Scaling the Individual Semifinals Tests At Your Affiliate

May 25, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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The Africa and North America East regions showcased the 2023 Semfinal tests to the rest of the world last weekend, setting the stage for the final two weeks of competition. 

Elite athletes make incredibly hard things look easy, moving weights and performing skills in what appears to be an effortless fashion. 

The beauty of CrossFit is the infinite scalability, adjusting the demands by degree, not kind. Today we’re giving you a scaling guide to customize the Semifinal tests at your home gym or affiliate. 

Plug-and-play: You’ll notice below that there isn’t a cookie cutter “scaled” version of each workout. The reason being is that each individual has differing strengths and weaknesses, so it may not be necessary to scale the entire workout, but only certain elements. 

  • Instead, read the goal for the workout as a whole and use the individual movement breakdowns to help you customize the scaling. This helps to create the most difficult workout possible, while still maintaining the goal for the day based on your individual strengths/weaknesses. 

Self-scale: Below you’ll see the term “self-scale,” which simply means capping yourself during movements to maintain the goal of the workout and give yourself a chance to finish under the cap. The term “RPE” means “rate of perceived effort” and is measured on a scale of one to 10, with a 10 being a maximum effort that you wouldn’t be able to sustain much longer than a minute. 

Test 1

For time: 

  • 3,000m Echo Bike 
  • Hand-over-hand pull (84 feet) 225/180 pounds
  • 2,000m Assault AirRunner
  • Hand-over-hand pull (84 feet)
  • 1,000m SkiErg 
  • Hand-over-hand pull (92 feet)

Time cap: 30 minutes

Logistical Obstacles: Most affiliates don’t have the space, sleds, bikes, or ski machines needed to accommodate this workout. If you do, definitely keep the structure as written and modify the hand-over-hand loading as needed. If you’re running this in a class, you can split athletes into groups and do a delayed start to free up limited equipment. 

Goal: For most of us, this is going to be a 30 minute AMRAP, but you should be able to get within striking distance of finishing by the time the 30 minute cap hits. Ideally, this workout should take 26 to 28 minutes. 


  • 3,000m or 90 calories 
  • Self-scale to 5 minutes at 7 to 8 RPE 


  • 2,000m outdoor run 
  • Self-scale to 12 minutes of running at 7 to 8 RPE 


  • 1,000m row
  • Self-scale to 5 minutes at 7 to 8 RPE 

Hand-over-hand pull

  • The full body nature of this hand-over-hand pull makes burpee pull-ups a great substitute for gyms that don’t have the equipment and space to accommodate this movement. 
  • 20 burpee pull-ups (bar higher than arms extended overhead with feet together)
  • 20 burpee jumping pull-ups (bar can be low enough to use leg assistance)
  • 15 burpees and 15 ring rows   
  • Self-scale to take no longer than 2 minutes 

Test 2

  • 3 rounds of a 3 minute AMRAP:
  • 5 ring complexes (1 toe-to-ring, 1 muscle-up, 1 ring dip)
  • 20 single-leg squats
  • Max burpees over box 30/24in.
  • Rest 1 minute between AMRAPs. Score is total reps across the 3 sets. 

Goal: You should have 60 to 90 seconds each round for the burpees over the box. 


  • This should take a minute or less each round 
  • 5 bar complexes (1 toes-to-bar, 1 pull-up, 1 chest-to-bar) 
  • 5 dumbbell complexes (1 push-up, 1R/1L renegade row, 1 deadlift)

Single-leg squats: 

Burpees over box

  • Decrease the height of the box as needed to keep moving steadily until the expiration of the clock each interval.
  • Burpee step-overs

Test 3

Semifinals Linda

  • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
  • Deadlifts 295/220 pounds
  • Dumbbell bench presses 90/60 pounds
  • Squat cleans 145/105 pounds

Time cap: 17 minutes

Logistical Obstacles: Most affiliates don’t have enough barbells, plates, or benches to support a workout like this in a class structure. 

Goal: You want to move relatively nonstop for the full duration of this workout, so it may be smart to have pre-planned breaks to prevent muscular failure. Use the below guidelines to help you finish the workout in the 12 to 16 minute range. 


  • Reduce the weight so you can do the larger sets (10-9-8-7), with no more than one quick break.

