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What to Expect from the 2022 CrossFit Games Last Chance Qualifier

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Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC

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With the second iteration of the Last Chance Qualifier fast approaching, today we dive into what competitors can expect based on what we learned from last year and what we’ve already seen this year in the previous parts of the season.

2021 LCQ:

The first year of the LCQ featured four workouts and a total of seven movements. Every single one of those movements had already showed up in some iteration at a previous stage of the season:

  • Rowing: Previously seen in the Quarterfinals and the online Semifinals
  • Hang Dumbbell Snatch: DB snatch in the Open, barbell snatch in Quarters and Semis
  • Burpees: Burpee box jump overs in the Open and Quarters, burpees in Semis
  • Double Unders: Appeared in every stage (Open, Quarters, and Semis)
  • Squat Cleans: Heavy clean in the Open, Db hang cleans at Quarters, barbell clean (and jerks) in Semis
  • Legless Rope Climbs: Previously in the online Semifinals
  • Deadlift: Part of the Barbell Complex in the Open, dumbbell deadlifts in Semis

Due to COVID restrictions last season, CrossFit was responsible for programming a complete online Semifinal which took a lot of possible unused movements off the table for the LCQ. This year that was not the case, CrossFit only programmed two of the six Semifinal workouts and therefore has a little more leeway should they want to incorporate unused movements into this year’s LCQ.

What We Don’t Expect to See:

Most of the movements on this list won’t be seen in the LCQ for one (or more) of three reasons:

  1. They’ve already been tested extensively at an earlier stage of the season.
  2. There is no need to test the capacity for them at a stage with only four (maybe five) workouts that should demand a higher barrier for entry style test.
    • i.e. Wall walks would be replaced by handstand walking or a high skill/demand handstand push up variation.
  3. There are still plenty of untested movements that could highlight and/or expose athletes at this stage of competition.
  • GHD Sit-Ups
  • Shuttle Runs
  • Wall Walks
  • DB Snatch
  • Bar Facing Burpee
  • Ring Muscle Up (on average just under 30 of these were tested at most Semis)
  • Walking Lunges
  • Kipping Handstand push-ups
  • Deficit Handstand push-ups
  • Pistols
  • Rope Climbs
  • Wall Balls with conventional weights and heights (20/14 to 10’/9’)
  • Box Jump Overs at conventional heights (24/20)

Movements That Very Well Could be Selected:

This list mostly includes things that have not been tested yet this season by CrossFit specifically, or have been tested in a very low volume. A majority of them, specifically in certain combinations, would satisfy criteria two and three from above (higher skill barrier, and untested movements that could expose athletes at this stage of competition).

  • Overhead Squats
  • Hang Snatch (barbell)
  • Clean
  • Thrusters (dumbbell or barbell)
  • Bar Muscle Ups
  • Toes to Bar
  • Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
  • Strict Handstand Push-ups
  • Strict Deficit Handstand Push-ups
  • Rowing
  • Wall Balls (20/14) to 11’/10’ or (30/20) to 10’
  • Burpees to 12 inch target
  • Farmers Carry with Dumbbells
  • Double Unders (big sets)
  • Box Jump Overs (with or without burpees) to 30/24 inch box

Based on last year, we’d expect about half of this group of movements to show up.

Strength Workout or No?

One of the big talking points of last year’s LCQ was the inclusion of a three rep max deadlift as one of only four tests. Of course we know athletes need to be strong to compete at the Games, but is it necessary to test it in isolation at this stage with so few workouts at this stage of testing?

Everyone of these athletes has already been required to demonstrate strength in two specific tests CrossFit has programmed:

  • The other total from Quarterfinals (one rep maxes for Clean, Bench Press, and Overhead Squat)
  • The Barbell Complex from Semifinals (three cleans, two front squats, one shoulder to overhead)

As has been discussed and highlighted many times, there are other ways to test strength. Don’t be surprised if the ‘strength’ test is masked a little differently than the very obvious three rep max deadlift from last season.

How Many Single Modality Tests to Expect?

Another point of contention with last year’s version of the LCQ was that two of the four tests were single modality (three rep max deadlift, 100 burpees to 12 inch target). Again the question arises, when so many high level athletes are vying for only two spots do we need half the tests to be so specific?

Taking into consideration this year’s newest stage of competition, the online Age Group Semifinals, it seems the answer to that question might be yes. In a very similar nature to last year’s LCQ, half the tests at the age group semis this year were single modality:

  • Test 3: Snatch Ladder for reps
  • Test 5: Wall Ball (“Death By”-style)
  • Test 6: 1 rep max clean and jerk

Considering the pattern that had been established last season, and continued into the age group semifinals this season, it seems CrossFit does place a pretty high emphasis on the expression of fitness through single modality tests as part of the qualifying process for the Games.

Not to be ignored is that the two pre-programmed Semifinals workouts were also for all intensive purposes single modality (legless rope climbs; barbell complex).

Expected Format:

Taking into account everything we’ve laid out up to this point, here’s an overview of what we’re expecting from the 2022 LCQ:

  • 4-5 tests; most likely four
  • One of them will be single modality in nature (hopefully not lifting); possibly a rowing test similar to what we saw in stage one of the 2020 CrossFit Games. Rowing has only shown up for the individuals at Quarterfinals, and it wasn’t a critical part of that workout.
  • A strength test that is ascending in nature coupled with one or two other movements that we haven’t seen much of this year yet (double unders, tall box jump overs, toes to bar, chest to bars, or bar muscle ups are leading candidates)
  • A test similar to age group semifinal workout four (which included ghd sit ups, handstand walking and bar muscle ups). Only we’d expect GHD sit-ups to be omitted since there’s no need for the redundancy after Quarterfinals, and they could substitute toes to bar quite easily).
  • A workout with heavy wall balls to a ten foot target for everyone.
    • On a recent episode of Get With the Programming, Chase Ingraham informs that Adrian Bozman wanted to keep the wall ball height at ten feet for the age group online semifinals with a 30 and 20 pound wall ball; the only reason he didn’t is because he wasn’t sure people had access to that.
    • However, it’s much more safe to assume that the athletes in the LCQ do have access to that, making it a pretty good bet to show up.

The big picture: We’re only in year two of this format, so certainly there’s still a lot we don’t know. However, this stage of the season is both exciting and critical. There are over 30 men and women who have already proven their capacity to be exceptional this year through three stages of testing. With so many athletes who were so close to qualifying via Semis in this field, it’s important to get the programming right here. We’ve given it our best effort, now to see how well it matches up with what CrossFit rolls out for the athletes.

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