First things first:

OPEX asked CrossFit if it was ok to use smaller kilo plates instead of rubber plates…we were told that we could, in fact, use them.

Cheating is a harsh word. When my coaches, staff, athletes, and friends are singled out by The CrossFit Games and Dave Castro for having cheated when you did NOTHING OF THE SORT that word gets very harsh very quickly. Cheating implies malicious intent. OPEX athletes have to post their videos publicly. We are not hiding that we used them because we were told that we could.

Let me be very clear with this message.  I am not writing this blog post to start a fight with CrossFit. I am writing this because when CrossFit entities and stakeholders post multiple social media posts about my athletes and those posts smear my athletes across the world I have to inform people of what the facts are.

That’s right. The use of kilo plates was deemed LEGAL by the South Regional’s Director of The CrossFit Games. We have multiple forms of evidence that we were, in fact, allowed to use the smaller plates on our barbells.

But here is where it gets extremely bothersome. The posts started to go out last night a bit before 9 pm MST (11 pm EST). We were shocked when the posts began coming out because we had asked the South Regional Director point blank “Can we use the small kilo plates on the bar instead of the rubber plates?”  The Director’s response back to that question was “Yes as long as the weight is g2g.” That is a direct YES to the question of using smaller plates.

The social media posts were released anyway. Our team got on the phone to confirm the text with the Director.  We then got on the phone with the South Regional Director. He CONFIRMED that he told our athlete that we could use the smaller plates. He also told us that he had already been on the phone with CrossFit and that they were trying to sort everything out. About an hour and 45 minutes later we received a call back from the South Regional Director saying that the top 3 at CrossFit were in possession of the information and the message that we had spoken about and that they would be handling it. Our team also wrote an email to the COO of the CrossFit Games asking for them to remedy this situation. At this point here is where we stand:

1.   It has been over 12 hours since the posts went public

2.   There have been well OVER 550,000 views on the posts

3.   The overwhelming commentary in terms of comments on the post seems to be tremendously skewed to being very negative toward OPEX athletes and the OPEX brand

4.   A CrossFit representative has told us that they will be issuing the major penalty even though they told us that we could use the smaller plates

5.   The same CrossFit representative told us that he didn’t know if the posts would be removed or apologized for but that “nothing new would be posted.”

6.   Another post has been issued confirming that CrossFit will, in fact, be docking our athletes 15% penalties even though they KNOW that we were told that we could set our bars up with smaller kilo plates

The point of this article is aimed at getting CrossFit to properly remedy this written false accusation against OPEX and its athletes. OPEX has had 500 competitors earn their way to the CrossFit Regionals and we’ve also had over 50 athletes earn their way to the CrossFit Games over the years. They earned their way there by extremely hard work and dedication to their sport. They LOVE the sport of CrossFit.

All of our onsite athletes have to post all of their videos because we are not a CrossFit affiliate.  We have had years of learning on just how important properly videoing is for ALL of our athletes. We have had 3 years of consistent communication with our Regional Directors where we ask them any questions that we have about the workouts. We ask them because we can’t hide ANYTHING because we have to post our videos each week. Because of this we always try to ask questions that need to be asked so that we have confirmation on strategies that we use. In this case we asked the best point of contact in the South Region, the Regional Director, the question about plate size and we were told that we were good to go.

Regardless of what CrossFit decides to do within their competition, why are their false claims about OPEX continuing to perpetuate on social media platforms? Here are the facts that as far as we know are completely undisputed:

1.   We asked the South Regional Director of the CrossFit Games if we could use smaller kilo plates instead of rubber plates to which he replied yes

2.   We used the smaller plates and posted our scores onto the CrossFit Games website

3.   When a specific OPEX athlete was challenged on her using the smaller plates she publicly responded well before the social media posts went up that we had confirmation that we could use that strategy

4.   The posts (3 are still public) went out a bit before 11pm EST, the evening of Monday 2/29/16

5.   We had a phone call with the South Regional Director minutes after the posts went out which was Monday night at 11:04pm EST. He confirmed that he allowed us to use the smaller metal plates and that he had spoken to multiple people within CrossFit about him having done that

6.   We sent an email to the COO of the CrossFit Games at 12:25 am EST on 3/1/16 asking him to help remedy this situation to which we did receive an email but without any discussion as to their course of action.

7.   We received a phone call from the South Regional Director at 12:54 am EST 3/1/16 informing us that the “top 3” in CrossFit knew that we had been told that we could use the smaller plates

8.   We spoke to the South Regional Director at 11:27 am 3/1/16 where he told us that CrossFit had chosen to implement the 15% penalty even though they made a mistake. He also informed us that he wasn’t sure what they would do with the current social media posts that are up but that no new posts would go up.

9.   There was another post that came out after our conversation with the South Regional Director stating that we would get the 15% penalty because we were “cheating.”

10.   The posts continue to show extremely harsh tones toward OPEX athletes and OPEX staff and coaches.

I don’t quite understand how this is ok to do.  I find this situation similar to an athlete at Regionals asking their judge about a standard, doing the entire workout as the judge prescribed, going home for the night, and then seeing the head of the CrossFit Games destroying their character on social media as well as penalizing them.  I am struggling to understand that. We had a team at Regionals last year. We watched one of the teams make the range of motion MUCH shorter on GHD sit ups.  They weren’t docked points or disqualified.  I do not know if they asked their judge or not but this sure seems similar to me. We have seen numerous examples of smaller wall balls, shorter range of motion with hand placement on the handstand push-ups, and we have also seen examples of people using smaller metal plates in previous Open workouts on film. If they misunderstood our question about the plates they could have removed the posts and mentioned that there was a misunderstanding.  They did not.

We are not yet sure how we want to deal with this because we will handle this in the most professional way possible. We just wanted to explain the facts.

In summary, OPEX asked CrossFit if it was ok to use smaller kilo plates…we were told that we could in fact use them.  This can be remedied and we are very much hoping that it will be.

CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. OPEX Fitness’s uses of the CrossFit® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and OPEX Fitness is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.




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  1. Say what you will. Your athletes did not use kilo plates. I watched the video during setup they were 2-10lb plates and 1-5lb plate on both sides. In my eyes as a judge your scores should be disqualified. I would consider yourself lucky that you’re only getting a 15% penalty.

