Start Here: An Introduction to the CrossFit Games

What are the CrossFit Games?

The CrossFit Games are the ultimate test of fitness. It's a grueling two-day competition in which the world's fittest athletes compete in a variety of workouts. What are the workouts? Each year they change, and the details of them are not announced until a couple days before the event. This means that all year long, the athletes are training for a competition whose format is almost completely a mystery.

The 2009 Games took place July 10-12th, with eight events:

Event 1: 7km Hill Run
Event 2: Deadlift one rep every 30 sec moving from 315lbs to 505lbs in 10lb increments (women went from 185lbs to 375lbs)
Event 3: 170m Hill Sprint with two 35lb sandbags (women used a single sandbag)
Event 4: Row 500m, pound a 4' stake into the ground, Row 500m (women used a 3' stake)
Event 5: Couplet, which was 3 Rounds for time of 30 Wallball / 30 75lb Squat Snatch (women used 14lb medicine ball and a 45lb barbell)

Event 6: Max load Barbell Snatch
Event 7: Triplet, which was max rounds in 8min of 4 Handstand Pushups / 8 32kg KB Swings / 12 GHD Situps (women used a 24kg KB)
Event 8: Chipper, which was 15 barbells cleans (155/100lbs), 30 toes to bar, 30 box jumps (24/20"), 15/10 muscle-ups, 30 push presses (40/25lbs), 30 double-unders, 15 thrusters (135/95lbs), 30 pull-ups, 30 burpees, 300' overhead walking lunges (45/25lb plate)

Approximately 74 men and 72 women began the first event. All had qualified to enter by one of several means: winning any prior year's Games, being one of the top five finishers from 2008, or by placing high enough in one of the 19 qualifying events in the spring of 2009. Scoring was based on relative finish, so the fewer points the better. The bottom ten athletes (those with the most points) were eliminated from the competition after both the second and fourth events. Only the top 16 men and women (each) continued on to Sunday's events.

The team Affiliate Cup was held on Friday, July 10th and Sunday July 12th. It was exclusively team workouts, and open to all teams who registered in time (no qualifying required). In the end, 96 teams competed. Each event required two men and two women to compete, but they could select those four from up to six athletes on the team.

Mikko Salo from Finland won the men's competition, while Tanya Wagner from CrossFit Apex in Souderton, Pennsylvania took the women's crown. Northwest CrossFit won the Affiliate Cup.

The 2008 Games took place on July 5-6th, with four workouts:

Saturday: (workouts performed in any order throughout the day)
5 Deadlift (275lbs men, 185lbs women) / 10 Burpees - 5 Rounds for time
Thrusters (95lbs men, 65lbs women) / Pull-ups - 21, 15, 9 reps for time
750m off trail steep hill run

30 Squat Clean and Jerks (155lbs men, 100lbs women) for time

Every second counted. Overall winner was the athlete with the lowest combined time for all four workouts. Jason Khalipa won the men's competition and Caity Matter won the women's. CrossFit Oakland won the Affiliate Cup. To see the final results for 2008, click here. For the 2008 CrossFit Games website, which documented the event thoroughly, click here.

The 2007 (inaugural) Games took place on June 30 - July 1st, with three workouts:

Saturday morning: A hopper workout that was literally determined at random (it ended up being row, push jerks and pullups)

Saturday afternoon: A 3K off trail hill run

Sunday: The CrossFit Total

The scoring was based on points per finishing order and the winner had the highest total points. James Fitzgerald won the men's competition and Jolie Gentry won the women's. CrossFit Santa Cruz won the Affiliate Cup. For a review of the 2007 Games, read Dave Castro's CrossFit Journal article Reading Between the Lines.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.

We define this fitness as increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. What this means is that you have functional capacity in all different types of movements at a variety of durations of effort. If you are increasing this broad work capacity, you will be competent at both short bursts of activity and extended, longer workouts. No single test can adequately assess these broad capacities. Even our rigorous two-day CrossFit Games can assess but a small portion of anyone's true capacity.

But, it is our considered opinion that the CrossFit Games are the best test on the planet for true, elite fitness, and that the winners of the CrossFit Games are the World's Fittest humans.