Dumbbell bench presses

  • Dumbbell bench, using a weight you can do the larger sets (10-9-8-7), with no more than one quick break.
  • Dumbbell floor press (same loading parameters as above)

Squat cleans 

  • Strip weight off your deadlift barbell, using a moderate load that you can perform quick singles 
  • The other option is to do dumbbell squat cleans with the same weight you’re using for the bench or floor presses. This will add more of a stamina/cardio feel and less of the strength feel that singles on the cleans will give 

Test 4

For load:


In a 6 minute window: 

  • Run 800m 
  • Max snatch

Rest 2 minutes

Test 5

For time:

  • 8 snatches (185/125)
  • Run 800m 

Time cap: 6 minutes 

Goal: Test 4 is all about giving yourself enough time to get quality attempts on the snatch without running so hard that it will cause fatigue and effect technique. You should have a minimum of two minutes for the max snatch. Test 5 needs to be a sprint, going unbroken on the snatches and running aggressively to the finish line. 


  • For Test 4, the run should take around four minutes, so self-scale the distance as needed to have at least two minutes remaining for the max snatch.
  • For Test 5, run hard but with control until the final 200 meters. Once you get to the final stretch it’s time to go as hard as you can. 


  • For Test 4, athletes who are comfortable and competent in the snatch work up to a max snatch. There should be a build-up period prior to the workout where athletes have warmed up properly and loaded their first attempt on the barbell before starting. This should be something heavy, but also a load they know they can hit.
  • For Test 4, Athletes who are newer to snatching shouldn’t be working to a top load, and reducing range of motion to a power snatch or muscle snatch may be a wise idea if needed. Rather than having them work to a top weight, they can use a lighter barbell and perform max quality repetitions until the clock expires. 
  • For Test 5, athletes should choose a weight they can touch-and-go for eight unbroken repetitions, ideally using a moderate-to-heavy barbell. 

Test 6

For time:

  • 20 overhead squats 185/125 pounds
  • 500m row
  • 3 handstand walk pirouettes
  • 2 seated legless rope climbs
  • 20 strict chest-to-wall handstand push-ups
  • 2 seated legless rope climbs
  • 3 handstand walk pirouettes
  • 500m row 
  • 20 overhead squats

Time cap: 15 minutes (men); 16 minutes (women)

Logistical obstacles: If you’re offering this in a class format, you can split the group up and do a delayed start to free up the rower. If you’d prefer to have everyone go at the same time, you can substitute a 400 meter run for the row. 

Goal: 10 to 14 minutes 

Overhead squats

  • Choose a challenging weight that you can do two sets of 10 reps with a brief rest before picking the barbell back up. 
  • If you can’t comfortably perform overhead squats with a challenging load, practice the movement during the warm-up but substitute front squats for the workout to maintain the stimulus of a moderately heavy barbell. 


  • Self-scale by capping yourself at 2:10 on the rower for the first row and then repeating the distance on the second row 

Handstand walk pirouettes 

Seated legless rope climbs

  • Legless rope climbs 
  • Rope climbs
  • 6 unbroken strict chin-ups (band assisted if needed) for each rope climb
  • 12 unbroken alternating dumbbell plank row (6 per arm) for each rope climb 

Strict chest-to-wall handstand push-ups

Test 7

3 rounds for time of:

  • 15/10 Echo Bike calories 
  • 20 toes-to-bars
  • 60-foot sandbag bear-hug carry (200/150)

Time cap: 6 minutes

Logistical Obstacles: Some gyms may not have enough sandbags or bikes to run a full group through this workout. You can offer a running option, using a 200 meter run (45 second self-scale) in place of the bike. 

Goal: Each round should take less than two minutes, so it may be better to decrease the work to keep the intensity high and to get a similar feeling to how the elite athletes felt doing this prescribed, striving to finish under the six minute cap. 

Echo bike calories

  • Self-scale calories in the first round at 45-seconds and repeat that number in the following two rounds 


Sandbag bear-hug carry

  • If you have sandbags, use a heavy weight that challenges you to complete the 60 feet unbroken.
  • Substitute heavy dumbbell farmers carries (can be made overhead carries if weights are not challenging enough in farmers position)

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