    1. Craig, those are kilo change plates. Eleiko change plates explicitly list “lbs” on their pound change plates, and only the number on their kilogram plates. Get your facts straight bro

    2. This entire post is dumb. The fact you would ask the regional director a question about the Open is also dumb. They have nothing to do with the Open and don’t make any of those calls.

      1. The governing body is CrossFit HQ, they said no. The random regional director who doesn’t represent HQ said yes.

  2. Well said, well reasoned and logical…which is unfortunately not how it is being handled on the other side of this. It would be unfortunate for the hard work of your athletes to be fruitless when permission was given. Good luck getting this sorted in a positive manner.

    1. I agree, I really don’t think it’s nice that Dave called it “cheating”- but hey, that’s just his style to roast people like that. Cheating indicates malice and deceit which I believe is not the case why you or other athletes chose to use the smaller plates, rather it is a competitive advantage that many others did not think about. I really hope people who look at his post practice good judgement and instead of thinking that you guys are “cheaters” think “oh they were being resourceful and now its unfair that they are getting docked!”. I think that the standards should have said no small plates thus why I don’t think your athletes should get docked and instead let this be a lesson learned to crossfit HQ to think about and clarify the standards more. Good luck! and he should make some type of apology for that b/c if could potentially damage your brand (or help it… who knows, any press is good press right?…).

      1. Not sure where you got this idea that nobody else thought of it. My affiliate thought of it and decided not to do its because clearly not in the spirit of the open.

  3. Lawsuit! Joking (kind of)!
    Nah, good luck with this one James. A lot of stupid comments being circulated out there! I’m defending OPEX down here in the social media trenches man!

  4. Why didn’t you guys just use the rubber plates like everyone else? You probably don’t typically use the Kilo plates for workouts like this, it looks like you were trying to gain a competitive advantage through a loophole.

    1. What does it matter Dave? They could have done the workout in high heals, so long as they got approval ahead of time and the regional director approved practice. This is no different then talking with your judge in a competition and validating how they are going to call the reps, then you abide by the judge.

      If you cannot rely on the authority of the person who is supposed to provide guidance, then WTF are you supposed to do?

      1. The regional director is not “the person who is supposed to provide guidance.” The uncommon movements clause says that you need to ask CrossFit Inc about any questionable movements. Not that you ask the regional director so that he can then ask CrossFit Inc.

        1. I can understand if that protocol was what was expected. It doesn’t change the fact that a leader of a region told us that we were good to go. i would have expected that the response would/should have been “please ask HQ Support” in which case we would have. But, after it was said and done it just doesn’t seem to make sense that the posts are still up if they had a structure breakdown inside that lead to us getting bad info.

          1. It wasn’t a “structure breakdown.” Keep telling yourself that. You knew that if you asked HQ, they would say no. So you asked the regional friend, intentionally phrased the question poorly, and are now trying to say “but we asked and that’s what they said!” You’re not fooling anyone and this “but mom said yes” argument is pathetic.

    2. It’s funny how some folks who workout from home that don’t have rubber 25lb bumpers can use smaller metal plates but not someone on the OPEX method. Or that they can do pullups on bars that they can reach flat footed. Or that they can use 25 lb curl bars at some random 24 hour gym cuz the bends help with their wrist mobility and the shorter bar is easier to balance. Not a peep from HQ

  5. It appears that many of the OPEX team athletes (including at least 2 of the scoring males on the OPEX team) did not use the small plates, even though according to this article OPEX received approval. If OPEX had received approval and its own athletes still chose not to use small plates, it suggests that those athletes knew it was a questionable move.

    1. Agreed… if it isn’t normal and you have to ask then you are gaming the system, end of story. Just because someone else did it and got away with it doesn’t justify you trying to do the same thing. Shame on the “Official” you asked for not thinking through the “intent” of the rules and questioning your “intent” for asking. If you’re looking for an unfair advantage then you are cheating… therefore a cheater.

      1. No…you are wrong: if it isnt normal, then you are supposed to ask…and they did ask..that is part of the rules, they followed the rules as written…that is NOT cheating. And i believe a Regional director is a valid representative of Crossfit Inc. in the absence of a specific office or department being specified… Crossfit is at fault here, the blew the deacription of the standard, gave poor guidance, contridicted themselves and slandered an independent gym and business.

    2. Hey Anon, it’s a good question. We have hundreds of athletes competing in the Open this year. They all went through the workout how they chose. Not everybody all over the world in our coach’s/athlete’s gyms had the same conversations that some of our athletes did about the plates. I don’t want to speak for any of them, they choose how they want to do the workout.

      1. I’m not talking about the hundreds of athletes around the world. I’m talking about athletes on the OPEX team.

  6. Good luck, OPEX athletes and coaches. It’s really tough to watch you go through this. YOUR community is here for you.

    With much love and support,


  7. I love how OPEX presents themselves. On one hand you have the CrossFit community that is supposed to be a “family”. In reality they take any chance to tear each other apart like wild beasts. Then you have OPEX who doesn’t snap back with slanderous BS. Instead they asses the situation, look at ALL the facts then and only then do they make rheir conclusion. Well done very impressive!!

    1. How can Crossfit be your “family” and not be an affiliate? Having said that, I agree, you asked what sounds like the appropriate ppl, got an answer, and went with it. Obviously Castro wasn’t who you asked. Sucks.

    2. After seeing the few posts, the situation is unfortunate. But asking to cheat the movement by lowering the height of the bar is unsportsmanlike on your organization’s part. If it was an issue with equipment availability, I would have suggested having only scaled athletes use the metal plates, but it seems in your posts you were trying to gain an (unfair) advantage, which is anticompetitive and against the spirit of the open, thus why other CFs are now tearing you apart like “wild beasts.” Even if it wasn’t against the rules, it was against the spirit. Deduct 15% from House Slytherin.

  8. #hanksscorematters
    We back you Hank!! So bummed and angry about this ordeal and to see our fellow crossfitters bash and name call is pathetic!!
    Great job with 16.1

  9. I guess sipping those small cups of sugar water during the workouts got to your head. Waht are you credentials again? Oh right, you made them up and scammed hundreds of people to plop their credit cards down for phone consultations and drove gyms into the ground. Does your “specific programming” eliminate plyometrics as well? Just jump over the damn bar and stop stealing from vulnerable gym owners that get bored with CrossFit.

