Strong Enough

Thursday October 19, 2017
Ben Bergeron & Christine Bald

There are certain numbers you need if you want to be competitive in the sport of CrossFit. In the most recent episode of the podcast, we’re talking about the idea of “strong enough” – the weightlifting numbers you need to advance to Regionals, or qualify and be a serious contender at the Games.

What is strong enough?

If you want to make it to Regionals, the price of admission is a 245# snatch and a 315# clean & jerk. To qualify for the Games, you’ve got to be snatching 265# and have a clean & jerk around 335#.

If you don’t have those numbers, you don’t get to play at that level. It won’t matter how many unbroken muscle-ups you can do, or how fast you can do Fran. If you’re not strong enough, you’re going to be stopped in your tracks.

If you’re 15-35% off the numbers in the table above, it means you’re not yet strong enough. It means weightlifting should be your priority in training, because strength gains take years of work to see. You should be following a dedicated weightlifting program to increase your numbers, knowing that until you do, nothing else matters.

If you’re already strong enough, then it becomes the opposite. If you have a 300# snatch but haven’t made Regionals, stop working on your snatch. It’s obvious that weightlifting isn’t a limiting factor, and at some point it stops aiding your pursuit of success in the sport of CrossFit.

Due to the scoring system in the Open, minimizing your weakest links is far more important than continuing to improve your strengths. A 300# snatch is so far above what’s being tested in the Open that adding 15# is unlikely to move the needle for you at all. The hours you have to put in to get 3% stronger would be much better spent elsewhere, where you are weaker — HSPU, rowing, muscle-ups, or straight-up engine work.

The idea of “strong enough” creates a window that shows you where you need to be focusing your efforts if your aim is to compete at the highest levels of the sport. Is it weightlifting? Is it your engine? Your gymnastics skills?

Figure out where your limiting factors are, and go there.