What predicts your performance in the Crossfit open?

Among a batch of reports studying the Crossfit method, you’ll find “physiological Predictors of Competition Performance athletes” by Martinez-Gomez et al worth a read ( or a quick skim).

In reality any attempt to predict an athletes performance in a specific wod is always a bit speculative as different wod’s can have massively different outputs and can focus on specific “modal domains”that can bring specialists to their knees. Wod’s can be as wide ranging as “run 5k” or “deadlift 1,1,1,1,1,1,1”.

Nevertheless this study took the 5 wods of the Crossfit Open in 2019 and evaluated the performance of 15 athletes who were also assessed against various laboratory tests: incremental load test for deep full squat and bench press; squat, countermovement and drop jump tests; and incremental running and Wingate tests. It would be a fairly safe bet to say that the athlete who scores high on all of these tests would also score highly in the Wod’s.

In 2019 the “open” wods were

19.1 Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of

  • 19 wall-ball shots
  • 19-cal. row

19.2 Beginning on an 8-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:

  • 25 toes-to-bars
  • 50 double-unders
  • 15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb.
  • 25 toes-to-bars
  • 50 double-unders
  • 13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb.

If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:

  • 25 toes-to-bars
  • 50 double-unders
  • 11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb.

If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:

  • 25 toes-to-bars
  • 50 double-unders
  • 9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb.

If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:

  • 25 toes-to-bars
  • 50 double-unders
  • 7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb.

19.3 For time:

  • 200-ft. dumbbell overhead lunge
  • 50 dumbbell box step-ups
  • 50 strict handstand push-ups
  • 200-ft. handstand walk

Men 50-lb. dumbbell / 24-in. box
Women 35-lb. dumbbell / 20-in. box


For total time:

3 rounds of:

  • 10 snatches
  • 12 bar-facing burpees

Rest 3 minutes

Then, 3 rounds of:

  • 10 bar muscle-ups
  • 12 bar-facing burpees

Men 95 lb.
Women 65 lb.


33-27-21-15-9 reps for time of:

  • Thrusters
  • Chest-to-bar pull-ups

Men 95 lb.
Women 65 lb.

“CrossFit performance (i.e., final ranking considering the sum of all WODs, as assessed by number of repetitions, time spent in exercises or weight lifted) was significantly related to jump ability, mean and peak power output during the Wingate test, relative maximum strength for the deep full squat and the bench press, and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) and speed during the incremental test”. However the relationship varied depending on the wod analysed. No surprise there.

However, the authors by using “multiple linear regression analysis” suggest that the two crucial factors were lower body muscular power (especially jump ability) and VO2 max.

You can do your own VO2 max here

Leave a Reply