Breaking Down the 2023 Age-Group Semifinal Tests
The Age Group Semifinals are happening now, from April 28-30, and will decide the top men and women competing in each division in Madison this summer. CrossFit HQ has released the tests, scorecards and deadlines, which were covered in a recent post from Morning Chalk Up’s Katie Gannon. In this post, we’re breaking down the tests, highlighting three points for each workout.
- 1,000-m row
- 100 double-unders
- 20 shuttle runs
- 750-m row
- 75 double-unders
- 15 shuttle runs
- 500-m row
- 50 double-unders
- 10 shuttle runs
- 250-m row
- 25 double-unders
- 5 shuttle runs
Time cap: 25 minutes
Immediately upon finishing or reaching the time cap of Test 1A, complete as many snatches as possible in 3 minutes.
- Endurance: 1A is the endurance test for the weekend. The triplet of monostructural movements and descending scheme will allow athletes to increase their intensity as the workout progresses. The double unders are more of an annoyance, with 250 reps not being much volume for this caliber of athlete.
- Recoverability and strength endurance: Coming off a long workout, athletes are going to be gassed and the competitors who are able to bring their heart rate down and clear fatigue will have a major advantage lifting the heavier barbell in 1B. Lifting while tired has been a consistent trend from HQ and the higher skill demand of the snatch will reward athletes who have excellent technique. The prescribed weights are heavy, but most likely well-below the one-rep-max of top competitors.
- More shuttle runs? I imagine the Age-Group athletes are not thrilled about doing more shuttle runs, especially since the Quarterfinals featured 100 reps in Test 3 and 60-80 reps in Open Test 2. Nevertheless, it’s clear that running is one of the most prioritized movements in our sport, with running being programmed in seven events over the last two years at the CrossFit Games (25 percent of the total events).
In 5 minutes, complete as many reps as possible of:
- Thrusters (135/95)
*Athletes must complete a minimum number (varied by division) of thrusters and muscle-ups. If this number is not achieved for one movement, any reps over the minimum of the other movement will not count.
Time cap: 5 minutes
You may switch movements at any time. Your score will be the total number of repetitions completed before the 5-minute time cap. Athletes must complete the minimum number of repetitions (the minimum varies by division) for both thrusters and muscle-ups for any repetitions above the minimums to count.
- Stamina: This workout is going to test the muscular endurance/stamina of athletes. Five minutes is a long time to go back-and-forth between thrusters and muscle ups. This couplet puts a Semifinals-spin on the workout “Fran,” with a moderately loaded barbell and a more taxing pulling movement in the muscle up.
- Strategy: The separator for Test 2 is going to be how athletes choose to break things up. Each individual will need to figure out what rep scheme allows them to keep moving, without having excessive rest or transition times.
- Muscle-up workout: While the thrusters are heavier than Fran, most athletes at this stage in the season won’t be limited by the barbell. The individuals who are most proficient at muscle up and can handle high volume will likely pull away in Test 2.
- 5 intervals of 2 minutes of work followed by 1 minute of rest:
- 7 deadlifts (185/135)
- 5 cleans
- 3 shoulder-to-overheads
Each interval begins at the start of the sequence (always start with 7 deadlifts).
After the final 1-minute rest in Test 3A, athletes will have 5 minutes to establish a max freestanding handstand hold.
Within the 5-minute window, athletes may make as many or as few attempts as they’d like.
- Sprint intervals: Test 3A features a “DT” style barbell complex mixed into an interval format, which will force athletes to push beyond a pace they are comfortable with. The low rep scheme should allow individuals to move relatively non-stop during each interval, with quick drops between the deadlifts and cleans to keep the grip from blowing up.
- Skill: Test 3B is a throwback to the max handstand hold from the first stage of the 2020 CrossFit Games. The major difference is that athletes in 2020 had 20 minutes to hit their best attempt while the 2023 competitors will only have five minutes. The other difference is that Age-Group Semifinalists will have one minute to recover from a hard interval workout before starting this test. The pre-fatigue of the shoulder-to-overheads will definitely be a factor.
- Balance: The moderately heavy load for 3A is blended with a pure test of gymnastics skill. This will reward athletes who are balanced in their fitness. The volume of the intervals will test strength and stamina, while rewarding athletes who are able to recover well during the one minute of rest. The handstand is going to expose barbell specialists who have neglected the less sexy single modality work.
- 20 burpee box jump-overs (20in)
- 2 rounds of:
- 20 kettlebell step-ups (70/53)
- 2 rope climbs (15ft)
- 2 rounds of:
- 20 kettlebell goblet squats (70/53)
- 2 legless rope climbs (15ft)
- 20 burpee box jump-overs
- Grunt work: Test 4 is going to be more of a grind, with lower skill movements and a format that will force athletes to keep pushing for the full workout. Athletes who may be lacking in strength or skill have a big opportunity to make up points in the final test of the 2023 Age-Group Semifinals.
- Standards: Athletes will need to make step-up and goblet squat reps clear, as these movements may be low-hanging fruit for scoring penalties. It will be important for athletes to hit the gas pedal on the less subjective movements (burpee box jump overs and rope climbs) and then make every rep count of the step-ups and goblet squats.
- Burpee box jump overs: The deciding factor will likely be the burpee box jump overs, as the volume between the buy-in/cash-out is not high enough to slow down athletes at the Semifinal level. Expect to see people go all out in the final 20 reps.
Final thoughts: The logistical limitations of virtual competition seem to be the main culprit for the repeated use of certain movements in the Age-Group Semifinal. The variety we will soon see at the Individual Semifinals is only possible with a live competition format, where HQ and event partners have control over the equipment and space. Endurance, strength, stamina, sprint intervals, skill and grunt work are all still being tested despite the repetition of movements from previous qualification stages.
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