March 1, 2016
16.1 Workout Analysis and Breakdown
By Jonathan Kinnick of Beyond the Whiteboard
This is one of the longest Open workouts we have seen to date, and it felt like some evil Cindy variant.
This is one of the longest Open workouts we have seen to date, and it felt like some evil Cindy variant.

Week 1 of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Open has come to a close. Workout 16.1 demanded 20 minutes of overhead walking lunges, bar-facing burpees, and chest-to-bar pull-ups.

This is one of the longest Open workouts we’ve seen to date, and it felt like some evil Cindy variant. For the top athletes, they were never near muscle failure on any movement, and it was simply a matter of engine capacity and managing their work-rate.

We saw a lot of athletes underestimate the metabolic demands of the first few rounds and go out way too hot. This resulted in a miserable final 10 minutes for too many athletes. The key to this workout was finding a consistent maintainable pace and fighting to hold it for as long as possible.

The workout put a lot of demands on the shoulder, and many athletes with a weakness overhead had to struggle and suffer through the lunges. Not that the legs got off easy either, as hundreds of thousands of sore glutes and quads can attest.

Community Participation

There were a total of 294,946 scores submitted for 16.1 and here is how these were distributed by division. Of the total competitors, 75 percent were in the Individual divisions, with 22 percent in the Masters and just over 2 percent in the Teenage divisions. About three-quarters of the Masters athletes are in one of the under-50 divisions.

16.1 Workout Analysis

The pull-ups were a huge deciding factor when it came to choosing whether to go as Rx’d on 16.1. This ended up being a big factor for all of the Women’s divisions, as well as the older Masters Men’s divisions. For Individual Men, 84 percent performed the workout as Rx’d, compared to 52 percent of the Individual Women.

As you can see in the score distributions below, there is a big spike in the first round for Rx’d Women. This is because there were 2,491 women who did the first 18 reps of the workout, but were unable to complete a single chest-to-bar pull-up. A score of 18 reps had more than double the number of ties than any other score (6 full rounds being the next most common). To give that number context, 46,299 women decided to scale 16.1 rather than stop at 18 reps. This means that of the 48,790 women without chest-to-bar pull-ups (bearing in mind that the lunges could have been a factor for some women as well) only 5 percent decided to play the competitive strategy and take 18 reps in the Rx’d division.

Otherwise, there was a very smooth distribution of scores with not a lot of bottlenecks.

The Men’s athletes outperformed the Women’s athletes by an average of 15 reps across the board, which can be primarily attributed to the difficulty of chest-to-bar pull-ups. It took at least 278 reps (8 pull-ups shy of 11 rounds) to place in the 99th percentile for the Men’s athletes, while 269 (four burpees into the 11th round) was enough to get there for the Women’s.

For a percentile breakdown of every division, check out the full percentile table and percentile PDF.

It’s interesting to take a look at where the athletes finished on this workout. On the Men’s side, the most common section to finish on was the burpees, with 35 percent of men ending there. For the Women’s side, the most common section to finish on was the pull-ups, also at 35 percent. This could also be due to the difficulty of that volume of chest-to-bar pull-ups for many women, especially those who got some of their first chest-to-bar pull-ups on this workout.

In the final graphic, you can see that an inordinate amount of athletes (37 percent) finished the workout having completed all the reps on their last movement. If it were completely random, we would expect around 15 percent of athletes to end their workout this way. This may provide us with some insight into the psyche of a CrossFit athlete, and the desire to race to finish out a section before their time runs out. The top 9 most common finishing spots for Men’s athletes were at whole- or half-round points. The same is true for 7 of the top 8 for Women’s athletes (the exception being 18 reps, as mentioned previously).

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