#818 – Trolling the Open Leaderboard w/ Brian Friend, JR Howell and Claire Bays

Sevan Matossian (00:00):

Test back. I’m fucked. Bam. We’re live.

Brian Friend (00:04):

What were you saying just now?

Sevan Matossian (00:06):

Who me? Yeah. It’s chilling.

Brian Friend (00:09):

No procedures can hurt back his little boys. Jr.

Sevan Matossian (00:13):

Uh, Claire. Hi. Welcome to the show.

Claire Bays (00:15):

Hello. Thank you for having

Sevan Matossian (00:16):

Me. Hi. Uh, do you know Brian? Because, uh, we met through Brian. Yep. And, and, um, jr’s above you

Claire Bays (00:25):

Familiar? Not, not personally, but

Sevan Matossian (00:27):

Yes. And then, and then Caleb is, uh, down there. It’s like, yep. It’s like a Brady Bunch. It is a Brady Bunch. Uh, let me do one thing here really quick before we get started. Normally we were a little, uh, that’s not true. I was gonna say, normally we’re a little more organized than this, but, um, there’s

Brian Friend (00:46):

No normal here.

Sevan Matossian (00:48):

Thank you. Thank you. I

Claire Bays (00:49):

Mean, would it, would it even be related to CrossFit if it was like super organized?

Sevan Matossian (00:53):

Good point. <laugh>,

Brian Friend (00:55):

Somewhat. Hope so.

Sevan Matossian (00:56):

Fucking great point. Uh, I have a printer that’s, I, I have like, uh, my wife, I have a printer that’s like so old and I’m trying, I was trying to print out all these cool, um, uh, things that Brian made for the show so I could have them in hard copy so I didn’t have to look over there. And it’s just taken for, oh, I forgot to hit. And then, right. And then I, and then, so I was over. That’s why we’re late. Cause I was waiting for the printer and it’s just, that’s what you’re doing. It’s just so slow. It’s crazy. Lemme see if my wife Hello. Hi babe.

Speaker 4 (01:29):


Sevan Matossian (01:30):

Hey, um, there’s some papers coming out of the printer really slow. Could you bring them in my office? Oh, as they’re done. There’s no rush.

Speaker 4 (01:37):


Sevan Matossian (01:38):

You’re wonderful. Joseph

Speaker 4 (01:40):

Is already on it.

Sevan Matossian (01:41):

Oh, you’re a wonderful human being. Thank you.

Speaker 4 (01:43):

Oh, and so are you. You’re welcome.

Sevan Matossian (01:45):

Okay. Say hi to Claire. She’s new to the show.

Claire Bays (01:48):


Speaker 4 (01:50):

Hello. How are you?

Sevan Matossian (01:51):

Don’t be rude, Hailey. Don’t be rude. How are you?

Speaker 4 (01:53):


Sevan Matossian (01:55):

All right, thank you, babe. Bye.

Speaker 4 (01:56):

Okay, bye.

Sevan Matossian (01:58):

Uh, Claire, you, you, you’re a CrossFitter.

Claire Bays (02:00):

I, uh, do be doing CrossFit. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (02:02):

Fun. And, and how and how long have you been doing it?

Claire Bays (02:05):

Like, seven years. I think I’ve been watching you longer than that, but, uh, but doing it for about seven.

Sevan Matossian (02:11):

Holy shit. This your

Brian Friend (02:11):

Seventh? This your seventh open. Yeah. Eighth, seventh.

Claire Bays (02:14):

Yeah. So I guess then it’s at least that long if this is my seventh open. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (02:18):

Were you like a, a high school or collegiate athlete just looking for something to like, do, or how, how did you, how did it cross paths with you?

Claire Bays (02:25):

Uh, it was about the only thing Jim wise to do where I’m from. And so I was in my twenties trying to not be obese. I didn’t play any sports growing up.

Sevan Matossian (02:34):

Oh. Oh yeah. Me neither. Oh, were you, were you just a goofball growing up like me?

Claire Bays (02:38):

Uh, I mean, I was artistic <laugh>. I was kind,

Sevan Matossian (02:42):

I was artistic too. I was lots of shit. I was great at smoking weed. Yes. Um, stuff like break

Claire Bays (02:47):

Alcohol, didn’t

Sevan Matossian (02:48):

Have any sports background, like the thought, like you had, like when the first time you saw clean or snatch you were like, or, or deep de ball slam, you were like, huh. Completely confused.

Claire Bays (02:56):

I remember watching the sport in like, I don’t know, I Annie’s early days, so it was that like oh nine, somewhere around there is when I first was introduced to it and was like, you know, just watching it thinking that’s, that’s pretty cool. That’s wild. But it wasn’t until a handful of years later when I finally mustered the courage, I actually went into that CrossFit gym into my, uh, town 2013. Scared the she outta me, didn’t go back until 2016.

Sevan Matossian (03:18):

Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah. And so did you keep doing it, but just kind of like closeted, like at global gyms or At home?

Claire Bays (03:24):

I went to a Gold’s Express by myself

Sevan Matossian (03:26):

And, and then just tried and just tried it out. Just looked at the videos and tried the shit out? No,

Claire Bays (03:30):

No, no. I just, I had no idea what I was doing. I would like hang out on a treadmill and then maybe I’d go over into a squat rack and not squat. Right. And yeah, it wasn’t until I, I got desperate enough and went back to the CrossFit gym, and then they spent some years trying to help me figure out movement patterns and that was a journey.

Sevan Matossian (03:44):

And, and which one was that? Which gym was your first gym?

Claire Bays (03:47):

Coda CrossFit.

Sevan Matossian (03:48):


Claire Bays (03:49):

Oklahoma. Yeah. There’s six different Coda affiliates. Shout out Bryce.

Sevan Matossian (03:52):

Oh, that’s, is that home for you Oklahoma?

Claire Bays (03:54):

Oc I live in Austin, Texas now, but I am from Oklahoma. Yeah. Oh,

Sevan Matossian (03:58):

Cool. Yeah. What did I just hear about Oklahoma? Something there? Is that where the Open

Brian Friend (04:02):

Is? How many times have you ever been to the Red River Shootout?

Claire Bays (04:05):

Oh, many, many times. Yeah. We don’t have a lot going on, so that’s a big moment for us.

Sevan Matossian (04:10):

What is that? Is that a bar? <laugh>

Claire Bays (04:12):

<laugh>? No, but I would’ve been there too. <laugh>.

Brian Friend (04:14):

It’s a, it’s an annual, uh, college football game between University of Texas and University of Oklahoma. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (04:20):

Is um, is, is that where the open is? Uh, this is, it’s in Oklahoma, this 23.

Brian Friend (04:25):

It’s in Oklahoma. I mean,

Claire Bays (04:26):

It might as well be

Sevan Matossian (04:27):

Oklahoma. Oh, right, right, right. I know it was an o Someone was, I know it was some kind of o um, this is, uh, trolling the Leaderboard. This is a, um, uh, show, uh, thought that Brian and I, um, played around with back in 1987. And then are we, we, our paths, uh, separated and then, uh, earlier in the year, this year, I’m

Brian Friend (04:49):

Surprised you remember my, my year of birth. Seven. Very good.

Sevan Matossian (04:51):

He, he’s, is that really the year you were born? It is <laugh>. Uh, and then, um, and then Brian br and then Brian this year was like, Hey dude, we should, we should just, I mean, we knew we were gonna do some shows covering the Open. He’s like, let’s do a trolling the Leaderboard show. And I was like, that’s a cool idea. So here we are, uh, JR Howell, um, a new friend also not as new as you, Claire, you’re really new, like, like minutes, just you’re still in the, uh, seedling stage. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, gestation, maybe even. Uh, I would say that, uh, JR and I are more than the, uh, infant stage. We’re about to get outta diapers.

Claire Bays (05:25):


Sevan Matossian (05:26):

Yeah. And Caleb and I don’t have a long friendship either, but we’ve really, we’re, we’ve like, done ecstasy together. Like we’ve spent so much time together, we expedited our relationship. You know, with M D M A, you can do 10 years of relationship in one evening, <laugh>, if you use it, if you use a therapeutic dose

Claire Bays (05:41):

<laugh>. Should we walk down that journey or

Sevan Matossian (05:43):

No, no, no. We’re stick to the, stick to the games here. Okay. Um, so 23, uh, 0.2. Um, do we, do we wanna, uh, I know, um, it’s kind of interesting. I know there’s this tug of war here. Uh, Brian called me earlier and is like, Hey dude, I’d like to like give the athletes a lot of attention. And I know there’s been some hiccups here and there, but last week we spent 45 minutes on the hiccups, and I’d like to spend a little more time on the, um, athletes than the hiccups. And, and I’m, I’m totally, uh, fine with that. Um, and I, the, the main hiccup that happened in the last 24 hours is kind of like a, a nothing to me. Just basically the, the, the thing that happened with, uh, Sasha Nevas is basically she

Brian Friend (06:22):

Just had, are you using nothing as an adjective or a noun in here?

