Thursday 160303


3 Rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
21 KB swings, 24kg(16kg)
12 pull-ups

Post times to comments and BTWB

Old Verve's final photo shoot.

Old Verve’s final photo shoot.


Do not feareth the “no rep”, but do not giveth of the “bro rep”, Games Open commentary brought to you by Courtney Shepherd

Well folks, we are 1 week down and approximately 24 hours from the start of week 2. And just like in years past, the first week has already brought us drama, debates, and scandals. Some of you may instantly know what I’m referring to and some of you may not. . . either way I’m bringing it up. In the first week of the Open a team of athletes was penalized for “cheating” during 16.1. Why do I bunny ear the word cheating? Because I think it’s a harsh term, so let us instead refer to their actions as taking the short cut. What was the short cut? This team of athletes used small change plates that added up to 45#, thus making the bar sit lower to the ground, and thus giving them a shorter distance to jump over during their bar facing burpees. I’m not bringing this up to debate whether or not is was malicious, or the fault of the team versus the fault of Crossfit, I’m bringing it up for the sole purpose of discussing integrity. 

In the middle of this debacle a comment was posted on social media that said “. . . . I don’t get it. I did the workout RX and got a score of 18. I worked so hard for a chest to bar pull-up. I would rather have fewer honest reps than more shameful ones.” Again, please no one comment that I am making you feel shameful, that is not my intent. I just thought that this was a powerful comment that internally is shared by many. Over 300,000 scores were submitted for 16.1, and I guarantee there are more than we would care to admit that have a “shameful” rep count to them. It is unfortunate but it is true. The Games is a big deal and this level of competition can lead some folks to seek out the short cut and partake in the bro rep. 

There are several types of athletes in this world. There’s the type that sees work and does work, and there’s the type that continually asks “does that make it easier?”. The type that sees work and does work is the type that is perfecting their craft. What makes it easier for them? Their improved technique that came from hours of practice. These are the work horses, ready to accept any challenge because they have trained for it. The athlete that sees work and begins to ask about all the things that might make it easier is not preparing for the challenge, they are preparing for the easiest way to get out of facing the challenge. This is the athlete that wants the short cut. I am a firm believer of the phrase “work smarter, not harder”, however if we only spend our time training to get through the work “as easily as possibly”, what happens when there is no easy way? What are we prepared for then?

There was another social media comment about the cheating scandal, someone said “. . . if Rich Froning had gotten caught doing this, people would praise it as a great workout strategy.” Ah, the old Rich Froning is god argument. I don’t know Rich, we’ve never chatted, but I have seen the man workout a few times and let me assure you, he is not seeking short cuts. Rich Froning is not looking to find a way to take a few inches off his bar facing burpee jump in order to crush the competition. Rich just simply trains his butt off to move through the entire workout faster and better. He doesn’t want to win because he is the only one that figured out how to short the work, he will win because he works hard and knows he can. 

My point is this, you don’t need to seek the short cut. You need to put in the work. The team that got penalized would of had an amazing score following the 16.1 guidelines. They are a group of amazing athletes and their team would have been in the top 5 in the region, without a short cut. But now they sit in 18th place. Now they sit in a hole they will spend the next 4 weeks trying to dig themselves out of because they feared putting in the work. They didn’t want to meet the challenge. 

We can short the work too by giving bro reps rather than no reps. What’s a bro rep? Saying to ourselves or the athlete we judge, “well that was good enough, I guess I’ll give it to you.” Like if a wall ball gets high enough but never actually hits the wall. I mean, it’s practically a rep, you did the work getting it up there so I guess I’ll count it. No. Just no. Folks, this is the integrity piece I mentioned earlier, I’m not in this to get a score made up of a number I didn’t work for. And if it turns out that someone else’s number is better than mine, that someone else put in more work than I did, then I guess I know what I need to work on for next year. 

The Open brings out the best and the worst in people. We see amazing acts of athleticism followed immediately by sad acts of gaming the system. The goal at Verve is to showcase the athleticism, to applaud the accomplishments, and laugh through the humbling moments. So put in the work and earn your reps. As the saying goes, “don’t wish for it to be easier, want for you to be better”.

***Everyday Warrior will be at Verve this Saturday during the 11am WOD. Following the workout they will be presenting Sarah DeVito with donations towards helping her fight her battle with cancer. Please join us for the event. 


