Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Barcelona, Spain hosted the Freakest Challenge over the weekend and our own Justin LoFranco and Tommy Marquez were there. We’ve got the big takeaways from the event, as well as a follow-up on our coverage of how the coronavirus is affecting the CrossFit world. Today:
Three big takeaways from the Freakest Challenge.
Tommy Marquez and Noah Ohlsen in Barcelona.
CrossFit Tianfu provides at-home programming during coronavirus outbreak.
The Norway CrossFit Championship announces 13.1 repeat, kinda.
“It doesn’t matter if yesterday was good or bad, it’s over. Today, you have the opportunity to prepare better, perform better, and lead better.” — Jason Su’a
Three Big Takeaways From the Freakest Challenge
The Morning Chalk Up team had the opportunity this past weekend to spend 2 days on the ground in Barcelona, Spain for the 2020 edition of The Freakest Challenge. The weekend was spent following alongside 8 Nike athletes as they joined in with 8 teams, and thousands of fans for a unique experience that included a tournament style elimination competition, pro-am style workouts, and workshops led by some of the biggest names in the sport.
Mat Fraser, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Noah Ohlsen, Laura Horvath, Lukas Hogberg, Willy Georges, Lauren Fisher, and Thuri Helgadottir all took part in the action, and below are 3 big takeaways from The Freakest Challenge for the broader community at large.
1. The Untapped Market For Brands And Athletes Is Huge.
The Freakest Challenge isn’t a Sanctional or official CrossFit competition, but that doesn’t prevent it from creating significant value across the board in the CrossFit ecosystem. Spain is far from the largest market in the community, and the competition itself is only four hours long, but Nike’s involvement was significant. This included a tremendous amount of star power on the athlete side that lent credibility to an event that doesn’t have anywhere near the same established competition platform as the Sanctionals or CrossFit events. Still, roughly 2,500 fans packed out the Sant Jordi Club and brought some high octane energy that will undoubtedly result in some high-quality creative content, and buzz around the European scene.
It highlights just how much opportunity lies in the global market if brands and athletes are willing to venture outside of the conventional bubble. At the end of the day, the gold standard for relevance with regards to athletes and brand activation is performance in the Games season, but just because a ticket to the CrossFit Games isn’t on the line, doesn’t mean that a given athlete, or the brands that back them, can’t create significant value in a similar arena.
2. The Global Fanbase Deserves More.
The United States is the only home that the CrossFit Games has ever known. Couple that with the fact that CrossFit Inc. was founded in California, and it’s easy to see why the U.S., in general, acts as the epicenter of the CrossFit world. However, the passion and enthusiasm for the methodology and sport that was on display this weekend in Spain was unreal. It was arguably one of the most high energy crowds we’ve seen outside of Saturday night at the Games.
Asia CrossFit Championship has pushed back the deadline for submissions to its online qualifier by 10 days.
The May event may have to be postponed or even canceled in 2020, given the current travel restrictions in China.
Around 160 Chinese affiliates are closed and will remain so until February 9 at least, as entire cities are in lockdown.
“Corona is doing everything to stop us,” CrossFit Tianfu’s Eric Zhu Chen told the Morning Chalk Up, but the coaching staff is doing everything they can to encourage those in lockdown.
Fight Back By Getting Stronger is what CrossFit Tianfu is calling the online programming they launched in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. They are providing at-home WODs for gym members unable to workout otherwise.
“At the start we had around five to six people ticking the box every day. Now it’s more than 20 and more joining,” Eric said.
“New people join in daily, so we have one work out every day…since Chinese New Year.”
In true CrossFit fashion — the box is programming workouts around 15-20 minutes in length that all members can complete using equipment found around the house.
“Using furniture to workout, chair thrusters, dog goblet squats, water bottle man-makers, so much creativity,” Eric said. CrossFit.com, eat your heart out.
It has also allowed the community to remain united and even see the humor in an otherwise terrifying situation: “Lots of comments and laughter,” Eric added.