    1. Stealing from vulnerable gym owners? Are you fucking kidding? Attracting consumers with a superior product away from a shitty one, and you call the gym owners ‘vulnerable’?. I think you mean ‘inferior’.

    2. Alex, your comment is quite slanderous. Choose your words carefully.
      OPEX never scammed anyone and their credentials are solid. I’d take them over anyone who paid $1500 to CF for a two day class to receive THEIR stamp of approval in order to go out and teach CrossFit classes to anyone who will pay for the certificate. Yes, that’s what I want, someone who fell in love with CrossFit but has horrible form, can’t teach or be a leader, has awful eating habits but had the cash to buy their Level One. Do your homework before you quite maliciously make accusations.

    3. Seriously? Surely you must be kidding. OPEX has been around lonnnnnnnng before Crossfit ever started becoming successful in the business. The fact that you’re so willing to be harsh without having a clue to how OPEX operates makes you sound ignorant. Crossfit isn’t the end all be all and OPEX has done a far better job at creating smart coaches and developing researched based program designs for their athletes. There is a reason why OPEX has never affiliated and I’m happy they don’t intend to.

  10. My first question is the same as Dave Mastro — why not just use the standard plate as expected? Whenever there’s ANY question, I always err on the side of caution. I’d rather be a couple notches further down the leaderboard than disqualified.

    My second question is — where does is say to contact the regional director if you have a question? The rules seemed pretty explicit to me that you were supposed to contact HQ, not a regional director.

    You may not have had the intent to cheat but to gain an advantage through a loophole. Unfortunately, that loophole didn’t exist because you took a wrong route (contacting the regional director instead of headquarters). You’ve now been bitten by that.

    If I were judging the videos (I did not), I would probably reject them. I think you need to accept the 15% penalty and learn from the mistake.

    1. I can certainly understand this logic Doug. We have a history of asking this person these questions not because we are given special privileges (id argue that we don’t get special privileges haha) but because we have always gotten an answer that we thought was “law.” I guess this time is different. Im struggling to understand why we are being put into the cheating category where even if your statements were spot on, this was a communication breakdown at best. Perhaps we should have asked HQ, perhaps their answer to us should have been different, but the facts do not seem to point to us maliciously trying to cheat.

  11. Nobody is falling for this bs explanation. Watch the videos. The athletes use a 5kg plate and a 5lb plate on each side. That’s 1# heavier than if they just used 3x5lb plates on each side. Why would they go with 1# heavier than they needed to on each side? Because by using kilo plates, OPEX could ask the Director if “small kilo plates” are allowed. The Director probably focused on the kilo portion of that phrase, and not the small portion. The Director was obviously confused by the question or is an idiot. But OPEX knew what they were doing.

  12. Your article comes off as extremely defensive…
    Regardless of whether you asked for permission or not, you knew the smaller plates would give your athletes an advantage during the bar-facing burpees.
    The 15% penalty is generous in my opinion.
    OPEX has been successful in the past… Follow the rules like everyone else, and keep training like you have been in year’s past.

    1. Of course the article comes of as defensive. OPEX has been attacked relentlessly over the last 24 hours. Defense is the appropriate reaction.

      You say ‘follow the rules’, but they did. What rule was broken? There wasn’t a rule regarding the diameter of plates. There was an implication, but that’s not the same thing as a rule.

  13. This should never have been an issue. At the end of the day whether or not a crossfit regional director said yes or no to your question, as a crossfit gym you shouldn’t need to take shortcuts. Ever.

  14. Regardless if you got approval or not, why game the system? You can play the he said she said game all day but in the end the reasoning was to gain an edge on your competition. Many of whom still beat your scores with standard equipment. Lungs and heart were what mattered in 16.1, not the loopholes.

  15. I’m pretty sure the rules just said, “plates.”
    It makes no mention as to the style, height, material, etc.
    I see no foul. Rather just some athletes and coaches being smart.

    Plates to load to the appropriate weight for your division
    Pull-up bar
    Measuring tape

    For each workout, be sure the athlete has adequate space to safely
    complete the workout. Clear the area of all extra equipment, people
    or other obstructions.

    *The official weight is in pounds. For your convenience, the mini
    mum acceptable weights in kilograms are 43 kg (95 lb.), 29 kg (65 l
    b.), 20 kg (45 lb.), and 15 kg (35 lb.). For the lunge, a 7.5-meter length divided into five 1.5-meter sections will be acceptable

    1. Come on dude. The point of the open is that everyone does the same workout and we find the fittest. Not that we find the person who was able to expose a loophole the best.

      1. That’s the goal of the Open for MOST people. The goal of the Open for elites is to get to the next competitive stage. Your point may hold water for the ‘just-happy-to-be-here’ participants, but any real competitor is always looking for an advantage. It’s not the competitor’s obligation to abstain from using obvious loopholes, it’s the obligation of the sport to not have them in the first place.

    2. but look at the pictures’ descriptions on that link you posted:

      “Each burpee must be performed perpendicular to and facing the barbell. THE ATHLETE’S HEAD CANNOT BE OVER THE BARBELL.The chest and thighs touch the ground at the bottom.”

      1. If you take it in the context you are saying all scaled athletes would of cheated. (barbell on the ground). Head over the barbell for me means the chin cannot de directly over the actual bar itself.

    3. Standard stated on the Open workout: “Each burpee must be performed perpendicular to and facing the barbell. The athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell. The chest and thighs touch the ground at the bottom.” No problem on the size of the plates but the athlete’s head is not over the barbell because of the size.

      1. It is my position that the standard says it all “The athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell.”
        I believe that every burpee would be a no-rep with the smaller plates if judged to this standard.
        Sorry Apex and athletes, it is definitely an unfortunate situation, and cheating is a strong word as I do not believe that was intent of the athletes, but I do believe the bar over burpees were not performed to published standard.

