The CrossFit Quarterfinals are upon us! With only thousands of athletes still able to qualify for the games, an emphasis on “challenging but doable” workouts pretty much gets tossed out the window in favor of, well, just challenging workouts.
This part of the competition separates the wheat from the chaff and we fully expect some hardcore WODs to make an appearance.
Just like during the CrossFit Open, we came up with some predictions for what we might see during this key phase of the competition, as well as a rationale for each of those workouts.
Update: Here are the actual workouts:
CrossFit Quarterfinals Workouts
CrossFit Quarterfinals Test 1
9 front squats, weight 1 (heaviest)
9 handstand walks, 25 feet
15 front squats, weight 2
21 front squats, weight 3 (lightest)
21 chest-to-wall handstand push-ups
♀ 155, 125, 95 lb
♂ 225, 185, 135 lb
Time cap: 15 minutes
Strategy: Play for the muscle ups.
The muscle ups will be the maker or the breaker in this workout, and it’s designed in a way that you’ll get there right in the middle of the workout. Those who pace themselves accordingly beforehand (don’t blow your shoulders out on the handstand walks) will be able to hit these quicker.
Chunk through them in sets and do everything you can to not fail a rep—even if that means your last five or six reps are singles. Better than fighting with failure for five straight reps because you did too big of an unbroken set.
CrossFit Quarterfinals Test 2
8 dumbbell snatches, arm 1
8 overhead walking-lunge steps, arm 1
8 dumbbell snatches, arm 2
8 overhead walking-lunge steps, arm 2
♀ 50 lb
♂ 70 lb
Strategy: Breathe through the Crossovers. Seriously, breathe!
Crossovers aren’t a common movement, and many people are going to get frustrated on this section because they can’t string them together like double unders. You have to remember, this is the built-in recovery portion of the workout. Even if you keep failing, breathe! Let tension go even if you start getting annoyed because you can’t string them together. You should go back into snatches with your heart rate lower than when you started.
CrossFit Quarterfinals Test 3
5 rounds for time:
5 burpee box jump-overs
1 clean and jerk
*Add 1 clean and jerk after each round.
♀ 185-lb clean and jerks, 24-in box
♂ 275-lb clean and jerks, 30-in box
Time cap: 10 minutes
Strategy: Do a long warmup.
Your warmup for this workout should be longer than the others. You should also redline for about 10 seconds on the assault bike or rower before you start, just to get your heart rate used to spiking. It’s going to be a gut check and a balls-to-the-wall sprint. Prepare your physiology for it because the rest will be mental (assuming you’re strong enough to go unbroken).
CrossFit Quarterfinals Test 4
50 GHD sit-ups
Strategy: Cash in the first round.
Going too hard in the first round is going to put you in a position you won’t like later. Get the first round under your belt and see where the clock is, then strategize the remaining time from there. Ignore this advice if you’re weirdly good at GHD sit-ups—but if you think you’re going to need to break that into two or three rounds, go slow to start.
CrossFit Quarterfinals Test 5
21 deadlifts, weight 1 (lightest)
21 chest-to-bar pull-ups
15 deadlifts, weight 2
15 bar muscle-ups
9 deadlifts, weight 3 (heaviest)
9 rope climbs, 15 ft
♀ 155, 185, 205 lb
♂ 225, 275, 315 lb
Time cap: 15 minutes
Strategy: Drop each deadlift and keep chalk nearby.
This one’s going to destroy some forearms. Dropping the bar from the top of each rep will give your hands and arms a chance to recover and won’t add too much time to the clock, so long as you descend with the bar, regrip, and pull without stopping. The true bottleneck of this workout for most is, once again, the muscle ups. Get there without blowing your arms and grip out.
Here’s our original predictions on these workouts.
5 Workout Predictions for 2023 CrossFit Quarterfinals
It’s hard to know what the CrossFit Games committee is thinking exactly—but we gave it a shot anyway. Rational for each of the workouts can be found below.
Quarterfinal Workout #1:
“Nasty Girls” Modified
3 Rounds for Time:
- 50 Alternating Single Leg Squats (25 each leg)
- 7 Ring Muscle Ups
- 10 Hang Power Cleans (225/185lbs)
*12 min cap
Quarterfinal Workout #2:
- 30 Burpee Box Jump Overs
- 3 Shuttle Runs (25m out and back)
- 30 Dumbbell Thrusters (50lbs)
- 3 Shuttle Runs (25m out and back)
*9 min cap
Quarterfinal Workout #3:
- 25 Handstand Push Ups
- 25 Deadlifts (225/185lbs)
- 20 Strict Handstand Push Ups
- 20 Deadlifts (255lbs/205lbs)
- 15 Deficit Handstand Push Ups
- 15 Deadlifts (275lbs/225lbs)
*20 Min Time Cap
Quarterfinal Workout #4:
20 Minute Time Cap to find:
- 1RM Snatch
- 1RM Clean and Jerk
Quarterfinal Workout #5:
- 2k Row
- 150 Wall Ball Shots
*14 Min Time Cap
2023 CrossFit Quarterfinals Workout Analysis
To put it bluntly, the CrossFit Quarterfinals is where the contenders and the pretenders get separated. There’s both a sense of urgency and an unforgiven pace added to these workouts, which is why you’ve seen movements like deficit handstand push ups used right off the bat.
In this next stage, just like last year during the 2022 CrossFit season, we highly anticipate a short, medium, and long chipper-style workout, which you’ll see in the first three workouts with the time caps. Something that tests brute strength will also be there (our prediction is workout #4), otherwise it would be imbalanced.
Our final workout, which basically combines two classic testing WODs, gives athletes a chance to push themselves to the limit and show off their cardio capacity.
The five workouts must also be completed in a timely fashion.
2023 CrossFit Games Semifinals: Things to Look Out For
Here are some things to look out for in these individual workouts as we prepare for the CrossFit Games.
More of the Same, Some of the New
Our predictions this year are heavily banking on the fact that CrossFit Games staff hasn’t fully figured out the new way of operating the competition yet. Therefore, they are going to recycle a lot of what worked last year and take a chance on a few new variables (i.e. some of these workouts and scrapping the last chance qualifier) to experiment.
Unlike the CrossFit Open workouts, where they have tons of data, this approach is still pretty new. They have data for the actual workouts they’ve used for things like Regionals over the years, but with the new format and qualification system, they won’t take too many big swings—at least, that’s our theory.
Separator Exercises In Each Workout
These workouts aren’t for beginners, so if you made it this far, you should be ready to have one of your weaknesses exposed in every WOD.
- In the first workout, muscle fatigue with key bodyweight exercises will be the limiting factor.
- Workout #2 is simply a redline workout, so if you don’t have the mental toughness or cardio to go all out from the whistle, you’ll finish at the back of the pack—that’s the separator.
- Handstand push-ups progressively getting harder and deadlifts getting heavier will expose weaker athletes.
- As we’ve seen over the years, heavy Olympic lifts are key to doing well at the CrossFit Games. They make an appearance, rather bluntly, in the CrossFit Quarterfinals here.
- The final workout is a combination of two classic WODs and basically a “give us your best shot” opportunity. There is no last chance qualifier, so those on the fringes probably need to go unbroken or close to it on the wall ball shots.
We feel pretty strongly that exercises like GHD sit ups could make their way in here, too. But based on the workouts we came up with, we didn’t see a clear spot where they might fit. Don’t be surprised if they wind up in a workout, though.
Be Prepared to Test the Different Energy Systems
Workout 1 through 4 each test a different type of energy system in the body and the type of fatigue it will create. This is no mistake. The 9 and 12 minute cap are fairly close to one another, so don’t be surprised if some redline workout is even shorter (i.e. 7 or 5 minutes) or some type of hell-ish short AMRAP with heavy weights sneaks in. They have five workouts to expose you—they’ve got to go big.
Stay tuned to CrossFit’s YouTube channel for updates and check back for analysis once these workouts are released.
We’ll also update this page with predictions once the tests and floor plan are release on March 16.