“I feel the community is actually getting better and tighter than ever before,” he said.
All the members communicate via WeChat, even sending videos (see video) of their creative CrossFit workouts.
Norway Brings Back An Old Favorite
In just over a week, the Norwegian CrossFit Championship will take center stage as the next event in the 2019-2020 Sanctional season. The event officially announced its first individual workout via Instagram last week, programmed by the team from Prepared Programming. The workout is modeled after one of the most notable Open workouts of all time, 13.1.
I’m new here, remind me: Open workout 13.1 was a 17 minute couplet of burpees and snatches. The burpee reps descended, while the snatch reps remained flat until the end while the weight increased each round. Athletes started with the burpees, then switched between the two.
Burpee reps: 40, 30, 20, 10, all performed with a jump and touch to a target placed six inches above the athlete’s maximum reach.
Snatch reps: 30 reps each at 75/45-lbs, 135/75-lbs, 165/100-lbs, and then with the remaining time perform as many reps as possible at 210/120-lbs.
The workout was a literal mashup of the first two workouts from the 2012 Open that featured seven minutes of burpees in 12.1, followed by ten minutes of ascending load snatches in 12.2.
A little nostalgia: The workout served as the platform for the first-ever live Open announcement at CrossFit Vitaly in Charlotte, North Carolina where Dan Bailey and Scott Panchik went head to head.
It’s a repeat, kind of: The workout this year in Norway will follow the 13.1 rep scheme, but the programmers have given it a bit of a facelift for the Sanctionals competition floor.
Bar-facing burpees will be used instead of burpees to a 6” target, which will be a much easier setup for the event organizers, better presentation for spectators and viewers while providing a similar (if not worse) stimulus.
The men’s snatch weight has been adjusted slightly to account for the conversion to kilos and to allow for cleaner setup and transitions.
The women’s snatch weight has been beefed up a bit and made heavier across the board to better match the modern relative adjustment made for loading between genders, and because let’s face it, the women’s field is strong AF.
What to look for: The top mark for the men in 2013 was set by Neal Maddox with nine snatches at the final barbell (199 reps). Kristan Clever took the win for the women with 21 snatches (211) at the last weight.
Expect a new record in the men’s division, as the loading is nearly identical with only a kilo difference at a maximum at any given barbell. Given the amount that the men’s division has progressed since 2013, it’s almost a guarantee.
It’s a different story for the women, as the final barbell is roughly 10-kg (22-lbs) heavier than in 2013. Relatively speaking, the women’s division is lightyears ahead of where they were seven years ago, but a 15% increase in loading for a weight that would need to be hoisted 22 times to set the new mark will require a herculean effort.
Sanctional News and Notes
The Norwegian CrossFit Championship has released the standards for individual event two.
Streat Hoerner, Luke Schafer, Taylor Williamson and Andrea Nisler are teaming up to compete at Wodapalooza.
The Brazil CrossFit Championship has announced that Josh Miller is confirmed to compete.
The West Coast CrossFit Classic is giving away a free trip plus accommodations to one lucky athlete in the Community Divisions, see link for details.
Sean Sweeney is confirmed to compete at the West Coast CrossFit Classic.
Back in the summer, Jacinto Bonilla celebrated his 80th birthday by completing a chipper with 80 reps each of squats, pull-ups, push-ups, wall balls, kettlebell swings and deadlifts. Oh, and 80 double-unders at the beginning and end — it’s his signature birthday WOD and he adds a rep every year.
The most comfortable, most versatile training shoe Nike has ever made has new colors for the New Year. Each Metcon comes with a Hyperlift heel insert to give you a little lift to tackle all those training goals.
How to Find the Best Back Squat Program for CrossFit and Strength Athletes
There are countless programs on the internet to build your back squat. In this episode of Barbell Shrugged, Anders Varner, Doug Larson and Travis Mash discuss: Finding a goal-specific program to increase your squat.
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