  16. Your question should have been
    ‘ is it ok to use small plates that make the bar lower for the burpees?’
    You skewed the question to suit your ends and I am pretty disappointed in such a quality coaching facility cheating , yes cheating this way.
    You guys are so much better than this

    1. I completely agree. The question was posed in a misleading way. Imagine going into competition and this workout appears md everyone has 25# plates except for one, it’s loaded the way this one was. Every single other athlete would be very right to argue and protest that score/workout.

  17. You asked “one guy who works for CrossFit.” You could have emailed HQ, but both of theose are a moot point because give me a fucking break with your weak technicality “we asked and mom said ok” bullshit. You shortened the height of the bar. Would you show up to a local throwdown and expect to be able to do the same thing? The fuck outta here.

    1. Hey bubbles, then don’t butterfly your pullups cuz they shorten the movement. Don’t pull your kettlebell on the swings cuz they shorten the movement. Please do the longest version of every movement possible so you can brag that you did the longest, yet not the smartest moves ever. Way to go.

  18. I can appreciate that The Open is an incredibly competitive event for the 1% or 2% who are fit enough to get to regionals and even more competitive for the smaller percentage who make it to the games so I can see why there would be a need for any kind of competitive edge. However, this post and the way the athletes in question completed the workout raises a couple of issues for me.

    Firstly, if the wording used in the blog is indeed how the question was asked to the South Regional Director it appears to be a rather leading question. “Can I use smaller kg plates?” Response – “Yes, you can as long as the weight adds up to the correct amount” However the question asked would only warrant a response in relation the OH Lunges. The Bar Facing Burpees are a separate movement with an altogether different range of movement standards that wouldn’t be met by using the smaller plates. So in fact the Regional Director wasn’t wrong in what they said, you could use smaller plates for the lunges but the Burpee standards would have to be completed on a separate bar.

    My second observation would be this; The 2016 rule book states “Any movement deemed uncommon, out of the ordinary or used to amend, shorten or change the accepted movement standard or range of motion including line of action of any event movement can and will be disallowed.” Essentially saying – if it looks weird, then it probably is weird. The question I would like to ask you at OPEX is, How often do you use smaller kg plates to make a 95lb barbell during classes? I imagine its a pretty UNCOMMON occurrence. Which would automatically violate the rule mentioned above. Using an uncommon method to achieve a similar outcome.

    Again, I can completely understand just how competitive this sport is. But in my opinion, if it looks weird (which it did), then it probably is weird and CrossFit will pick up on it.

    Best of luck with the remaining workouts.

    1. Yup. Well said. Always err on the side of caution or go straight to the authority on it. Not the regional director.

  19. Why would competitive athletes take the risk on gaming the standard in the first place? It’s shady compared to every athlete that adhered to the standard. Regardless of the communication breakdown between you and the Director and HQ, it was a lame move. Took the gamble and lost. Move on!

    1. Also point out this is the same mentality of someone who drops a barbell loaded with steel plates from overhead.

  20. When is it EVER ok to use anything OTHER THAN REGULAR PLATES when doing RX burpee over bar? You all were trying to have an unfair advantage over other athletes. Hell, by your standards, I could have used ten 2.5lb plates on each side and said that was “RX”. Even though not specified by HQ, it is understood what RX truly is. A 15% penalty isn’t enough. Kudos to your athletes who chose to do 16.1 the right way!

    1. First open and did scaled. I thought keep elbows up, lunge completely, face bar for burpees now jump like there are plates on the bar feet together. Now lunge am I nailing the form every single rep… Don’t get weak keep going … I can do this ok both feet over line… Yes ok now let’s go pull my chin over the bar. I can do this one rep at a time… This is how the open 16.1 was done. Absolutely best effort! I also no rep ‘d a few I called before judge did! I knew I didn’t quite make that rep.. No big deal I’m good I can do another rep better than that last one! This is how my mind works during the open. Not, this bar is easier to carry although the weights are the same. Carrying OH there is a difference in bar length, bigger vs smaller plates. Try carrying ladders of various types for example… Don’t cut corners! Be as good as your last Rep. CFHQ has the right to disqualify nonsense!

  21. Well expleined, but the real question is: Why use smaller kilo plates?
    The only explanation for smaller plates is to get some advantage.

  22. What you haven’t addressed: why did you want to use this “strategy” in the first place? Was it because you expected it to make the bar jump burpees easier and gain a competitive advantage thereby? If so … that’s weak. Permitted or not, it’s weak.

      1. #3 in the list of “undisputed facts” above.

        “3. When a specific OPEX athlete was challenged on her using the smaller plates she publicly responded well before the social media posts went up that we had confirmation that we could use that strategy”

  23. I do agree that because you were told by the Regional director that this should pass however, the rule book is clear. I can certainly from the video how smaller plates gave the athletes the advantage in the burpee over the bar. The real error is on the Regional director IMO for agreeing to them without asking CrossFit. It is too bad but I think that if everyone read the rule book clearly, the answer would have been no from the start. It looks like you were trying to gain an unfair advantage.

  24. Asking “can we use smaller kilo plates” and asking “can we use 2.5 kilo change plates” is not the same question. Depending on which of the above questions I was asked, I might very well give you two answers. Furthermore asking a potentially vague question and getting an answer doesn’t equate to approval of any and all methods that might fall under your vague question.

    Why not post pictures/screenshots of the correspondence? It’s kinda bizarre to post descriptions of the evidence and not the evidence itself. One could argue it’s actually closer to hearsay than to evidence.

    I’ve had my qualms with CrossFit’s rules in the past but I gotta side with them on this one. I think your idea was clever but it’s really hard to argue that it’s not “uncommon, out of the ordinary or used to amend, shorten or change the accepted movement standard.”

  25. Look, you can say you have the moral high ground, but the consensus among outsiders is clear:

    We outsiders dont care that you used plates denominated in kilograms. What we care about is that you used a combination of plates a fraction of the width of the plates used by literally every other competitor in the games to get some sort of advantage unrelated to fitness or strength.

    Surely the regional lead thought you would use KG bouncers (which may, yes, be SLIGHTLY smaller than LB bouncers), because the regional lead is a normal human being who couldn’t imagine someone using tiny metal change plates for this workout.

    Trying to frame it as though you got permission to use kilo plates *that are teeny teeny tiny change plates* is just silly.

    1. If an athlete would set up a bar like this…? Coaches and other athletes would be wondering what are you doing? It’s not in the CF standards video like this either. So, why did you think that this was ok? No one who understood what you were actually trying to do by not using the right size plates would say ok… Not even a beginner would set a bar up like this after viewing what the expectations for 16.1 are? Insulting to the integrity of Crossfitters everywhere!

  26. If you asked if you were allowed to use change plates then of course the answer is “Yes”… As long as it meets the weight total… If your question had been, “Can we use smaller diameter plates so as to circumvent the standard that everyone else is doing in the height of the burpee?!” Or if you had stated your intent for using smaller plates then I guarantee that your response would have been a resounding “No!”
    You tried to play the system and got called out for it… The weight of the barbell was never the question but the height of the jump on the burpee was where the rule of “uncommon, out of the ordinary or used to amend, shorten or change the accepted movement standard” came into play…
    Before Crossfit posted the social media stuff (which putting people who CHEAT on display is a great remedy to make sure it won’t happen again) the videos were going to be rejected by the general populace of judges… Crossfit actually saved you all from invalid videos and no scores…

  27. I’m sorry to see that the Crossfit hivemind has affected your business. I hope that rational people see that no harm was intended. If bar height was part of the workout’s requirement, it should have been stated.

    1. Sadly it was stated in the announcement. Under the picture of Julie doing a bar facing burpee it clearly states the “head can not be over the barbell”. While they might have asked permission they should have just read the rules describing the workout standards.

    1. That’s some pretty weak evidence Badger. It’s also a rather large leap to say their “gang mentality and hubris is catching up with them.”

      I’m not sure what these graphs are saying outside of more gyms are closing than before (which is not very informative). Obviously if you have more gyms in total more are going to close. What is the % of gyms closing relative to all the gyms? If you have 100 gyms and 5 close and then you have 1000 gyms and 10 close it’s sorta misleading to say “twice as many gyms are closing than before!”

      You can’t tell from these graphs whether more gyms are closing because crossfit is trending down or because there’s just more that are available to close.

      1. The interesting figure is the ratio of Gyms that are closing vs Gyms that are opening. For many years there were 1 or 2 gyms that closed for every gym that opened. In 2015 that ration jumped to almost 6 gyms closing for every 10 gyms that opened.

        The ratio of Gyms closing / Gyms opening is shown in this Graph

        In Graph, Green line (gyms opening) is trending down and the red line (gyms closing) is trending up. When those two line cross it will mean that more gyms are closing then are opening.

      2. The interesting figure is the ratio of Gyms that are closing vs Gyms that are opening. For many years there were 1 or 2 gyms that closed for every 10 gyms that opened. In 2015 that ration jumped to almost 6 gyms closing for every 10 gyms that opened.

        The ratio of Gyms closing / Gyms opening is shown in this Graph

        In Graph, Green line (gyms opening) is trending down and the red line (gyms closing) is trending up. When those two line cross it will mean that more gyms are closing then are opening. That is a critical point in the life cycle of CrossFit.

  28. I like burpees! Burpees over the bar and burpees under the bar. Burpees with big plates and burpees with small plates. Burpees are great! This is madness!

  29. While I am not a fan of The Man… There is a movement standard for the burpees over the bar in the WOD description. “Each burpee must be performed perpendicular to and facing the barbell. The athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell. The chest and thighs touch the ground at the bottom.”

  30. HQ doesn’t specify that a band cannot be used for pull ups or that I can’t stand on a 5 foot box to do wall balls but anyone who looks at it would say, “that’s not right”. Unfortunate for the athletes who worked hard and were misled by their coaches/owner.

  31. As others have stated, in the workout description it clearly states “THE ATHLETES HEAD CANNOT BE OVER THE BARBELL”, sorry mate you guys are in the wrong no matter how many people you asked.

    1. I’ve actually seen several videos of people using the appropriate size plates and their head was still over bar height while doing burpees. If you’re going to use this as a justification, they need to go around docking 15% or disqualifying a ton of athletes.

  32. So last year OPEX’s team had members skip the metcon on 15.1 just to clean and jerk on 15.1a to artificially inflate their score. Benefit of the doubt is waived from the general public when it’s a repeat offense. Plus, I don’t see any screenshots of actual conversations that took place.

    Integrity is not something that can be taught.

    Hey though I bet they’re gonna get a lot more people to pay for their programming since many more people are visiting the site as a result of all this…

  33. the intent was to deceive and gain an advatage having said that crossfit regularly employs the dana white method on the ultimate fighter of making up rules week by week

  34. its pretty simple: athletes tried to make the workout easier, to gain an unfair advantage. Had the question been asked “can we lower the bar height for burpees by using change plates” guaranteed the regional director would have said “no”.

  35. It’s clear you asked permission to use smaller diameter weights to gain an advantage on the burpee over bar.
    Asking permission to cheat is still cheating.
    Just do it as it’s written and hold standards stop trying to game it.

    1. Scaled 16.1 and still made sure I did bar facing burpee jumps feet together over bar. What’s your excuse? I know that I need to jump as high as if two plates were on that bar? Yes, it’s supposed to be challenging!

  36. You guys are all forgetting something. The open is supposed to give EVERYBODY a chance to compete. You shouldn’t have to be part of an affiliate and have bumper plates to compete. Remember the video from a couple of years ago…the guy in Tibet doing an open WOD…it was awesome..sun setting…using a bar and cement blocks as the weight. Thats the spirit of crossfit. Use whatever the hell you have…and get it done. If specific height was required…you should have had to measure up to the bar…but it wasn’t…so you shouldn’t penalize them for something that wasn’t thought of. Smart on OPEX’s part. Like when Jim used steps ups instead of Jump Ups in a Wod. Then everybody else started doing it. Just shows he is ahead of the game…and not a sheep. But I guess its business…makes sense to have the guy in Tibet to have to order a load of bumper plates from ROGUE…so he can compete in the open and place 46,552 in the world. Just sad in someways. I wish they had performed 16.1 at a Garage Gym…would have like to see how that would have worked out.

