What’s normal (or top 5%) for a CrossFit athlete?

Ever see a 32 year old 5’10” 185lb guy walking down the street with a 32 year old 5’5″ 135lb lady and say, “Now those are some CrossFit people!”?  Well you should, because those are the most typical ages and proportions for athletes registered for the 2015 Crossfit Open.

I pulled together the data from the profiles of 245,000 CrossFit athletes participating in the 2015 Open.  Having all of these stats in one place is valuable as a reference for comparison, and interesting to see how Open athletes fill out their profiles.

One important thing to remember is that these stats are all optional and self-reported.  We’ll see some places where that results in curious patterns, but the big issue is that people likely don’t report numbers they’re not proud of.  For example, only 7% of women reported their max pull-ups, but among those who did, the average was 19.  That’s nowhere near representative, so check the number of profiles included in each stat and consider what that means about the distribution.

You’ll probably also be interested in my other CrossFit posts.

Age

age

Men are a hair older, but its remarkably even actually. 54% of athletes registered for the Open are between 25 and 35. These data do not include the Masters > 55 or Teen < 16 athletes.  That’s not because I hate kids or old people, they’re just on their own leaderboard, so I need to pull them next.  This is the only required field in user profiles, so this is our only complete observation of the population.

 Age # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 102538 32 21 26 31 37 47
Male 142485 32 21 27 31 37 46

Height

height

Here’s where it gets fun. So guys, how many of you are actually 5’11” but thought it wouldn’t hurt anybody if you rounded up to 6’0″?  My estimate … somewhere around 7,000 or 5% of all men.  See that big blue spike at 6′ which sticks out of the normal distribution?  Any time you see a single value sticking out way above the shaded distribution, that’s evidence of something interesting going on.  In this case, I think it’s that being 6 feet tall is an All-American-Man’s right and sometimes he’ll take it even if the tape measure says 5’11”.  Reminds me of this article from OKCupid about dating profiles.

Women actually have a curious spot too: at 5′.  That seems harder to explain as it looks like it pulls from 4’11” and 5’1″. Everybody likes a round number I guess?

Height # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 38694 65 60 63 65 67 69
Male 77343 70 66 69 70 72 75

Weight

<a href="http://swift best site.pw/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/weight.png”>weight

The ladies like to hit 135#, and the men are happy to say 185#, both exceeding their expected frequency in the distribution.  This could be because of rounding in the self-reports or because people actually try to maintain those target weights.  Interesting that in weights, people like the numbers that end in 5s: 135, 165, 175, 185, 195, and 205 are all more popular than their round number neighbors.

 Weight # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 69075 142 114 128 138 151 180
Male 118332 188 150 170 185 201 235

Clean & Jerk

candj

Clean & Jerk # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 24990 134 85 115 135 155 185
Male 51568 224 154 195 225 255 300

Deadlift

deadlift

The 400lb deadlift is the biggest statistical aberration on this page. It’s extremely motivating as most people’s biggest PR, but it’s in reach for a substantial number of Open athletes.  Women are more split amongst 200, 225, and 300.

Deadlift # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 26960 241 155 205 240 275 325
Male 55979 394 275 345 400 441 515

Snatch

snatch

Snatch # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 22212 102 65 85 100 118 150
Male 47772 172 115 145 170 200 242

Back Squat

backsq

Back Squat # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 25945 194 125 165 195 225 270
Male 54347 321 215 275 315 365 435

Fran

fran

How do you crazy people do Fran so fast? It’s interesting there that we see clusters just under the salient minutes (e.g. the sub-4:00 club) but that it’s not all in one of the 10 second bins.  People strive for being sub-X minute, but then often end up with a 3:35 instead of the 3:59 we might expect after seeing the other WoDs.

Remember with Fran and the other time-based WoDs below, lower scores are better, so the 5th percentile is better than the 95th.

Fran # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 9543 6:13 3:03 4:30 5:52 7:32 10:22
Male 31566 4:56 2:28 3:18 4:26 6:00 9:12

Helen

helen

 Helen # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 5320 11:33 8:26 9:52 11:12 12:50 15:49
Male 16883 9:59 7:27 8:30 9:33 11:00 14:00

Grace

grace

Grace appears to be the most gender-equivalent of the stats included in the Crossfit Open profiles, but it is also scarcely reported (8% of women, 16% of men).

Grace # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 7786 4:02 2:00 2:51 3:40 4:48 7:23
Male 23051 3:26 1:42 2:19 3:00 4:01 6:32

Filthy 50
filthy50

 Filthy 50 # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 3661 28:08 19:15 23:40 27:33 31:45 39:25
Male 10546 25:57 17:20 21:10 25:00 29:27 37:53

Fight Gone Bad

fgonebad

Cool to see in FGB that 300 is a huge goal that works for men and women.  We also saw men and women congregating at the same score in Grace (sub 3:00), but here it’s a much bigger stretch for the ladies.

 FGB # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 6132 240 0 214 263 306 371
Male 15597 2038 0 256 306 350 421

Pull-ups

pullups

This graph makes me think that pull ups aren’t entirely about strength, they’re about will and caring enough to try to set new PRs. There are no plates to load here so there’s reason people only attempt multiples of 5. If 5% of men can do 50 pullups, I bet 4.9% can do 51, but only 1% bothered to notch the extra rep.  Why not? Are you the kind of person who would push to 51 once you finally hit 50?

Women (and actually guys too), remember, pull-ups are not an exotic movement.  Everyone knows what their PR is.  More than 4 out of 5 athletes chose to leave it blank, so you’re doing better than all those … chickens.

Pull Ups # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 7819 19 3 10 18 26 40
Male 25416 33 10 22 32 42 60

400m Run

run400

 

94% of people were like, “We say at our gym that it’s 400m if you run out the door, past the dumpster and turn around at 3rd street light. That’s probably not legit.  I better leave that blank.”

400m # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 3516 1:28 1:01 1:15 1:24 1:37 2:03
Male 12282 1:12 0:53 1:00 1:08 1:18 1:43

5k Run

run5k

“But my Turkey Trot 2011 time, yeah, I’ll put that in there.”

 5k # profiles Average 5th percentile 25th 50th 75th 95th
Female 6939 26:19 20:15 23:07 25:37 28:33 35:00
Male 19476 22:54 18:04 20:10 22:06 24:42 30:00

Whew.  Did you make it to the bottom?  You would definitely like my other CrossFit posts.


– Sam Swift.  I’m a data-scientist at Betterment, and 3 years into CrossFit, now at CrossFit Prospect Heights (previously CrossFit Carrboro).  I’ve got more posts in the works, follow me @swiftsam.  Scraping and visualization code available here on github. Data available here on Google Drive.

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  • DRG

    Just a thought. One reason why the men’s weight may have more frequency at 185 is that it is close to the 85kg mark that corresponds to the 85kg weight class for men’s weightlifting. The 85kg and 94kg classes are two of the more populous classes so I would suspect that athletes who are heavily into CrossFit may also compete in weightlifting. I don’t know if it would be a statistically significant number but it may.

    • swiftsam

      Thanks DRG, That’s a great point. I’m sure that there are few patterns both from weightlifting and from kg –> lb conversions that I’m missing.

  • Mike Coleman

    How are you pulling the data? I looked for an export function, and couldn’t find it.

  • Keko Mendizabal

    Hello Sam, your posts are awesome! I have been looking for Crossfit data analysis for a long time and never found something helpfull until this. Do you happen to have data on 2016?