Sevan Matossian (06:24):

Like a nothing burger <laugh>. Um, it’s a nothing burger to me. Ba I mean, basically she just had her shit, um, uploaded and her video was cut, like, for whatever fucking reason, and she uploaded. And so people were like, Hey, she’s a cheater. And then everyone’s like, wait a second. That’s a, that’s a GoPro setting that obviously she’s not aware of and probably shouldn’t be aware of, so. Well, now everyone’s aware of it. Right.

Brian Friend (06:48):

Yeah. I mean, that was resolved between, uh, proven who she’s competing with this year and CrossFit their ath, you know, athlete relations team. Andrew brought some attention to it publicly, and because of that, it actually helped, uh, facilitate the solution to that problem. But from everything that I’ve been able to see, no, no foul play there at all. Um, just a unfortunate mistake. And yeah, hopefully everyone can learn from it in fewer people. Make that mistake next time.

Sevan Matossian (07:15):

And then, and then I do think that there have been, uh, several, there are several other errors, uh, that we’ve seen in terms of the leaderboard or posts that have gone up on CrossFit games, Instagram with the wrong reps mentioned. Um, but we’ll maybe we’ll, uh, leave that for the end if we’re desperate and we’ll just dig right in on performances if you want.

Brian Friend (07:34):

Uh, I mean, I’ll just say that, um, even in some of the stuff that we’re gonna talk about tonight, while we’re trying to highlight the athletes, it’s a, you know, a as everyone knows, it’s a massive job to administer this competition. It’s hu you know, hundreds of thousand people worldwide. There are dozens and dozens of divisions, but there are some, you know, if you’re looking at the leaderboard and everyone has a different interest within the leaderboard, there are still very blatantly inaccurate scores from the first week and a ton of inaccurate scores in the second week. Obviously we hope that those will be cleaned up, but we have to give CrossFit time to, to adequately do that. Um, I think so, you know. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (08:12):

Well, since you’ve opened that, that window and shouldn’t the, shouldn’t the scores be accurate from week one already?

Brian Friend (08:18):

I would say yes. In the case of, you know, scores that are leading their division worldwide, like that at the very least should be, uh, have taken care of for

Sevan Matossian (08:25):

All the divisions, short stature masters. Like, hey, get the, get the, yeah. Get the first page. Correct.

Brian Friend (08:31):

Yeah. And there are a couple that are still outstanding, not correct, which is yeah. Is disappointing. You would think that at least they could get those things right. And what I, one of the things I tried to do last week and we’ll do today, is to pick at least the winner or the perceived winner of every workout in every division and give them a little bit of credit or attention. But when it’s, you know, the, it just, in doing an hour of research of preparation for that, I was able to very quickly see which of the scores were most likely not, um, valid scores. And so, we’ll, we’ll acknowledge that when we’re talking about it. And I even color coordinated them so cross, I can copy my homework and get to work on it.

Sevan Matossian (09:08):

Yeah, you did, you did an amazing job. I hope my pieces of paper, um, I hope all my pieces of paper come through, uh, soon. Uh, I, I think we should start jr do you wanna open with anything? Uh, and, and you look like you’re hard pressed to say something.

JR Howell (09:22):

No, no, no. I think, uh, I think, uh, 23.2 was definitely something that none of us really saw coming two A or two B, um, and the movements that were chosen, and then obviously to do a max lift at the end. And I think for the most part, at least I know my community had a, had a blast with it. Most people redid it. I think some may should have, some may should have not. Um, but yeah, it was, uh, I mean, it was a fun time.

Sevan Matossian (09:47):

Oh, what, what, what do you mean by that? Uh, you, you, some people what, what, what bad could happen? What, what, um, no good could happen from redoing it?

