WOD Data: Crossfit Open 15.3

I was so tired from those muscle ups it took me an extra couple of days to get this post up.  In the mean time, we’ve had a new player enter the scene: CrossFit HQ themselves! I’m psyched that the measurement-oriented sport of CrossFit is finally bringing the data to the games front page. See if you notice any resemblance in their analysis approach.

Now that we’ve hit the mainstream, it’s time to take it to another level.  I’ve posted all of the profile and leaderboard data from 2012-2015.3 online so that nobody else has to go through the trouble of scraping it all to contribute an interesting analysis or graphic.  Separate post for all of that over here. Dig in and let me know if you do or find something interesting.

The Muscle Up

15.3 was significant almost entirely because the Rx version started with muscle ups.  I won’t rehash the pages of social media debating whether that’s good programming for the Open, but I was wondering whether it would discourage people out of the Open entirely.  Happily, that’s not the story.  We saw overall participation hold steady from 15.2 while droves of athletes took advantage of the new Scaled option.  After 15.3,  61% of Men and just 26% of Women have completed all 3 workouts at Rx.


15.3 Rx

14 minute AMRAP:
7 muscle-ups
50 wall-ball shots
100 double-unders

As you expected, the muscle ups were the big factor, but it wasn’t just the ability to get one done.  Even for athletes who finished in the 3rd round and got more than 15 muscle ups, each rep was time consuming enough that most did not finish the set of 7.  Double unders and wallballs didn’t stop too many, but you can see lots of fun spikes at round numbers.


I often mention how some reps in a WoD have much higher impact on your ranking than others. If everyone is stopping at the end of the round, getting 1 rep into the next is very differentiating.  To illustrate that, I’ve added a new type of plot comparing the percentile associated with each score.  The slope of the line indicates how many people you’re passing on the leaderboard for each additional rep. Each muscle up moved an athlete up 1.6% in the rankings on average, compared to 0.1% for each wall ball or double under, meaning that each muscle up was equivalent to completing 13 wall ball or double unders.


15.3 Scaled

Since over half of athletes competed in the Scaled version of 15.3, lets make sure we discuss it fully as well (looking at you HQ).

14 minute AMRAP:
50 wall-ball shots
200 single-unders

Those first 500 reps felt like they meant something, but you didn’t get much credit for them as 7 out of 8 athletes made it into the 3rd round.  The most popular stopping points for men and women were at rep 550 and 750 where it’s likely athletes pushed hard to finish the movement and then came up short on gas or time to start back into the other movement. I like the little spikes at 400 and 650 and how these histograms are so nice and symmetric.  If you take out the spikes and squish the middle together, you can imagine a nice normal distribution like we saw in 14.5.

We can repeat our analysis of slopes here and see how much more valuable wall balls were than single unders.  For the scaled workout, each wall ball rep moved you up in the rankings as much as 3.7 single unders.crossfit_15.3sc_percentile_gender


This week I’m using percentile on the y-axis to look at patterns by age, height, and weight because it is less influenced by outlier scores which is important for our very small sample of Rx women.  I’ve also broken things out by Rx and Scaled since the balance between muscle unders and wall balls selects for different attributes.


The under 25 men crushed 15.3 Rx and the drop-off with age was much steeper than we saw last week. We don’t se nearly as dramatic of an effect in Scaled or Rx Women which makes me think those young guys can really knock out the muscle ups.



If you were doing muscle ups and wall balls (Rx), it was best to be of average height, but for the Scaled division, the tall folks ran away with it.  Keep in mind the scaled wall ball for men was only to 9 feet meaning the 6’3″ guys could pretty much put the ball over the line without letting go. Now a moment of silence for the poor < 5′ women.



Nothing too surprising on weight. The ideal weights for 15.3 Rx look very similar to 15.2. The distributions are shifted about 10 pounds heavier for the Scaled division, probably due pretty much entirely to the correlation with height.


If you’re just finding my site with this post, check out the others I’ve done on CrossFit and we’ll be back next week for 15.4.  Comments or analysis requests welcome.

– 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.

Posted in Posts Tagged with: ,
  • Krista Carlson

    I’m confused — this says 26% of women completed all three work-outs RX’d, but then it seems to be saying 85% of women scaled 15.3. Am I reading something wrong? Thank you for doing this, it’s fascinating!

    • http://swift.pw Sam Swift

      Yeah, you’re right that’s got to be messed up. Thanks for noticing! I think it’s true that 85% of women scaled 15.3, but something is wrong with my stat that 26% of women had done all three Rx as of 15.3. I’ll figure it out and revise.

      • Krista Carlson

        Thanks Sam — I love obsessing on all of this and you’ve done a great job making it possible. 🙂