The Sport of Fitness — What Is This?

May 27, 2022


A quick guide to the CrossFit Games for new fans. 

Competitiveness is one key quality of CrossFit. For some, it means beating a previous personal best or finishing a workout before a friend at a CrossFit affiliate. But for others, it means pushing the human body to its limits and competing against athletes around the world to determine who is the Fittest on Earth. Regardless of athletic ability, CrossFit has something for everyone, from getting in shape and making new friends to providing a competitive outlet for athletes. 

The annual CrossFit Games season includes several stages of competition that seek to find athletes who are well-rounded in all aspects of CrossFit: strength, gymnastics, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, and more. The CrossFit Games finals are the ultimate test of fitness. 

There are four stages of competition to determine the fittest man, woman, and team on Earth: the Open, the Quarterfinals, the Semifinals, and the CrossFit Games finals. (Watch Video

Currently, athletes are competing in the second stage — the Quarterfinals. The top 10% of the world’s athletes and the top 25% of teams from the Open advance to the virtual Quarterfinals to vie for a ticket to the Semifinal stage. From there, the fittest athletes and teams from each Semifinal will advance to the CrossFit Games finals in Madison, Wisconsin, in August. Athletes who qualify for the CrossFit Games represent the top CrossFit athletes in the world and make up less than 1% of those who participate in CrossFit.  

2022 Torian Pro

2022 Torian Pro Semifinal | Photo by @benywatson

The Divisions

The CrossFit Games include several divisions to allow athletes of all ages and abilities to compete. 


​​The individual division is typically composed of athletes ranging from 18-34 years of age, but any athlete above the age of 14 can qualify for the division. Those who qualify for this division and make it to the final stage are typically professional athletes who dedicate most of their time to training for the sport. 


The team division is a great representation of the CrossFit affiliates around the world. Teams consist of two male and two female athletes who train in the same affiliate. 

The team competition is called the Affiliate Cup and seeks to find the fittest affiliate on Earth. Learn more by reading, "Let's Talk Teams."


The age-group divisions include teen and masters athletes. There are currently 18 age-group divisions: 

Boys and Girls 14-15

Boys and Girls 16-17

Men and Women 35-39

Men and Women 40-44

Men and Women 45-49

Men and Women 50-54

Men and Women 55-59

Men and Women 60-64

Men and Women 65+ 


The adaptive divisions were introduced to the CrossFit Games during the 2021 season and provide adaptive athletes a chance to compete against athletes with similar disabilities.

There are 16 adaptive divisions:

Men and Women Upper Extremity

Men and Women Lower Extremity

Men and Women Neuromuscular

Men and Women Vision

Men and Women Seated Athletes With Hip Function

Men and Women Seated Athletes Without Hip Function

Men and Women Short Stature

Men and Women Intellectual

Learn more about the 2023 adaptive division here

Anne-Laure Coutenceau at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games

Anne-Laure Coutenceau at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler

The Stages of the CrossFit Games Season

The Open

All CrossFit athletes of all athletic abilities can participate in the first stage of the CrossFit Games season. The worldwide Open brings together the entire community to test, retest, and ultimately celebrate their fitness. For those athletes hoping to advance further into the CrossFit Games season, the Open is a qualifying stage for the Quarterfinals. 

For the adaptive division, the top athletes in the Vision, Intellectual, Seated With Hip Function, Seated Without Hip Function, and Short Stature Divisions crown their fittest straight out of the Open. The Neuromuscular, Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity divisions will send their top five athletes to compete in the finals in Madison, where their fittest will be crowned. 


CrossFit Open

The Crossfit Open | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler

The Quarterfinals

The CrossFit Games Quarterfinals are online competitions designed to test the top athletes from the Open.

The top 10% of individuals and the top 25% of teams from the Open compete in a series of advanced workouts over the course of one weekend against other athletes and teams within their region: North America, Europe, Oceania, South America, Asia, or Africa. The top athletes from each region are invited to participate in the third stage of competition, the Semifinals. 

The top 10% of age-group athletes from each division from the Open compete in the online Age-Group Quarterfinal, after which the top athletes from each division move on to the Semifinals. 


Adrian Mundwiler at the 2022 Quarterfinals

Adrian Mundwiler at the 2022 Quarterfinals | Photo by @nicoglenny_ph

The Semifinals 

Taking place over three consecutive weekends, the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games Semifinals serve as the final qualifying stage for athletes hoping to compete at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

For the 2023 season, CrossFit will host three Semifinals in the North America East, North America West, and Europe regions and partner with event organizers to host the remaining four in Asia, South America, Africa, and Oceania. Athletes and teams are assigned to one Semifinal event around the world based on their competition region. At the close of the weekend, the top athletes from each competition receive a ticket to compete at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. New for 2023, the number of CrossFit Games spots will be determined by the strength of field. Learn more about the live Semifinals here

Age-group athletes compete in an online Semifinal with a similar format to Quarterfinals to determine who will advance to the CrossFit Games. The top 10 athletes from each age group will advance to the CrossFit Games and compete live in Madison. 


2022 Syndicate Crown Semifinal

2022 Syndicate Crown Semifinal | Photo by Meg Ellery

The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games

The season culminates with the ultimate test of fitness. At each CrossFit Games competition, athletes engage in a series of challenges unknown to them until right before the events begin. The combination of highly trained athletes and unknown events makes for an explosive mix.

At this point in the season, the field has been whittled down from the hundreds of thousands of athletes in the Open to the top 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams, 240 masters athletes, 80 teenage athletes, and 30 adaptive athletes from around the world. The CrossFit Games rank the world's fittest and determine who is the Fittest on Earth. 


Catch up on the 2023 CrossFit Games season with coverage of the Open, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals at and with the official CrossFit Games app.

Pat Vellner and Justin Medeiros at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games

Pat Vellner and Justin Medeiros at the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler