CrossFit Games

Quarterfinals’ Four-Rep Max Shows Shrinking Strength Gap Across Continents

April 18, 2021 by
Credit: Travis Mayer
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For the first time in CrossFit Games history, athletes continued their season after the Open in the comfort of their own gyms. Competing to see who would crack the top percentiles in each continent and move on to the Semifinals.

One big thing: Not only was this season unique in the fact that athletes competed in quarterfinals for the first time post-Open, but it was also unique in that the athletes also competed only against other athletes across their own continent.

  • This new, unique setup provides an opportunity to compare continents to each other and the results are not what one might think.
  • Out of all the workouts of the Quarterfinals, the four-rep max front squat provided the most direct way to compare raw strength across the continents.

While North America and Europe are largely considered to be powerhouses of the sport, the four-rep max front squat showcased some incredibly strong athletes from some of the continents typically considered less competitive.

  • In fact, the heaviest female front squat in the world came from South African Quarterfinalist Lee Keyrouz who front squatted 315 pounds, 10 pounds higher than the next heaviest front squat from Morgan Reynolds in North America.
  • On the men’s side, the heaviest front squat came from Alexandru Popa of Europe who front squatted 645 pounds for four reps.
  • When comparing averages across the board, it’s clear that North America and Europe host the top athletes in the sport, with both continents taking first and second place respectively for the heaviest average amongst the 50 athletes in that event across the board in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
North AmericaAfricaAsiaEuropeOceaniaSouth America
Average268.26223.24223.58256.9240.28241.98
Max305315276312282302
Weights of Top Finishers In The four-rep Max Front Squat By Continent (Women)
North AmericaAfricaAsiaEuropeOceaniaSouth America
Average411.42347.24372.86392.14359.92379.52
Max455387437645424425
Weights of Top Finishers In The four-rep Max Front Squat By Continent (Men)

However, while North America and Europe had some of the heaviest front squats in the top 50 finishers of that event, when you compare qualifiers for Semifinals of each continent, the numbers tell a different story.

  • In North America and Europe, the top finishers in the four-rep max front squat didn’t qualify for Semifinals in either the men’s or the women’s divisions.
  • Conversely, in Africa, the top female finisher in the front squat event finished fifth place overall and qualified for Semifinals.
  • Similarly in South America, the winners of the four-rep max front squat in both the men’s and women’s divisions qualified for Semifinals.
  • Not only that, but when looking at the average four-rep max front squat score across all semi-final qualifiers, South America’s Semifinal qualifiers had the highest average across the board.
  • On the men’s side, while North America’s Semifinal qualifiers took home the highest average four-rep max front squat, South America trailed closely behind by just 5 pounds.
Heaviest 4-Rep Max Amongst Semifinal Qualifiers (Men)
ContinentWeight (pounds)
Europe400
North America392
South America381
Oceania377
Asia369
Africa330
Average 4-Rep Max Amongst Semifinal Qualifiers (Men)
ContinentWeight (pounds)
North America373
South America368
Europe365
Oceania347
Africa333
Heaviest 4-Rep Max Amongst Semifinal Qualifiers (Women)
ContinentWeight (pounds)
Oceania282
North America272
South America271
Asia267
Europe261
Africa250
Average 4-Rep Max Amongst Semifinal Qualifiers (Women)
ContinentWeight (pounds)
North America241
Africa226
Asia222
Europe240
Oceania240
South America249

Perhaps most notable is not just the fact that continents like South America, Africa, and Asia outrank more prominent continents in this event, but also how close the final numbers were across all the continents.

  • In fact, the continent with the heaviest average four-rep max front squat across Semifinal qualifiers, is separated from the continent with the lowest average four-rep max front squat across Semifinal qualifiers by only 40 pounds, meaning North America only outperformed Africa by 12%.
  • Furthermore, the average percent difference between the average four-rep max of semifinal qualifiers in each continent was 2.48% for the women and 2.89% for the men.
Average 4-Rep Max Amongst Semifinal Qualifiers (Men)
ContinentWeight (LBS)Difference% Change
North America373
South America36851.36%
Europe36530.82%
Oceania347185.19%
Africa333144.20%
Average 4-Rep Max Amongst Semifinal Qualifiers (Women)
ContinentWeight (LBS)Difference% Change
South America249
North America24183.32%
Europe24010.42%
Oceania24000.00%
Africa226146.19%

Why it matters: While North America’s top finishers in the four-rep max front squat dominated the leaderboard, it’s important to note that when looking at qualifiers for Semifinals by continent, that the finishes in the four-rep max front squat are separated only by a small margin of difference. While in the past, North America and Europe were largely considered the dominant countries in the landscape of CrossFit, it’s becoming ever more evident that other continents are slowly beginning to catch up and even in some cases exceed athletes that previously dominated the sport from Europe and North America.

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