  37. Ok in what sport is someone not trying to game it to run faster, skate faster, or score more points? I give OPEX credit, even if their intention was not to game it they did a great job. I think it’s ridiculous for Crossfit to give them a penalty. If I develop a jump rope that spins faster than the rope the demo used, do I get a penalty? If I come up with a technique that’s quicker than butterfly pull-ups that no one at Crossfit has seen, do I get a penalty? Crossfit is a sport is it not? One of the best parts of sports is someone developing a new way to do something better than the last guy. Crossfit definition from Crossfit Inc. ” constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains” hmmm which part of that did the OPEX athletes not do….way to go OPT…I tip my hat to you….Castro…well your Castro.

  38. You guys are all forgetting something. The open is supposed to give EVERYBODY a chance to compete. You shouldn’t have to be part of an affiliate or have bumper plates to compete. Remember the video from a couple of years ago…the guy in Tibet doing an open WOD…it was awesome..sun setting…using a pipe and cement blocks as the weight. Thats the spirit of crossfit!! Use whatever the hell you have…and get it done. If specific height was required…you should have had to measure up to the bar…but it wasn’t…so you shouldn’t penalize them for something that wasn’t thought of. Smart on OPEX’s part. Like when Jim used steps ups instead of Jump Ups in a Wod. Then everybody else started doing it. Just shows he is ahead of the game…and not a sheep. But I guess its business…makes sense to have the guy in Tibet to have to order a load of bumper plates from ROGUE…so he can compete in the open and place 46,552 in the world. Just sad in someways. I wish they had performed 16.1 at a Garage Gym…would have like to see how that would have worked out.

    1. That was 14.5 and what is omitted here is that the guy in Tibet (Bhutan actually, but whatever) also had to do bar facing burpees but improvised that by setting up a board equivalent to the height of the bar so he had to jump over the same height as everyone else. There is improvising and gaming. That was an example of the former.

  39. The standard for bar facing burpees is that the bar has to be 9.5 inches above the ground. That standard was specified and established in the 2011 CF open workout 11.4 and again for 14.5. The phrasing of the question directed to the South West regional director was not clear . Whether it was deliberately evasive or not doesn’t really matter. It’s a lack of communication that began with CF HQ. HQ failed to clearly indicate the 9.5 in standard on 16.1 that it had specified on previous open workouts. But As a team that has participated in every CF open (OPT/OPEX) you were aware of the previously established standard and clearly picked up on HQ’s lapse. So you asked a question with language that could have been easily misinterpreted. deliberate or not it doesn’t matter. Ask yourself this question. If you asked the south West director “can we use plates smaller in diameter to standard bumper plates so our athletes don’t have to jump as high?” what do you think their response would have been? you called it a “strategy” so you were clearly trying to exploit HQ’s lapse in communication and bypass a standard that is known and accepted. Was it cheating? yes sorta, but not malicious, more careless. It’s a passive aggressive way to cheat. Should you be vilified for it? no. penalized? yes. should HQ have handled it differently? maybe, but they have always publicly stated who has violated their rulebook whether it pertains to movement standards or doping policy. I like OPEX and liked OPT before it was OPEX. I think James is an amazing coach and the type of evolving thinker that fitness, in all its competitive, functional, abstract varieties needs more people like him. I’m sure he imparts some of that on his coaches and athletes. Just don’t give Dave Castro a chance to make you his example.

    1. I Agree with your comments. If the question was asked “Can we use the smaller kilo plates?” Then it is most likely that the representative assumed they meant smaller thickness. If the question was asked “Can we use the smaller diameter plates, reducing the height of the bar?” and the answer was yes, then they should not be penalized, just a little ashamed.

    2. Wouldn’t Noah Ohlsen using a women’s bar with a 25# and 5# on each side constitute cheating as well. According to HQ, anyone who used “uncommon or out of the ordinary” strategies to gain a competitive advantage is cheating. Certainly a male competitor like Noah Ohlsen would not be able to use a women’s 35# bar for the OH lunges. Yes the weight was still 95# but certainly the smaller diameter bar would be less taxing on your grip in the overhead position, saving your forearms for C2Bs. Would a male competitor using a women’s bar not constitute “out of the ordinary and uncommon?”

  40. A follow-on: Using the OPEX standard of “If it’s not written, then it must be ok” Then why not set bar in a hole so there is not height to clear?

  41. Gotta love the Anonymous hard guys here. Thanks for the explanation. Hard to believe anyone would characterize this as cheating. Asking for permission, knowing you are going to have to post a video, that you know will be scrutinized…doesn’t sound like cheating to me. Just sounds like someone competing by what they think are approved (albeit) clever standards. I thought of this strategy myself but didn’t have a bar I wanted to drop from overhead:) and personally thought that placing my nice Eleico on a bed of rose petals after each lunge set, would take too long. Keep fighting the good fight OPEX.

  42. I tell you what. Being a Master, I did 16.1 at my box on Fridas, got a descent score, but didnt feel good about it the day I performed. My box is always closed on sundays. I was going to redo it at my house where I have small metal 25 lbs plates. and filme it to submit a better score. But I knew it was an unfair advantage, so I just stuck with the first score.. The point is If this being my first games participation and I have enough Judgment to discerne between an unfair advantage, You guys have been around much longer to believe that it was ok. the only malice from CFIT HQ. is the public posts calling you all CHEATERS. But you know better. I strong believe that an unfair playing field seeking an advantageous edge, was portrayed.. AND to think that they are only giving you a 15 % rep penalty , it is a slap in the wrist. I seen members at my box having their videos submissions being rejected just for not being filmed at a good angle..

  43. Tough workout to get dinged for but you knew better. Hard to believe otherwise. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test and I am all about the community aspect. Agree these could have easily been DQd. The judge made a mistake. The top 3 corrected that mistake. Sorry, not trying to be a jerk but they did less work than everyone else.

  44. I believe you have a valid case for a slander and defamation lawsuit, and may be entitled to compensarion for damage to your business and brand. I understand the issue, and beleive the guidance you got was poor. But THAT was the guidance you received…you followed the rules for nontypical movement and were given a ruling per the rules…to subsequently accuse you of cheating is slanderous and unfair to the athletes.

