In 2007, a small group of about 70 people gathered at a Northern California ranch for the first-ever CrossFit games. The first event was chosen by taking colored balls labeled with CrossFit moves from an old, rusty funnel and turning them into a workout. Athletes were tested with a 1,000-meter row followed by 5 rounds of 25 pull-ups and 7 push-jerks at 135 lb for the men and 85 lb for the women.

Sixteen years later, athletes are still competing in the sport of fitness, but the evolution of the games and the evolution of fitness have gone hand-in-hand. Every year athletes lift heavier, run faster and master new movements. So the programming needs to be adjusted to continue testing a pool of athletes who are getting fitter.

Consistent with CrossFit’s definition of fitness, athletes have increased their “work capacity over broad time and modal ranges” over the years. So the test has evolved to ensure it can continue to successfully score and accurately crown the world’s fittest.

That means the CrossFit methodology is working.

Julia Kato at the 2022 games

Julia Kato at the NOBULL CrossFit Games 2022 | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler

Programming the CrossFit methodology

CrossFit trains “constantly varying functional movements performed at high intensity,” and these are the movements that will be seen in tests at every stage of the CrossFit Games season, just as you will see in your daily WOD.

At the CrossFit affiliate, you’re exposed to rings, kettlebells, barbells and more to mimic movements that can be seen and used outside of the gym. For example, getting up from a chair requires an air squat; picking food off the floor, deadlift; putting a five-gallon pitcher of water on a table, a clean affair.

At the CrossFit Games, athletes are exposed to the same higher-intensity movements, such as B. moving strange objects (e.g. the yoke or the pig), walking over parallel bars on their hands and even climbing a board.

When CrossFit Competition Director Adrian Bozman programs the tests seen throughout the CrossFit Games season, he focuses on three main movement categories: monostructural movements (cardio), gymnastic movements (moving your body weight), and weightlifting (moving an external object). These are the same three movement categories used in programming WODs at every CrossFit affiliate around the world.

Whether a CrossFit workout is done at a partner’s or on the court, the basic elements are the same. The Games are used to test how fit athletes are and award the Fittest on Earth title to the athletes who statistically perform best in all tests submitted to them.

Back Nine - Men's Field

Men’s Division in IE12 Back Nine at Games 2022 | Photo by Ginnie Coleman

“Varies by grade, not by type” programming

The purpose of programming for the everyday athlete is health and functionality. The purpose of programming for the CrossFit games is to test the limits of human capability.

But the methodology informing the programming for both groups is the same.

Let’s take a look at the CrossFit Open. The tests of the first stage of the season are designed for both everyday and competitive athletes. While handstand walking can be programmed for Rx athletes, a movement with a similar stimulus, such as B. bear claws, can be programmed for the scaled division.

As the pool of competitive athletes shrinks through the Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and finally the CrossFit Games, the difficulty increases. The movements are getting harder and the intensity that the athletes have to bring to each test is increasing. Outdoor wall walks can become a handstand walking agility course at the games. Double-unders can become double-unders.

The Sport of Fitness may seem like just a spectacle featuring the world’s fittest athletes, but the tests aren’t just for show. They were created to determine the strongest in the world.

“The challenge of the test at first glance isn’t what makes it interesting,” Bozman said. “It’s the intensity and effort and commitment that the athletes bring that makes it compelling.”

Linda Elstun

Linda Elstun (Women 55-59) during Event 5 | Photo by Johanny Jutras

Back to basics at the 2022 games

The 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games took athletes back to the core of CrossFit as Bozman reinterpreted the tests designed to determine the fittest man, woman and team on the planet after four stages of competition.

Let’s dive into some of the tests:

Shuttle to overhead

From 0:00-2:00 (2 minutes)

walk 400 m

Max jerks off

Rest 1 minute

From 3:00-6:00 (3 minutes)

walk 600 m

Max jerks off

Rest 2 minutes

From 8:00-12:00 (4 minutes)

walk 800 m

Max jerks off

Women: 200 pounds

Men: 300 pounds

“Who is fitter? The athlete who is faster or the athlete who is stronger?” said Bozmann. “The answer is, well, neither. The fit athlete has to be both.”

