for the new regional competitions, so it’s a given that the workout are going to be designed to eliminate everyone but the best from getting high scores.

But to keep the raging masses happy, this is my advice to Crossfit.

So readers, how do you feel about 15.3?  Are you doing the Open this year?  Do you think having standards would have helped you know which category to sign up for?

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11 thoughts on “Muscle Ups Blew Up the Internet

  1. If they are looking for the fittest man/woman on Earth, surely the MOUNT for the gymnastic moves that follow shouldn’t be out of the question. I have no illusions about being the fittest person in the room, even when I’m alone, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to have difficult moves included. I can’t do muscle ups. Hell, I can’t even string together double unders. But I’m just trying to be fitter than I was yesterday – and I am.

    1. And that attitude is why I love your blog and your comments. I’m not in the top 1% who are truly competing for the Games either. I’m competing against myself, and there’s no doubt that I’m fitter than last year.

  2. The Open is more accessible than ever this year in my opinion. The scaled division reins in the most challenging movements, while the Rx division gives the elite an opportunity to perform. I agree that nothing should be unexpected when it comes to a worldwide crossfit competition. Muscle ups ARE a very challenging movement! But “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!” and as Matt Fraser said prior to 15.1 “I train my weaknesses until I’m excited to see them show up in a workout!” Can’t argue with that! Hard work beats talent…
    **disclaimer… NO, I can not do muscle ups 😉 But the scaled option was no less of a workout. It still may be a few days before I can walk normally again.

    1. I totally agree! By adding a scaled option they really did give options to those of us who, back in 2013 for example, got through 150 wall balls, some dubs, and then the workout was just over because we didn’t have MU’s.

  3. I’m with you on that one. They have introduced a scaled category (just for me, or so I’d like to believe) and I was expecting the RX category to be harder just for that simple reason. Crossfitters, stop whining and get to work! How else will they separate the top from the rest of us?!?

    1. Preach! 🙂 But in all seriousness, I feel like it’s kind of an ego thing. To me, it feels like those complaining the most are folks who typically go Rx for a workout, but aren’t able to for this one and it upsets them.

  4. Not going to lie. Felt very deflated after watching the 15.3 announcement. Doing the open was always a bit exciting because it was neat knowing you were doing the same workout as those elite athletes, even though I would never get anywhere near as many reps or to the harder movements that were left towards the end. And it was presented like it was for everyone. Even this year, even with the addition of the scaled, they said on the website they didn’t want to take away the magic that is people getting the “first of”.. (i.e. I got my first C2B…. I wouldn’t have even tried before…. ) That’s the reason I was continuing to do Rx….. Now I have to do scaled (which is fine and it will be hard because it will be a huge volume) But if I had of known that DC just wanted to split the leaderboard into those who can and cannot muscle ups (as he stated in the cool down show) I probably would’t have signed up or maybe would have chosen scaled from the beginning. Also the scaling is a bit wonky… the scale for C2B is pull-ups (just about the same level of difficulty) but the scale for muscle ups in this “triplet wod” is just..breathing… I guess? Well this comment got long fast!! Just my 2 cents 🙂

    1. I totally understand where you’re coming from, and appreciate your comment! I think that’s why I am making the argument for standards on the front end when people are signing up for the Open. Had everyone known that muscle ups were a standard (i.e., you need to be able to do them if you’re signing up for Rx), then it’s no surprise when they come out first in the workout.

      I also agree that the scaling this year is a bit wonky. As it’s the first year they’re offing a scaled option, I think it will only get better in years to come.

  5. Every year when muscle ups show up in the Open and people get upset, there is also a flood of people posting with pride because they got their first muscle up in The Open. I honestly don’t think that would happen if it were muscle ups in just another workout. And isn’t that the point of the Open for those who aren’t in the elite group? To surpass our own expectations?

    As for the scaling, it is a bit wonky but it’s the first year. And my high school crossfitters, who desperately want to participate and feel competitive, are having a blast this year. In the past I have had to scale them myself and keep results “in-house”. They finally feel legit and included in the larger community I am always talking about.

    1. I really believe that the scaling is only going to get better in years to come. And I’m right there with you on the inspiration with all the muscle ups! I have several friends who posted their first ones to Facebook, and honestly, the Kevin Ogar video about made me cry. I love seeing what we can accomplish when we just believe in ourselves.

      And HIIII!!!! I’ve missed you! I need to get over to your blog and get caught up!

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