  45. Regardless of whether you could or couldn’t, why would u even ask?!?! Did any other boxes ask? No because they have respect for the tradition of the Open & the spirit and integrity of competition. Where everyone competes equally, not looking for a loophole to give their athletes and unfair advantage. You athletes names are getting dragged through the mud for good reason, because they deserve it! Your athletes prolly got a lot more rounds than I did. But atleast I jumped over a bar that had two rubber 45# plates on both ends!

  46. I would imagine that anybody posting comments chiding Opex for exploiting ‘loopholes’ or looking for an ‘unfair advantage’ has never sat through an athlete briefing at Regionals or the Games. If not, it’s basically an hour of 100+ elite athletes asking various forms of the question “is it okay if I ‘cheat’ by doing X”. OF COURSE elite athletes are looking for a a competitive edge. Anybody that’s butthurt about the tainting of the competitive balance or the magical community is a ‘participant’ in the Open. That’s a BIG difference than being a competitor.

    Froning dropped the bar behind him to win a photo finish at Regionals in 2014. Then they changed the rules for future Regionals weekends. Neal Maddox crushed the sled push at the games because he figured out how to tilt the sled to create less friction. Then they (tried to) change the rules BETWEEN HEATS. But neither were penalized after the fact. It’s not a competitor’s obligation to avoid obvious loopholes. It’s the sports obligation not to have them in the first place.

  47. just read their opex-culture. honesty and integrity – I do not think those words mean what they think they mean.

  48. I’m not a games athlete or even close! I have completed this work out twice and the height of the jump would not have gave me one extra rep!! The weight above your head takes your shoulders out. The chest to bar does the same and increases your heart rate. The burpees just finish of what little
    Shoulders you have left and shoot your heart rate to the roof!! If anyone thinks these guys got 15% more output I want you to think about this. Score of 250×15% extra=37.5 reps!! That’s
    Stupid!! If they asked let it go and admit someone from headquarters screwed up!!! These guys spend hours working out, meal prepping and pay a lot of money for extra training! They wouldn’t submit a video cheating if they thought they were cheating!

  49. I doubt the intent was to cheat. Harsh words. Not a bad thing that someone uses their brain to think of that. It is up to Crossfit to set out better more precise standards vs. using such ambiguous rules. This way there would be no need to check with anyone and it is clear to everyone.

    I feel that Dave Castro could of acted much more mature and also should be embarrassed by his behavior with this situation.

    Hope you can all work it out, and best of luck to all the OPEX athletes , as well as all the affiliate athletes during the Open.

  50. Nice.

    Except you actually LEFT OUT the fact that you wrote this verbatim in your OPEN PREP GUIDE that you sell.

    “YOUR DISCRETION – you could use 5lb or 5kg plates as opposed to bumper plates. It will lower the bounce on the barbell and it will lower the height that you are jumping over the bar. For 80+ burpees that few inches will make a large difference. Make sure to check the rules.”

  51. In my opinion, what the athletes in the video, was go against the spirit of the competition. You thought you found a loophole and then exploited it. Do your athletes typically load up a bar that way? Have they ever? And then you try to justify your actions by pointing out other people’s flaws in other workouts. Take ownership and don’t try and blame others.

  52. You should of just done the workout like everyone else in the world. You were sneaky to try to get and advantage. Lucky only get 15% taken away.

  53. This is what you wrote verbatim in your Open Prep Guide that you sell though? You knew about this loophole and asked to cheat, doesn’t make it okay.

    “YOUR DISCRETION – you could use 5lb or 5kg plates as opposed to bumper plates. It will lower the bounce on the barbell and it will lower the height that you are jumping over the bar. For 80+ burpees that few inches will make a large difference. Make sure to check the rules.”

  54. As a follower of OPT/OPEX and someone who has sat through your seminars I feel that public slander was totally unnecessary. Did you do something that altered a movement? Yeah, sure. However, look at CrossFit movement standards in general. A box jump would only specific that the athlete had to be extended at the top, nothing about the feet leaving the ground. Same with burpees over bar. Stepping was easier, so people did it until the rule changed. HSPUs is another one. My point is, sure there’s a general catch all, but if you want a movement done an EXACT way then you need to specify that. (There’s also a general article in the UCMJ. Ask anyone in the military, that’s the one they get you on when they can’t get you on any actual rules). You guys still crushed it!

  55. Meanwhile- did your athletes and gym members sign anything that allowed CrossFit or Dave Castro to use their videos or photography publicly in social media? Did they have music copyright to post those videos? Just wondering, seems like an illegal act pales to a penalty during a lil workout session.

  56. I am an affiliate owner and I have a couple regional athletes. Although I can see your point of view, I personally would never allow my athletes to try and gain an advantage this way. It’s clearly not the CrossFit standard. Base your movements and standards off what you see in regionals and the games. I feel bad that you guys got slammed on social media, and I feel bad for your athletes that chose to use this method and will receive the deduction. I would take the blame on that as a coach. It is clear you were trying to get your athletes an advantage by doing less range of motion on a movement. You had to know you were taking a risk and possibly setting yourself up for penalty. Why chance it? Your athletes deserve better. Just my opinion. Best of luck to you all

  57. Why did you even have to ask? Because you knew it was different than the specified standards…suggesting it COULD cause a problem…

  58. what is opex’s intention of using kilo or small plates if it were not to get around the jumping. It’s not like your gym can’t accommodate bumper plates due to shortage. you guys just had to do something different? why?

  59. Actually, if you read the standard, it says “Each burpee must be performed perpendicular to and facing the barbell. The athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell. The chest and thighs touch the ground at the bottom.” Emphasis on “The athlete’s head cannot be over the barbell.” Please check here:

    With this setup, it should just not be 15% penalty. These are clearly no rep’s regardless of the height of the plates.

    1. As I commented on a previous post citing this, look at videos of almost EVERY crossfit athlete completing 16.1…or doing burpees over bar period. A portion of their head is above the bar in practically every video. That would mean almost all of these athletes should be no-repped and penalized/disqualified. That portion of the rule makes no sense.

  60. Here’s how I see it: Was there intent by OPEX to deceive? Probably not. That’s subject to opinion, and different people see it different ways. But did it violate the rules? Yes. Should they be rewarded for doing a WOD that wasn’t completely proper? No. They did receive an unfair advantage.

