Why Were the Madrid Championships Workouts All Short?
The Madrid Championship wrapped up this past weekend, and you don’t have to be an analyst to notice that all of the workouts were relatively short — less than 10 minutes in most cases. A core tenant of CrossFit is balanced, varied fitness, so a major off-season competition lacking longer time domain tests in their programming begs the question: why?
As some background, for the top ten, men worked an average total of 46 minutes and women, 50 minutes, over the course of the three day competition. When compared to a Semifinal event or popular off-season event like Wodapalooza in 2021, this ranks lower by 15-20 minutes overall. It’s common to have one or two longer events that end up taking up close to half of the total working time per athlete.
That said, analyst Brian Friend makes a key point: “It’s more than just the total time that’s important; it’s the ability to recover from a workout that’s longer, which is why those usually show up earlier in the competition that is lost without at least one 20+ minute test,” he said.
In talking about this on the ground with several coaches and athletes in Madrid, an interesting thought came up worth considering: Does every CrossFit competition need to be all-encompassing?
Despite the nature of the sport having several different kinds of tests to crown the fittest on earth, maybe not every off-season and non-qualifying competition needs to follow suit. Perhaps, in fact, there’s a place for more power-focused, sprint-strong or gymnastically-inclined athletes, and the like, to demonstrate their ability on the competition floor outside of the formal season.
Additionally, the logistics of an event are a huge factor in what is possible from a programming perspective, and that’s a fact that may often be overlooked by fans. The Madrid Championship had more than 2,000 athletes across multiple divisions, completing seven workouts programmed by HWPO.
“When we are programming an event like this, an off-season mass participation event, we try to create a weekend that is well-rounded, entertaining, and that showcases the athletes. Events of this size have a lot of logistical constraints that determine how short or long each event can be,” Jake Marconi, HWPO Head of Programming, said. “Madrid manages to create an incredible event that gives 2,500 athletes between a number of divisions a great competitive experience. Within those constraints our goal is to make events that challenge athletes in as many ways as possible.”
However, just because a workout is short, does not mean it’s always testing the same component of fitness.
“At Madrid, a lot of the events were short but we made them each challenging for different reasons. An event with HSPU and sandbag cleans is going to be limited by skill while an event with chest to bar, echo bike, thrusters, and sled push is going to be limited by how bad you can hurt (at this level),” Marconi said. “After watching events play out in live competition, we always come out with notes on things we want to tweak for the future so we can continue to create quality tests that athletes enjoy participating in and people enjoy watching.”
It’s a refreshing perspective that many factors influence how an event transpires, some of which may be more intentional than what appears at first glance. It’s also worth noting that the Madrid Championship ran impeccably on-schedule, a historically uncommon feat accomplished by competitions of this size.
HWPO has already announced they’ll be programming other off-season events to come, and we look forward to seeing the tests evolve for each competition. If you missed any of the action in Madrid, checkout Morning Chalk Up’s daily recap of the event, broadcasted from Spain and powered by TYR, on YouTube.