  1. James (OG) :

    Ok, first off, let’s differentiate between training and competition. Short cutting in training is just screwing yourself over. But in competition? Come on. Your goal is to go faster than everyone else. When people were using their hands to push off their knees during squats in the beach wod five years ago, did people get on them for short cutting? No, it wasn’t prevented by the rules and it helped them go faster so they did it. When Matt wore a bag of chalk around his waist last year during Tommy V so that he wouldn’t have to waste energy and time walking over to the chalk bucket, he was lauded as a strategist, But these people read the rules and followed the rules and came up with a way to get the work required by the rules done more efficiently. That’s what you do in competition. Or, rather, that’s what I would do if I were ever good enough to actually compete at anything….

    And ex post facto rule making is horseshit, but pretty much what I would expect out of HQ. They have a hard time recognizing and acknowledging when they make mistakes so they punish others for their mistakes.

  2. Charles :

    i agree with James on this.. For this particular incident HQ is wrong. They didnt game this out properly and that team found a crack in the rules and exploited it. Cheap? Yes. Would i have done it? Probably not. Totally ‘legal’ in my eyes? Yes.

    This is on HQ and they should just change the rules going forward, and not penalize that team for HQs lack of vision.

  3. Courtney :

    Oooohhh. I said I wasn’t going to debate malicious vs not or right vs wrong but. . . . . I can’t help it, I like spirited debates.

    James and Charles,

    You both make some amazing points regarding training vs competition. But I would like to point out that your examples have nothing to do with shorting work. Did athletes still do a full squat? Hands on thighs or not, the full range of motion of work was done. Did Matt still climb the rope to the top? Yep, he just cut down his transition time. So you are correct in stating that these are awesome ways to strategize a workout for the sake of efficiency. There is a BIG difference between being efficient in work and transition time and not doing all the work. Purposefully shorting range of motion in a movement so as to do less work than what is a requirement for the full movement. . . . shady short cut.

    Now let’s discuss the notion of ex post facto rule chango. It’s usually the people that complain about not knowing the rules or stating there was a rule change after the fact are usually the people that didn’t read the original rules. You are correct that CrossFit did not state you had to use bumper plates for 16.1. You are also correct that they did not say you could not use change plates. But here is what they did said:

    “Each burpee must be performed perpendicular to and facing the barbell. The athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell. The chest and thighs touch the ground at the bottom.”

    Pay very close attention to the sentence about where the head must be in relation to the barbell. CrossFit knows no every person on the planet has access to every piece of equipment. So they cannot always specify what equipment must be used. What they can do is specify range of motion/ height/ feet, etc. standards. If the only piece of equipment a gym has is small change plates, then it simply means they would have to set the bar down on a raised platform when conducting their burpees. This information is provided in the workout description, along with pictures illustrating the written statement and a video.

    But wait, the team sent an email asking a question about what they could use and CrossFit said yes, that’s not cool. . . . A very vaguely written question about using kilo plates (not kilo change plates) was asked to the wrong person. Now here is my question to you, if you already read the rules and workout standards and you still ask a question of which the intended purpose is to get permission to shorten the range of motion of a movement with clearly stated range of motion standards. . . . what the crap are you doing?

    • James (OG) :

      Fun fun arguing! The chalk bag analogy I get – walking to and from the chalk bucket wasn’t part of the workout. But hands on your thighs? While the range of motion may not have been compromised, putting your hands on your thighs shifts the stress of the exercise to different muscles, effectively making it a very different movement from the “squat”.

      I don’t know what that phrase “the athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell” means. Does that mean above the barbell? I googled the definition of “over” and it says, “extending directly upward from”. And Google’s always right. I would read that phrase as meaning that you can’t do a burpee where your neck, for instance, rests on the top of the barbell – your entire body needs to be on one side of it.

      I think the “Uncommon Movement” clause of the rulebook is really HQ’s best argument: “Uncommon Movement Clause: Any movement deemed uncommon, out of the ordinary or used to amend, shorten or change the accepted Movement Standard or Range of Motion including line of action of any Event Movement can and will be dis- allowed. It is the responsibility of the Athlete to notify their Judge or CrossFit Inc. of any questionable movement before the workout.” BUT: (i) the rulebook specifically authorizes the disallowance of the movement. HQ did not disallow, they penalized; and (ii) it’s hard to really shoehorn shorter plates into the definition – the movement was clearly a bar facing burpee with standard range of motion (over the bar) – they just used a different bar, effectively.

      I missed where in the workout description it tells you you need to set the bar down on a raised platform if you’re using small change plates. If they did say that, clearly it means the athletes violated the rule. I see a LOT of technical information in that description but nothing about the height of the bar. Also, if they asked Crossfit and Crossfit said no, that’s not an ex post facto decision at all and they should STFU and stop their whining.

      Also, Charles is super smart and you should listen to him.

  4. Dangoia :

    I like all three of you fine humans very much, you guys are super. I also LOVE burpees.
    I rest my case, thank you.

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