JR Howell (09:56):

Well, in a workout as simple as 23.2 A, it’s really easy to say, oh, I’m just gonna do my burpees a little bit faster, or I’m just gonna run a little bit faster and I’m just gonna run a little bit slower. But what people have to realize when they’re gonna redo any workout is that however much they hurt during the workout the first time, they’re gonna have to hurt more to get more reps. And that’s a lot easier to say you’re gonna do than to actually do. And then in a workout that has two scores, you may get four or five more reps and then do five or six less pounds on the lift, and then you’re stuck trying to figure out which score to take. And sometimes it’s not even that big of a difference. Oh,

Brian Friend (10:33):

The answer is to take the heavier lift.

Sevan Matossian (10:35):

Um, do, do you, um, Claire, are you familiar with Andrew Hiller? He comes on the show sometimes.

Claire Bays (10:39):

Yeah, yeah,

Sevan Matossian (10:40):

Definitely familiar. And, and you guys all saw, he put out that video where he’s, um, I, I didn’t see the video, but I’ve seen a lot of chatter about it. I, I wish I would’ve watched it where he, he walks the shuttle runs and, and then recommends that to, uh, improve people’s scores and then people redid it. I, the two people I know who did it are, uh,

Brian Friend (11:00):

I redid it savan,

Sevan Matossian (11:01):

I walked Yeah, I know you, I, I saw you redid it and your score improved and moved you up like 3000 places according to Mike Halpin. And then Sarah Cox from California Hormones redid it. And I think it improved her by, uh, several reps. Uh, thought, did you read, did you see that? Claire? What do you think about that? The walking, the gaming of it?

Claire Bays (11:18):

I honestly, I think it’s fun. I mean, it’s like athe athlete iq, like, I think it’s fun. I think all these workouts have so far have just been like really cool to be able to retest without much repercussion, like on the body so far. So, uh, I think it’s entertaining. I didn’t think to walk it.

Brian Friend (11:36):

That’s actually a good point. You know, some of the CrossFit workouts historically, if you wanna redo ’em, I mean, you’re really gonna be paying for it. These ones are pretty approachable in terms of a redo.

Sevan Matossian (11:45):

Absolutely. Uh, now I know why Claire’s here, she brings up the term Athlete iq. We’ll be stealing that <laugh>. Um, and, uh, what is, what do you think about that, JR? That’s a great, uh, concept wear and tear. Like, do you agree with her that both of these are like, Hey, um, for, for the guy, for, for most athletes, um, in their prime, this, this isn’t one that, um, is gonna hurt you. It’s, it’s not like, let, let me throw something out there. It’s not like high up deadlifts, right? Or, or, or heavy deadlifts where it’s like, shit, you better not redo that.

JR Howell (12:12):

Yeah, for sure. And what’s ironic about that is that we’re at the point now where the highest level athletes know they’re gonna move on to the next stage. So there’s really not any reason to redo. Whereas back in the day when you had to finish top 30 or 40 to make a regional, or even in 2019 where they took automatic qualifiers from the open to the games, you may have to redo a workout that had 200 squat repetitions or 150 light hinge repetitions or 600 double unders, and you’re doing that two and three times in like 72 hours. So yeah, I mean the, the wear and tear now for athletes that are maybe just trying to get into that next stage of quarter finals, you know, she’s right. It’s not gonna beat you up as much.

Sevan Matossian (12:53):

Hey, and, and what do you think about this idea? I, you know, I, I’m, I watch the UFC a lot and I do talk about that fighter IQ and this idea that, uh, Claire just brought up the Claire Bayes, we, we should have that, the Claire Bay’s, uh, uh, athlete iq. Um, it’s true, right? I mean, those are, those are the things that we, we always hear. Um, that, that, that might be the way to describe, uh, what’s the champ’s name? Uh, Mr. Maderas, uh, Justin Madera’s name. Like, people are always talking about, oh, he doesn’t make errors. Maybe this is the, the term. She’s finally put a concept to it. He, he has a high fighter iq, high athlete iq.

Brian Friend (13:27):

I love it.

