Understanding Your CrossFit Open Ranking

I achieved my goal for this Open, but I discovered it’s a meaningless thing. My goal was to finish above 50% in my division. I did that. But what does that 55% actually mean?

Better than last Open, but better fitness?

The details of CrossFit’s calculations are vague. They score athletes on how they finish each work out in a pool of all the competitors for that work out, and a lower score is better, like golf. However, athletes who Rx work outs rank higher than those who scale. The weird thing? Athletes who don’t even record a work out can stay ahead of those who have a scored one. Just recording one Rx score with 4 unscored work outs can keep some athletes ahead of those who have completed and recorded all five work outs scaled. That goes against our general notion of fairness, right? It seems to me, if you don’t finish, you don’t rank ahead of anyone who did.

But this is CrossFit’s game and their rules, like ‘em or not. 

I’m curious about the calculations process, but I’m not finding many details. I did some research online, trying to find discussions. I ran across a few people from 2014 and 2018 discussing the Open. Medium.com had an article from the 2018 Open that basically pointed out the uselessness of the leaderboard for most of us. And in fact, the lower you rank, the less your score actually means due to drop outs and non-scorers. Whatever the actual system CrossFit uses, it’s geared toward the top 2%, so what it means for the rest of us matters little to them.

Suffice to say, my new division has less athletes but a higher participation percentage. That goes along with my expectation that those who stick around are serious and getting fitter. I figure with my scores, I’ll need to outlive everyone to be the only one in my division to get atop the leaderboard. Until then, I’m looking at things differently.

The Value of the Open

I’m not terribly competitive, but I want to be in the mix, and I want to feel I’m progressing in my fitness regardless of where I compare to others and their fitness. 

Does my Open performance compare to my own year-to-year? Not likely. I mean, does my 10% increase mean I’ve improved 10%? The work outs were very different. The number of participants were different. And of course, the timing and my performance wasn’t at the same level each Open. My 2019 performance came during one of the worst 3 weeks of illness I’ve ever had. My 2020 performance came with no illness. If we could account for this, would my performance have been pretty much the same in 2019 as 2020?

I’m thinking I’ll never have these answers.

But I do know I scaled one work out because I don’t have double unders. I need to fix that hole. I need to fix a few holes. The value of the Open to me is to be able to Rx everything, to know I’ve got all the big pieces of what CrossFit calls “fitness,” because I believe in CrossFit’s definitions and methodology.

Use Your Custom Hashtags

CrossFit is trying to increase Open participation for the average athlete by giving us custom hashtags. 

I win the #mensa category

I like the idea because one way I manage my failures is to tell myself I’m a human being with a range of talents and interests, not just the one I failed at. It keeps me from wallowing LOL (See my favorite Robert Heinlein quote below.) So one hashtag I used in the Open is “Mensa.” And you know what? I’m the highest ranking Open athlete who is also a Mensan. (Um…and the only one as of this posting.)

That’s right, I’m a fucking genius. AND I lift heavy shit.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein