Earlier this month there was a discussion on Reddit as to why they aren’t any weight classes in CrossFit. Weight classes make sense in sports like weightlifting and boxing where competitors are matched against other competitors of the same size. The purpose of weight classes in these sports is to prevent the exclusions of smaller athletes where physical size and strength gives a significant advantage. Since CrossFit’s goal is to find the fittest on earth, having different weight classes wouldn’t make sense.
The purpose of The CrossFit Games is to find the best well rounded individuals across broad times and modal domains. This means individuals need to be physically capable of performing high level movements in each of ten recognized fitness domains: Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. While bigger athletes may be able to lift heavier weight and perform better in heavy load events, smaller athletes may have an advantage in bodyweight movements and endurance events. The athletes who are capable of both lifting heavy and also have the endurance capacity to perform longer events are what CrossFit is looking for. The CrossFit Games are not specialized for a certain athlete body type. It is a well rounded test that includes: bike, swim, run, row, gymnastics, Olympic lifting, barbell cycling, odd objects, and various other known and unknown events. It creates an even playing field for all athletes.
Having weight classes can also be dangerous for CrossFit athletes since the test of finding the fittest on earth can be a physically grueling test. Athletes must be in top physical condition in order to safely compete at The CrossFit Games. Weight classes would surely give rise to the practice of weight cutting as seen in boxing and various other sports. It is generally considered an advantage to be the largest individual in a weight division, therefore some athletes will work hard to lose weight through dieting and dehydration prior to weigh-ins to meet the required weight class. Imagine if CrossFit had a 170lb weight class. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for a 185lb athlete to compete in a smaller weight class? Think about what happen during Murph in the 2015 CrossFit Games. Various top level athletes including Kara Webb and Annie Thorisdottir suffered heat injuries and were forced to withdraw from the competition. Let’s think about what would have happened had these athletes cut weight prior to competing. Their injuries could have been far worse and even life threatening.
Weight classes serve their purpose in sports but certainly not in CrossFit. The goal is to find the fittest athletes on earth not the fittest 150lb athlete. If CrossFit implemented weight classes not only would it be dangerous for athletes due to weight cutting but it would also take away from the overall spectacle that is The CrossFit Games. Who doesn’t enjoy watching athletes like Josh Bridges and Sam Dancer competing on the same floor. Its David vs Goliath on the competition floor. Of course this is entirely my personal opinion. I’m not a medical expert or personal trainer so take this with a grain of salt. With that said, time for me to get back to training!
Image Source: CrossFit, Inc