“How Strong Do I Need To Be To Compete?”

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By Najeeb Reyes

On yesterday’s blog we spoke about our weekend at the Broward Affiliate Cup, and touched on the point of all our athletes comparing their level of fitness to others, and seeing we all need a bit more strength. So the question comes up, just how strong do you need to be to compete?

To begin we can say you don’t need to be ‘that’ strong to compete in general, but let’s explore some of the numbers at this past weekend’s competition, and we will go a step further looking into what it takes to make the Crossfit Games Regional’s, based purely on strength data from the 2013 Season athletes.

This past weekend we did not measure every lift – squats, DL, bench press, etc. however, we got a taste of our level of strength along with our level of technique in Olympic Lifting by tackling WOD 1, the “Clean Complex.” This complex featured a 15 minute time cap, one-barbell scenario in which all team members had to load the bar and each complete 1 power clean + 1 hang squat clean + 1 thruster. Here we quickly saw a well rounded measure of skill and strength, with the front squat coming out of the hang squat clean and thruster, and the press completed during the thruster.

So just how strong were we in comparison to the field? Our ladies averaged 83.33lbs and our men averaged 190lbs (although all could argue they could have lifted just a bit more) inside the 15 minute time cap. Our total score in pounds was of 820.

The scaled teams averaged 902lbs, with the top three teams averaging 1011lbs. The Rx teams averaged 1070lbs, with the top three teams averaging 1228lbs. All these numbers don’t seem like much due to the team setting, so let’s examine it on a more detailed basis – Most of the women were somewhere between 95lbs and 125lbs. The ladies who completed this over 135lbs were standouts and simply impressive. On the men’s side the field was somewhere between 205lbs and 225lbs, with the standouts bettering 235lbs plus, with some reaching upwards of 300lbs.

Although this complex was not a 100% well-rounded test of strength, it was a great indicator because first, the lifts were no fluke. If you complete one good clean at say 255lbs, that is great, but having the strength to control the bar coming back down to high hang position and hang cleaning it is a whole other level of strength. Beyond that, completing a thruster at that weight after the two first lifts is quite the challenge. This was a great complex, the thruster being the limiting factor.

Coming out of the event several athletes approached me regarding what it takes to go to Regional’s, competitive programming, etc. Then one of our athletes came to me and suggested a Podcast by Barbell Shrugged (93). They discussed this same item – just how strong do you have to be to go to Regional’s?

Purely from a strength numbers perspective we can see the following: the bottom 3% of women who competed at Regional’s were on average:

5’6″ tall
140lbs body weight
Clean & Jerk = 169lbs
Snatch = 133lbs
Deadlift = 289lbs
Back Squat = 238lbs
Unbroken Pull-ups = 33

Meanwhile the bottom 3% of men who competed at Regional’s were on average:

5’9″ tall
184lbs body weight
Clean & Jerk = 285lbs
Snatch = 228lbs
Deadlift = 465lbs
Back Squat = 400lbs
Unbroken Pull-ups = 55

Given and granted, all these athletes have a lot more than strength, including gymnastics skills, cardiovascular endurance, etc. But just from a purely numbers perspective, for anyone looking to qualify for Regional’s those are the raw numbers on the strength side. Raising your max lifts helps you during your WOD’s because the weight you tackle during the WOD will be a lower percentage of your max. More on this subject in upcoming blogs. Hope all you number-lovers enjoyed today’s blog! Responses and commentary are welcome at the bottom of this page. Please feel free!

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