Over the last two years, CrossFit’s adaptive divisions have contributed to the growth of the Sport of Fitness, showcasing the efficacy of the CrossFit methodology and motivating others around the world to find an affiliate and start their own fitness journey.
We’ve made some important updates to the adaptive competition season based on feedback from last year. Thank you to all who shared their thoughts. Read on to learn what has changed for the 2023 season and eligibility requirements. Check out the 2023 Rulebook for more information.
“We’re extremely proud of the progress CrossFit has made every year to improve the eligibility standards and process for the adaptive divisions,” Accessibility and Adaptive Sport Specialist Alec Zirkenbach said. “With two years of data collection and feedback from the community and the Adaptive Divisional Athlete Committee, this year’s updates put CrossFit’s classification system on par with any other adaptive or Paralympic sport.”
CrossFit aims to continue to grow the opportunities for adaptive athletes to compete in the CrossFit Games season, and everyone in our community can help. Athletes, coaches, and affiliate owners, support the growth of the adaptive population at your gym and encourage Open registration so we can bring the magic of CrossFit to more people.
Casey Acree (left) and Xabier Osa Mendes (right) | Photo by Johany Jutras
Looking Ahead to 2024
We have been working hard to update the eligibility standards for our adaptive divisions for this season, and we are excited to announce that in 2024, we will be inviting all adaptive divisions to compete at the CrossFit Games Finals, as long as the divisions have enough participation to allow for a competitive field.
An Overview of the 2023 Season
- A new Adaptive Athlete Policy has been outlined in the 2023 Rulebook and Open registration is now live.
- Eligibility standards have been updated based on community feedback and observations and data collected during the last two seasons. Members of the Adaptive Competition Eligibility Board (ACEB) observed and assessed athlete performance in the adaptive divisions during the Open, Semifinals, and 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games to help shape the changes implemented for the 2023 season. The ACEB also performed hands-on assessments for all 2022 Games athletes and observed that some eligible impairments did not present consistently or have a significant impact on the athlete’s ability to compete in CrossFit. Therefore, in 2023, all eligible impairments have been updated to include measurable minimum impairment criteria and verification standards designed to ensure athletes with similar abilities are grouped into appropriate divisions. This means some athletes who were eligible for competition in 2021 and 2022 will not be eligible for the adaptive divisions in 2023. Those athletes are encouraged to register as individual, team, or age-group competitors.
- The name of the Neuromuscular division will change to "Multi Extremity," aligning with our current naming conventions for the Upper Extremity and Lower Extremity divisions. The Multi Extremity division will retain the same eligible impairments, but the name is changing to eliminate confusion since the previous name was based on the origin of the impairment. Also, many neuro and neuromuscular athletes compete in other divisions, such as Upper and Lower Extremity (i.e., those with single-limb neuro impairments). The name change better suits the abilities of the athletes represented in the division.
- 2023 will have the same eight adaptive divisions, with the exception of the name change from Neuromuscular to Multi Extremity.
- New in the Open this year, adaptive athletes will be able to modify Open workouts to best fit their ability and fitness levels.
Ole Kristian Antonsen | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler
Eligibility for 2023
The Adaptive Athlete Policy: The Adaptive Athlete Policy (AAP) is the document that governs eligibility for the adaptive divisions. The updated 2023 AAP includes the details for eligibility and the process to be vetted for competitions in the adaptive division. The AAP was released on Nov. 15, and has since been updated with links to a number of medical testing forms.
Updated Eligibility Form: All athletes must submit an Adaptive Competition Eligibility Form (ACEF) along with video or photo evidence of their impairment.
Adaptive CrossFit Movement Assessment: The ACMA is a fitness test that demonstrates the athlete’s abilities in relation to common CrossFit movements performed during competition, and assists in demonstrating limitations from an eligible impairment. There are two versions of the assessment: one for standing athletes and one for seated athletes. The assessment can be completed at any time, at any gym with the required equipment. The only requirement for submission is a video recording link of the assessment. No scores are submitted.
Medical testing is required for most impairments. Each impairment has a unique required medical test. There are additional requirements along with the medical testing. Athletes will need to complete the following:
1. Print their specific medical testing form.
2. Have a medical professional perform the testing and fill out the form.
3. Video record the testing and provide a recording link.
4. Upload a scanned copy of the form.
This process may take some time and effort; please plan ahead. Most athletes will not need to reclassify annually, so for most, this is a one-time process. A detailed checklist has been provided for each of the following impairments. View the medical forms below.
Classification of Every Adaptive Athlete Will Be Reviewed by CrossFit: CrossFit will assess eligibility and provide a classification for every athlete who signs up to compete in an adaptive division.
Results Published: CrossFit will record an athlete’s classification and provide a published list. This allows other athletes to know the status of their competitors and for CrossFit-licensed events to utilize the same eligibility system.
A Diagnosis Is Not Sufficient: For most eligible impairments, medical diagnosis of an eligible impairment is not sufficient to qualify for competition. Athletes must meet the minimum impairment criteria, which have been updated to include observable and measurable criteria. The only exception is for a diagnosis of Down syndrome for the Intellectual division.
Impairments Must Be Present Consistently: An athlete's eligibility will be evaluated during the classification assessment and throughout an athlete’s participation in CrossFit competition. Impairments that are not present consistently through all stages of classification and competition are not eligible.
Open Workout Videos Required: All athletes will be required to submit Open workout videos as part of the observation process. CrossFit will use workout videos to confirm the data submitted via the ACEF.
Eligibility Process: Eligibility classification begins with the submission of the ACEF. Athletes may submit their ACEF prior to or after registering for the Open. Classification will conclude after the close of the Open, with a deadline of Monday, March 6, 2023, 5 p.m. PT. All athletes receive their final classification determination after a thorough review of Open workout video submissions.
- Dec. 1, 2022: ACEF classification portal opens.
- Feb. 16, 2023: The Open begins (23.1 is announced).
- March 6, 2023 (5 p.m. PT): Deadline to submit ACEF.
- March 10, 2023: Deadline for CrossFit to provide classification ruling.
Anne-laure Coutenceau | Photo by Adam Bow
- Athletes may perform workouts Rx'd or scaled.
- Athletes may adapt and scale as needed to best replicate the stimulus of the workout in accordance with their ability and fitness level. Athletes submitting a scaled score do not need to submit a modification request. CrossFit will not provide specific, scaled versions of the adaptive division workouts.
- Athletes performing workouts Rx’d may still request movement modifications. These modifications are only permitted in cases where the athlete's impairment causes clear and distinguishable limitations that do not allow the athlete to perform the range of motion requirements detailed in the movement standards.
- At the close of the Open, five divisions — Vision, Intellectual, Seated With Hip Function, Seated Without Hip Function, and Short Stature — will crown their fittest. Drug testing will be conducted during this stage, and prize money will be awarded to podium finishers. Three divisions — Multi Extremity, Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity — will send their top five men and women to the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games.
Amy Bream | Photo by Johany Jutras
The top athletes from the Multi Extremity, Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity divisions will qualify for the 2023 Games out of the Open. The remaining five divisions will crown their fittest based on the results of the Open.
The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games
- The same three divisions from the 2022 Games will compete at the 2023 Games — Multi Extremity (previously Neuromuscular), Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity.
- Five men and five women from each of the three divisions will qualify for the Games.
- Podium finishers from the five divisions that completed the season at the end of the Open will be invited to a podium ceremony at the 2023 Games in Madison, Wisconsin, similar to 2022.
For more information on the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games season, click HERE.