Sevan Matossian (13:28):

Yeah, I love it too. Good job, Claire. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like mine went down year, so I’ll say that again. Say that again. That’s what I feel like mine went down this year. <laugh> with my room. Well, you, yeah, you, you just changed the vernacular. We’ll see if a real media picks it up and then we can squeeze it in there next to nothing burger. Uh, okay. What about, um, uh, going back, are there any notable athletes that had to redo it, like with an upload error? Have we had any errors so far in, in the first two workouts where, um, you and we like, um, like some, like someone, uh, double dipped on that, on the thruster and they had to redo it? Or have we have, do we have any issues like that that we’ve seen so far in, in the, in the first two weeks?

Brian Friend (14:11):

I don’t, I don’t think there’s been anything publicly about that. I’m sure there are. I mean, I know that a lot of the top athletes, they’ll do the workout early, they’ll watch it back and they’ll make sure that everything is good to go, especially if they’re in contention to potentially win one of the workouts cuz there’s a little bit of money on the line. And those would be heavily scrutinized, but nothing public, nothing problematic in that regard. There are, there are two other things that I would like to just mention please before we start looking at the athletes. One of ’em that you brought up already, I don’t wanna spend a ton of time on it, but I think it’s, it’s good to just get it out there a little bit because it addresses a bigger issue. And last year during the open for the first time, the owner of the gym that I work at and I both kind of agreed that with the new standard for the burpee that was introduced, it was the first time in the history of doing the open for us, which we’ve done 20 combined opens that we weren’t really sure what the standard was and we weren’t really sure if we were following it.


And it was difficult to coach it to people at the gym. And everyone’s asking, is this okay? Is this okay? And I just have this echo in my mind now of Becky Harsh saying, you know what a thruster is, you know what a burpee is. And I just, I think that it would be practical to have specialty movements that are so common like that just have a document that comes out every September 1st and says, for the next 12 months, this is the standard and the burpee standard is unchanged and the thruster standard is unchanged and the Pullup standard is unchanged. We’re introducing a new movement this year, Kell swing, and it’ll be labeled new movement, just like on the rule book when there’s something new, it’s labeled there. That way, when we come to competitions like this, we don’t have to spend time trying to reeducate the people on our gyms or reeducate the world about what a burpee is. Now everyone should know what that is so that we can do the workouts, we can do them well, we can have fun and we can celebrate the community instead of focusing on all these little nuances that change overnight. And then everyone has to scramble and try to figure out how to accommodate it.

Sevan Matossian (16:02):

Uh, uh, oh, sorry. Uh, wrong, wrong. Uh, Tammy, uh, Balo gun, uh, Claire, uh, is she the diversity ad? Uh, some may say some that, that is the rumor. Uh, br Brian, that would be very communal. That thought you had, you know, that the what I like I like that because that wraps up the community with the sport like that, that that’s a nice, well, here’s the thing, integration between like what’s going on in the affiliates and then what’s going on at the CrossFit games.

Brian Friend (16:27):

Yeah, yeah, for sure. And the other thing is that I’m honestly, I’m sick of hearing CrossFit has a small team. We know you have a small team, so make decisions like that, that make it easy on your team. Don’t introduce a brand new standard to a competition that has 320,000 participants. You’re asking for a headache. So I think that that would be a really simple thing that we could do that would alleviate a lot of these frankly, unnecessary conversations and concerns when this time of year comes around.

Sevan Matossian (16:55):

I, I would also like to add this, I think what you could say, we’re in the Adrian Bosman era and the Adrian Bosman era is gonna be, um, the common sense era and whether you like that or not. And, and, and I, I know that has some, uh, connotation, positive connotation on it, uh, um, and, and some slant. And Adrian is a, a dear friend of mine, but there it’s gonna, he’s gonna, you know, uh, the sandbag at the games, that was so bizarre to me that there weren’t a number of limited lifts you could do on the fucking sandbag. Yeah. When you’re done, you’re done. That was fucking weird. But that’s the Adrian Bosman era and it’s like, I, I think what they’re doing with the thruster is, Hey, was Venner trying to cheat? No. Was Jason Grub trying to cheat? No. Oh, so we’ll let it go. I think there, I think we’re gonna ha I think that’s the era we’re in and we can either accept it or fight it. Thoughts? Anyone? Good? <laugh> My favorite kind of, uh, people to work with, uh, Nicole, uh, g Gaza. Is this a, um, is this a, is this a real Gza <laugh>?

