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With the Dubai CrossFit Championship kicking off this week – an event that has traditionally featured heavy events – and in light of Guilherme Malheiros’ performance in strength events at the 2021 CrossFit Games and Rogue Invitational, the data nerd CrossFit John Young and I were curious about how strong you have to be to win the CrossFit Games, if gaining strength even correlates with a podium and how the strength maybe too much.

Force Event Winners:

  • Unless your name is Rich Froning, Mat Fraser, Tia-Clair Toomey, or Kara Saunders; winning the showdown at the CrossFit Games means missing the podium by the end of the weekend.

Aside from Toomey, the women who won the showdown at the Games have a average placement in 15th competition.

Excluding Froning and Fraser, the winners of the men’s showdown on average a possible 17th place at the Games.

Game champions on strength tests:

  • Again, Froning, Fraser and Toomey are the only Games champions in this sample to have also won strength events.
  • However, Games champions fared significantly better in Showdowns than Showdown winners in terms of overall Games rankings.

Davidsdottir’s 38th in the deadlift and Briggs’ 22nd in the clean and jerk were the only arrivals outside the top 10 Olympic champions in strength tests since 2013.

Only Fraser’s 23rd place finish at the Ranch Deadlift is outside the top 10 male Games champions since 2013 on strength tests at the Games.

* Note: Fraser and Davidsdottir being the clear outliers on the same event (Ranch Deadlift), it probably suggests that this test is an outlier rather than their performance on it.

How strong do you have to be to win, and also to stand on the podium, at the Games?

If you want to stand on the podium at the CrossFit Games, it’s definitely worth being strong, but you don’t have to be the strongest.

On average, podiums at the Games raise about 93% of the overall showdown victory score.

The average results per podium position at the Games on the strength tests are:

  • around 5th (men) and 6th (women) for the Games champions
  • around 7th (women) and 8th (men) for the finalists
  • and around 10th (men) and 12th (women) for third.

The big picture: Competitive CrossFitters have known for some time that being strong pays off. And there is no doubt that in the case of Guilherme Malheiros, his overall results in competition this year are largely due to his strength. What this data indicates is the fact that Malheiros is already more than strong enough to eventually reach the podium at the CrossFit Games (and of course if we extrapolate to the larger fields we will probably find that some athletes could have already been able to be on the podium if they were a little stronger).

It also suggests that even though there are somewhere between a handful and a dozen men each year at the Games with a 300-pound snatch, Justin Medeiros at 285 (assuming he can hit it in competition) is enough. strong in that lift (285 pounds turned out to be exactly 93% of Malheiros’ 305 pound winning snatch this year, which fits perfectly with the historic trend for Games champions).

Restricting data like this can give elite athletes a well-defined range of strength numbers to achieve. And, if they are already in that range, it can also give them confidence to focus more on their training time by improving in other areas.

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