REGIONALS WEEK 1 RECAP: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENCH
Regionals week one is in the books, and what a weekend it was! As a fan of the sport, we saw many new wrinkles from Doctor Castro, including the addition of a never before seen movement at regionals: the bench press. This movement, featured in the benchmark workout Linda, was the talk of the weekend, and really shook things up like we haven’t seen in quite some time.
When done traditionally, Linda reads as follows:
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of the triplet:
Deadlift: 1 1/2 body weight
Bench press: body weight
Clean: 3/4 body weight
However, a wrinkle was put into it for the regionals; a wrinkle that has become quite controversial in some circles. For the regional athletes, Castro decided to use the average weight of a regionals competitor last year (195# for men, 145# for women), rather than the actual body weight of the competitors. He also knocked the women’s bench weight down ten pounds.
The decision to not use actual body weight can be easily argued from both angles. On the one hand, a set weight makes set up for the event MUCH more efficient, and even across the board. On the flip side, this leaves smaller athletes totally and completely at a disadvantage.
Take a smaller male competitor who typically weighs in at 150#. On a normal day, his Linda would be a 225# deadlift, 150# bench, and about a 115# clean. Instead, this competitor needs to fight tooth and nail to complete the same workout with weights at 295#, 195#, and 145# respectively.
This wrinkle cost a lot of competitors a great deal of points this weekend. In my humble opinion, the change seemed to have a greater effect on the ladies, but some men struggled as well. A lot of the women we are used to seeing at the very top of the leaderboard found themselves having to fight for a spot this year as a result.
A prime example of this is Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, who typically runs away with her region and has won 8 out of a possible 9 regionals in her career to this point. This year, not only was she not top dog out of the gate, she was in 10th place at the end of day one. Talent prevailed and she ended up finishing second and returning to the Crossfit Games, but she had to fight hard through day three to get there.
Not all of the “stars of crossfit” struggled, as we saw utter dominance in the Europe region from Iceland Annie and Sara Sigmundsdottir, and in the east from Katrin and Vellner.
However, a lot struggled. It was a really interesting thing to see, and something I intend to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Whether you agree with the Linda weights or not, it seems clear regardless: the fittest will prevail.