Brian Friend (17:56):

I don’t know, but is Nicole Gaza the athlete to watch, or was there supposed to be a name included on this message?

Sevan Matossian (18:01):

Uh, uh, for an athlete to watch, 14 to 15 year old girl scaled, she’s 13. Maybe a name to remember. I wonder if it is the Gaza’s, uh, younger sister.

Brian Friend (18:10):

Well, Alex Gaza is doing extremely well so far in the open this year, and if that is the case, then at least we know she has a good role model teaching her the

Sevan Matossian (18:18):

Ropes. Uh, that is a lot of money. I appreciate it. I will spend it wisely. There will be no sugar purchased or no, uh, will not go to any woke organizations. I promise. I I can promise you that. Okay. All right. Last

Brian Friend (18:30):

One. Um, last one before we get to the athletes Savan

Sevan Matossian (18:32):


Brian Friend (18:34):

And, um, we certainly, uh, uh, Caleb, you can pull it up if you want to, but, uh, today finally, I was able to publish this article that I’ve been talking about that is a historical study of the height of athletes relative to open performance since the inauguration of the opening in

Sevan Matossian (18:49):

Thousand. Oh, my favorite subject. This is good.

Brian Friend (18:52):

And I just, I

Sevan Matossian (18:53):

Just wanted check, how tall are you, Claire? How tall are you? Between 5 7, 5 8. How tall are you JR? I’m six foot. Oh, Brian, you’re five 10.

Brian Friend (19:01):

5, 9, 5, 10. Okay. And

Sevan Matossian (19:03):

You? I’m five five. I don’t really know. Last time I measured I was five. Five.

Brian Friend (19:08):


Sevan Matossian (19:09):

And I think I’m in that like era in my life where I could get shorter, especially with how much weight I’m lifting these days. I’m strong like a fucking bull. Mm. It’s like making me shorter.

Brian Friend (19:18):

You don’t spend time on that, uh, decompression table that Mr. Spin has in his throat.

Sevan Matossian (19:22):

No, that thing hurts me. I hung upside down. That hurts me. <laugh> start to spin, I get vertigo. I’m at that age

Brian Friend (19:28):

<laugh>. Anyway, I, I, uh, just wanted, there were uh, uh, several comments that were very similar in response to that article. Uh, we’re we’re not necessarily saying definitively one thing or another. All we’re suggesting is that we have data available to us. We’ve been doing this now for over a decade to open and we, this, this guy, mark Bomb sa did the re did the research. He was able to pull the top 2,500 athletes that completed every workout, male and female since 2011, and do what’s called a rank correlation study, charting their height versus their performance against those other 2,500 athletes. And then you can ha there’s a plot chart and if you go to the article and you’re actually interested in, in seeing which workouts favored is not, it’s, it’s objective, it’s just factual. Which workouts go a little lower than that Caleb, to the one that’s like orange or green?


Um, yeah. So the taller lines above the bar, uh, above the, uh, acc the horizontal axis there will be more favorable to the tall athletes. The lower ones are more favorable to short athletes. On the far left, you can see that one, that dips way down there, that’s 12 minutes of burpees. It’s the most statistically favorable to shorter demographic of athletes. If you go all the way to the right and look at the one that’s really tall and high, that’s 19.1. It’s rowing in wall balls and it’s the antithesis. It’s very favorable to taller athletes. That makes a lot of sense. When you look at, most of them are actually pretty close to the middle and, uh, and pretty well balanced. None of us are saying that it’s a problem to have rowing or wall balls in the open. No one’s saying it’s a problem to have burpees in the open or chest bar pull-ups or thrusters or these things that commonly favor one or the other.


What we’re saying is, if you are gonna have them, that you should, you should be conscious of the way that they impact the leaderboard. And so if you’re gonna have a workout like 23.2 A that has burpee pull-ups with a variable height pull-up bar, then you need to know from testing and from history that that’s gonna be favorable in general. Now, there’s certainly can be some exceptions and we’ll talk about some tonight, but it’s gonna be general, be favorable to the shorter athlete. Um, you might say, well, it offsets by the run, but the problem with the run is that you have to turn around so often that you don’t really get to stride it out that much. And every time you do, you have to bend down and touch the ground, which is also harder for the taller athletes. It’s a longer range of motion to cover.


So then when we first saw this workout last week, we thought, oh, well this is actually fine. Even if it is favorable for the body weight athlete, the shorter athlete or whatever, we have a heavy lift to offset it. And based on this study, historically, the heavy lifts are generally favorable for the taller athletes mass moves. Mass theory. I have been thinking this weekend, and I certainly open to being wrong about this, but there may not be a more favorable strength movement for a shorter athlete than the thruster. Wow. Cause that press out at the top is everything and every extra centimeter inch, et cetera that you have to press out a maximal load without, with no longer having the momentum from your lower body. I mean, you know the difference between holding a 25 pound plate here and holding it out in front of you, and if you’re pressing that overhead, it’s a similar example. So I think that overall this workout in isolation is gonna end up being a lot more skewed towards the shorter athletes, the combination of them than I thought originally. And so because of that, I’m just gonna wait and see what happens in 23.3 and if there was any thought to potentially counteract that,

Sevan Matossian (22:47):

I I would love to see the calculation for this, what he means by shorter and taller and how he did that. I keep trying to think how he did that and I, and I, and I can’t figure it out because they’re all relative to one another. When you say shorter and taller

Brian Friend (23:03):

Yeah. And there’s gonna be of 2,500 athletes. I mean, we can just, just talk about, man, we can assume that, you know, 99% of ’em are gonna be between five five and six three, you know, so there’s gonna be a, you know, hundreds of people at every one of those intervals. So it’s ma it’s not maybe not a perfect study. Um, some athletes don’t report their height, but it gives a general overview. And when you look more closely at the, the movements that are being, you know, commonly showing up in one or the other, it’s very logical.

Sevan Matossian (23:30):

Let, let, let me throw this out there. I would suggest that there’s a point where you can become so short that it actually hurts you that you don’t actually even fit in the short category. And I would argue that like Colton Merton’s is there or uh, or um, uh, what’s his name? Um,

Brian Friend (23:47):

Scott Telo, the worldwide winner of 23.2 a,

Sevan Matossian (23:50):

Uh, Telo or, uh, who, who’s the guy? Uh, what’s Ricky’s, uh, brother’s name? Benny. Benny Gerard. Benny Gerard. Yeah. Yeah, I would guess that, but I would guess on the tall end that’s not true. I’d guess a seven foot, I’d guess a seven foot dude. Tall dude would do fucking great on the row wall ball.

Brian Friend (24:06):

Do you have that video that I sent of the six eight guy?

Sevan Matossian (24:09):

Oh, is that what that is? Like I was trying to figure out that, who is that

Brian Friend (24:12):

Guy on Instagram messaged me and it was like his Instagram was like six eight CrossFitter and I was like, you’re six eight. He’s like, yeah, this is him standing at the highest pull-up bar in his gym before, uh, the open before they changed the pulp bar height for him. His, I mean, look, that’s ridiculous.

Sevan Matossian (24:28):

Yeah, that is ridiculous.

Brian Friend (24:29):

And then they, they were able to, they of course had to take everything apart and move it up to the highest rung and he was then able to clear it by an inch.

Sevan Matossian (24:36):

I’d like to see how that guy moves. Six eight. That’s a lot of dude.

Brian Friend (24:39):

But if you think back to the chaos workout at the games in 2018, they had that red strip across the, the North Park field and we have a amazing visual, just coincidentally that Fraser and Kowski were in lanes next to each other and Falkowski doesn’t even have to jump. He just waves his hand and touches the banner. And Fraser has to do a pretty significant jump to get up there and touch it. But they’re doing the burpees that basically the same rate because just as much of an advantage as Brent has of touching that strip, Fraser can get off and up and down the ground faster because he’s six eight inches shorter than him. And you know, it was just a thought that I had this weekend. What if they just standardized the pull-up bar height and they said all the men have to do a 90 inch pull-up bar height for this workout. Suddenly all of this conversation is probably irrelevant.

