Deadlifts in Perspective at the Last Chance Qualifier

July 12, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Christine Kolenbrander (instagram.com/christine.kole)
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We know CrossFit works, but sometimes it’s fun to reiterate what we already know by comparing just how strong we are — both as individuals and as a community — to where we came from. 

The 3-rep max deadlift event at the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) provided a perfect opportunity to recognize just how strong and deep the field at the Semifinal level is today compared to CrossFit Games deadlift performances of the past.

Remind me: The CrossFit Games featured a 1-rep max deadlift inside the CrossFit Total event both last summer during Stage 2 and in 2018. Meanwhile in 2016, a 1-rep max deadlift was tested during a ladder event.

Notable individual improvements: A handful of athletes who competed at the LCQ lifted more for three reps than they were able to hit for a single rep at the 2016 or 2018 Games.

  • Kristi Eramo O’Connell hit 356 pounds for her triple, besting her 350-pound lift from the 2018 Games, and crushing her 335-pound lift from the 2016 Games. 
  • Madeline Sturt posted the second best triple at the LCQ (386 pounds), 21 pounds heavier than she lifted at the 2018 Games, and a whopping 61 pounds more than her 325-pound single deadlift in 2016. 
  • And while Alethea Boon’s 309-pound triple at the LCQ was only good enough for 24th place, the lift was still 24 pounds heavier than what she managed in 2016.
  • On the men’s side, Khan Porter also showed huge improvement. He lifted 521 pounds for a triple at the LCQ, compared to his single lifts of 500 pounds in 2018 and 505 pounds in 2016. 

Worth noting: Athletes at the LCQ were not allowed to touch-and-go their three lifts. They had to perform full stop deadlifts, clearly opening their hands at the bottom of each lift, making the event that much more difficult. 

  • “That dead stop added a whole new twist to the deadlift,” wrote Eramo O’Connell on Instagram after punching her sixth ticket to the Games via the LCQ.

LCQ versus past Games: It goes without saying that scores for three reps should be expectedly lower than a single rep, but the 56 athletes who competed at the LCQ proved that deadlift strength at the Semifinal level today is stronger than top level Games athletes from past seasons.

LCQ Versus 2020: The top five men last weekend posted an average lift of 568.6 pounds, 27 pounds heavier than the five fittest men in the world averaged on their 1-rep max last summer (541.6 pounds). 

  • Further, two men at the LCQ lifted more for three reps than Jeff Adler’s winning 567-pound single deadlift last summer (Ioannis Papadopoulos hit 595 pounds, while Phil Toon posted a 575-pound triple), and the top seven men’s lifts from the LCQ were heavier than four of the five men’s lifts last summer.
  • On the women’s side, the top five lifters at the LCQ posted an average triple deadlift of 381 pounds, 20 pounds more than what the top five women in the world averaged in 2020 (360.4 pounds).

LCQ Versus 2016 and 2018: When we consider the larger sample sizes of the 2016 and 2018 Games the results are less impressive than comparing them to the top five in 2020, but considering we’re comparing Semifinal-level athletes to the fittest CrossFit Games athletes in the world, and on three reps versus one rep, the results are still worth noting.

  • Men: The average score across the entire field at the LCQ was 514.1 pounds, besting the 2018 average of 512.9 pounds, and falling just a couple of pounds shy of the 2016 average lift of 516.7 pounds.
  • Women: The average LCQ triple deadlift was 340 pounds, well within striking distance of the average single lifts in both 2018 and 2016 — 353.3 and 347.3 pounds respectively. 

The big picture: Do CrossFit and you get better. Period. It’s what keeps both the average athlete and the Games athlete showing up for more, and sometimes it even results in us doing things we never thought we’d be able to do. 

  • “I had my eyes set on 330-340 (pounds) and I thought that was lofty,” wrote Eramo O’Connell on Instagram. “If you told me I’d pull 356 pounds for a dead stop (triple) I would have laughed and asked what alternate world you were living in…This is why I love the sport.”

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