That’s what Bozman wanted from the Shuttle to Overhead solo event. This was a test to determine what athlete training would allow him to balance speed and power requirements.

Shuttle to overhead

Tia-Clair Toomey on the overhead shuttle | Photo by Johanny Jutras

Skill Speed ​​Medley

3 rounds of racing through pegboards, jump ropes, pistols and handstand walks.


3/2 pegboard climbs

75 unbroken single unders

10 continuous single-leg squats, left

10 continuous single leg squats, right

Handstand Walk Course


2/1 rigorous pegboard climbs

50 consecutive double-unders

10 continuous single-leg squats, left

10 continuous single leg squats, right

Handstand walking course, pirouette start

Last round:

1 rigorous pegboard climb

25 double-under crossovers

10 continuous single-leg squats, left

10 continuous single leg squats, right

Handstand walk course, low start

This event emphasized the power of progress. Skill Speed ​​Medley brought athletes back to basics and proved the value of continuing to make progress even at the highest level of CrossFit competition.

Beginning with single-unders and double-unders, athletes had to perform uninterrupted sets — and that was the catch. Even some of the best athletes have been caught up in the simplest form of jump rope movement before they could advance to the new double-under crossover.

From across the field of games, not a single woman and only three men – Nick Mathew, Gui Malheiros and Justin Medeiros – could complete the challenge.

This brought the athletes back to the drawing board for the next season.


For the time:

30/25 Echo Bike calories

10 block HSPU

20/15 Echo Bike calories

10 block HSPU

20/15 Echo Bike calories

10 block HSPU

30/25 Echo Bike calories

Women: 2-in deficit

Men: 3.5 inch deficit

A new handstand push-up standard was introduced at the NOBULL CrossFit Games 2022, which required athletes to delve into CrossFit’s methodology to understand the purpose of the movement.

“It’s going to make everyone feel like they’re a rookie in this movement again,” Bozman said.

Athletes were required to complete rigorous chest-to-wall deficit handstand push-ups in Echo Press. This standard – which is much more difficult than what we’ve seen in previous years of competition – was added to train athletes to get better at the skill and to avoid athletes finding loopholes to control the movement during competition to facilitate.

Although many of the CrossFit Games events test intensity, some become Athlete vs. Skill. Can the athletes successfully adapt and execute the programmed movements?

“(Handstand push-ups) provide a great study of the nature of skill development. While there are training adaptations that come with practicing the handstand, such as: B. increased strength and flexibility, the greater demand relates to neuromuscular patterns; i.e., coordination and balance,” CrossFit explained in a 2019 article “Skill Development Forever.”

Developing these skills must be practiced through training so athletes can be the best on the field.

Exalted Elizabeth

21-15-9-9-9 reps for the time of:

Squat cleans

Dips with parallel bar traverses

Women: 95 lb cleanse

Men: 135 pounds clean

Based on the classic Elizabeth benchmark workout, Elevated Elizabeth replaced ring dips with dips and traverses on parallel bars.

“Benchmarks are important at the game level – because they give the average person a sense of belonging,” Bozman said. “What makes the sport of CrossFit really unique is that most people watch it do it in some form.”

The exciting addition was the parallel bars.

The parallel bars, which featured in CrossFit founder Greg Glassman’s original gym, have been around since the early days of CrossFit. But we haven’t seen them in this kind of competitive environment ahead of the 2022 games.

The dips and traverses over the bars tested the athlete’s coordination, agility and balance.

Pat Velner

Pat Vellner during Elevated Elizabeth | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler

Unparalleled effectiveness

As Nicole Carroll, GM of CrossFit Education, said, “CrossFit methodology is the engine of our unparalleled effectiveness.”

Crowning the World’s Strongest is an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of CrossFit methodology at the highest elite level. With each test across the four legs of the CrossFit Games season, we illustrate just how powerful the human body is and what happens when we live up to its potential. At this level, the feats of skill, strength, and power you witness may seem unattainable to many, but rest assured that all CrossFit athletes – even those who have proven to be the fittest on earth – are familiar with the fundamentals of methodology and your continued improvement is proof that when you put in the work, results follow.


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