Sevan Matossian (25:25):

Oh. Um, oh, and what about, um, what about that box that Merton’s had to get over at the games he had to like, take a step back and like w w do you remember that, that he

JR Howell (25:35):

That’s the thing though. Like by nature there are gonna be movements in CrossFit that are more favorable to taller athletes. Very few, but some, and then juxtapose, there’s gonna be most movements that are more favorable to short

Sevan Matossian (25:46):

Athletes. I, I guess what I’m saying, there’s a point where you can become so short that you’re really fucked. I guess it’s true tall too. I guess it’s true

JR Howell (25:53):

Tall too. But you know, to Brian’s point about a standardized pull-up bar height, you know, let’s come back to that for a second because I think it’s something that people miss in the open. This was perfect for a standard cuz most people have a bar or multiple bars at their gym that they always use for pull-ups. You’re usually not gonna pick a pull-up bar that you can stand flatfooted and grab. You’re gonna pick one or you’re gonna have one in your garage if you have a home gym that’s just out of your reach. So it was, it, it was perfect and sure there’s some instances where you may have a gym owner that will move one a little bit higher or a little bit lower for you if you’re kind of an outlier. But for those that think something like this can be done in an in-person competition, I’ll push back on that.


Whenever they’ve, whenever they did 30, 30 burpee ring muscle ups for time at regionals, they did not go out there and adjust rings. Remember there are fixed heights for pull-up bars and for rings when you get it to in-person competitions. If you start to adjust, just like in the open, if they would’ve said, Hey, you can either use a 93 inch bar or you can use an 88 inch bar if you’re shorter, you have to, you ha you just have to jump higher. If you’re taller, you just get to stand up and do a half pull up. For those of you that don’t like that, that would be like me saying, here’s a 15 foot rope, Brian, you only have to go to 14 eight Jr. You have to go to 15 feet, Claire, you have to go to 15, uh, to 14 two. It wouldn’t make any sense. It would be just like, extend your arms over your head, Brent, you have to go 11 and a half foot wall ball. Colton, you get to go to nine and a half. No, there are just some movements that by nature we don’t mess with. They’re just more favorable to different body types. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (27:29):

So you’re in favor of that. Just you take it the, the way they do it at the games, hey, like, or or the semi-finals. Weren’t there two heights? You get to choose one or the other.

JR Howell (27:37):

You have to, yeah. Because if you, if you start adjusting one thing, you have to adjust everything. But for the open, this was, uh, do saying that <laugh>, you just have to use one, one pull up bar height if you’re a male and then one, if you’re a female, it’s, uh, it’s a lot easier. I, I’m sorry. It’s a lot harder to do that than to put two tape lines on the ground and say, hey, 55 inches is wall walks for females, 60 inches is wall walks for males. So much easier.

Sevan Matossian (28:03):

Uh, the owner of the CrossFit gym I go to is a giant cheat. Okay. Uh, does he does or she does? They do. It does open workouts and secrecy away from all other gym members comes up with ridiculous scores. Oh, that he, of course it’s a dude that he is 100% incapable of doing and then he validates his own fake score. God, I wish this money was coming from Brazil. I so don’t want this to be in the United States. This is bullshit

JR Howell (28:32):


Sevan Matossian (28:34):

You guys hear any of this? You see any, you see, you guys see any cheaters out there? Claire? You see any cheaters out there?

Claire Bays (28:39):

Uh, I mean I think like the level of integrity in the sport across, that’s like usually behind, I mean, people in this realm have a good bit more of it, but I do think that like year over year, the, like even just, I don’t know, the floor plans and so on, like, it’s kind of, I don’t know that I feel like all CrossFit coaches and gym owners are maybe as strict as they maybe have been in the past with all of the standards. Especially whenever things are going on with the standards. Like that whole top down effect. Like I I, I don’t know if I’m just feeling that and that’s like an inaccurate feeling or if that’s real that some are maybe not, um, taking it as seriously when it comes to the standards because of the lack of communication and stuff.

Sevan Matossian (29:21):

I think, I think there’s a difference though between taking it, not taking it seriously and um, uh, like cheating like that year that they had some crazy handstand pushup thing on the wall and you had to find the hype. I just ignored that. I was like, look, if I’m, my elbows are fu I’m not trying to cheat. If my elbows are locked out, I’m giving myself the fucking rep heels against the wall. That’s enough for me. Like there becomes a point, right? There’s cheating. A lot of cheating, Brian.

Brian Friend (29:46):

I mean, yeah, there are, there are people out there that will look for every edge and every shortcut. And that’s the that’s the argument in favor of CrossFit with all the standards and, and nuances that they write in there, is that they’re trying to account for that. And it is sad that they have to, uh,

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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