    So what I think should have happened is that the moment HQ became aware of the invalid submissions, they should have notified OPEX that they were rejecting each of the submissions where the smaller plates were used. However, in this circumstance, to immediately DQ or treat them as zero scores is far too severe a penalty, and I also wouldn’t just assess a blanket 15% penalty.

    Instead, each athlete who submitted a rejected WOD would get an additional 24 hours to do the WOD again. If they do it again, using proper plates, they get their new score, but not to exceed the score they originally submitted. (That way, they don’t get a benefit of submitting a better score after they’ve seen what everyone else did.) If they get a lower score, that lower score becomes their accepted score, the theory being that maybe their score was lower due to having a lower height to jump over.

    If the athlete is unable to perform the WOD again within that 24 hour period, for whatever reason, then their original score is accepted, but with each burpee counted as a no-rep. Yeah, that part is pretty severe, but I think it is more than compensated for by the fact that they are getting a chance to submit a score that has no penalty at all.

    What do you think of this? Obviously it’s too late to put into place now, but I think it’s pretty fair to everyone.

  61. It’s not just work harder, it’s work smarter — shame on HQ with the public shaming. Don’t they have bigger issues. Give the penalties and move along. No one needs to feed the Sharks who drink the Cool aide. Also, head sizes are different– how the hell did that become a way of measurements. If it was to be technical then use a set increment. This was sloppy & no responsibility to that is a shame. A loophole is a loophole– and when it’s in your advantage your doing it. The problem is there is no responsibility on CrossFit’s part.

    Screw, Regionals and go into powerlifting. Just saying!

  62. Anybody watching that video think it was 15% easier to skip over the bar rather than jump?

    Nearly 31% of the workout was a burpee over bar. I’d say suck it up and be grateful you only got a 15% reduction.

    On that note, the rules state your head can’t be above the bar during the burpee. Unless you have a shrunken head like Naughty Beetle Juice, it’s a No Rep:-). Doesn’t matter who you ask.

    Sometimes strategies backfire… Especially when you miss important information that was right there the whole time. I don’t think you intended to cheat by the way. I think you made the mistake of oversight. And you bypassed the ‘slow’ channel of proceeds by getting prior HQ approval and asked your established CrossFit insider. Sort of. You made a time-sensitive decision and it backfired.

    Next time, just be better than this. Seriously… Just be better. Not smarter. In the long run you’ll be admired for the combination more than the either/or.

  63. if you were coaching an athlete and included burpees over bar in their programming and saw them loading a bunch of small plates to make it lower you laugh at them for being a bitch. the purpose of the open is to compare athletes worldwide doing the exact same workout. just admit you were wrong for even asking in the first place

    1. Exactly, athletes would laugh. Coaches would question and then we would all wait impatiently while you and others set up the bar correctly. No one has a problem calling no rep. Come ready to do the Open Wod. Did you see standards? Watch video? Have questions? No nonsense, 3…2…1… Let’s go!

  64. If you thought using weights like this was legit, that’s comedy gold. Have you ever seen this usage done like this in the regionals or games? I certainly haven’t. You know why? Because a tea cup Yorkie takes craps higher than what you had the bar setup for 16.1. Your intent was to take the easy way and you failed miserably. A 15% docking is light. If I were HQ I’d make your scores 0.

  65. I have always been told, “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking” changing the bar height is not normal, changes the range of motion and is not inline with the spirit of the games. I agree with many who state that the 15% penalty is generous, when your athletes probably should have been DQ’d. Funny how y’all were busted last year too. The rule book says ask HQ, someone gave you bad information, it’s your fault for not asking the true authority.

  66. Our box used small weights for the ladies. They had a platform at the burpee end that raised the bar to the height it would be if using bumpers. Reaching the end of the lunge the athlete had to position the bar on the platform and then perform the burpees – simple. Why didn’t you just do that if your intention was not in any way to gain an advantage by using smaller plates?

  67. Just because you asked still doesn’t make it right.

    Your video clearly shows bumper plates UNUSED in the background. This tells me that you are, indeed, trying to game the system for a measly few extra reps.

    Despite asking, this does show a character flaw in your gym. Why even ask? You clearly have the equipment available to do it as prescribed and as demoed.

    Repeating that you asked 1,000x doesn’t change this fact– your gym and the specific athletes who did it this way CHOSE to do less work with sub-standard equipment despite having normal, CrossFit demoed equipment available for use.

    To be honest: I would not join your gym because of this. And I think that your post blaming CrossFit for a poor decision on your part is not going to help your gym, either. If you take an inch once and aren’t “caught,” you’ll try to take a mile next time.

    1. this was their “next time”. they cheated last year as well. apparently integrity doesn’t mean as much to them as they’d have you believe.

  68. I understand your sentiment, however I can the flaw in your process in your first paragraph.

    You should have directed your enquiry directly to the relevant contact at Asking a Regional Director if it’s okay is not the same asking Head Office. Saying you asked CrossFit Inc is a bit of a stretch and I think you are fortunate to be penalised 15% rather than have your team banned outright.

    Good luck with the rest of the Games season.

  69. Jim Cromwell. I am nobody in charge of nothing. But my 2 cents just because. Did you guys cheat I say no cause the blame has been shifted to this regional director person who was asked. Now I fall back to a life lesson from childhood. If you have to ask if it’s ok, it’s probably not. That feeling that you should ask is your conscience warning you that you mAy be approaching an ethical line in the sand. There is no doubt that the purpose of these smaller plates was to gain an advantage over the masses that would assumably be using standard bumpers So are your athletes cheaters?? Meh. not sure about that. But they knew they were straddling a line of breaking the rules and that should have been enough to error on the side of caution and use the “assumed” standard.

  70. I started Crossfit when regionals were held in a field and teams could just register and “show up”, when there were individual regional athletes who “qualified” doing ring dips modified on a band – I miss that Crossfit, the one I was so proud to be a part of. I’m not proud to be a Crossfitter today – not because Opex “cheated” but because the brand I love so much, the community I love so much and have believed to be supportive and philanthropic and awesome has chosen to publicly blast and humiliate other Crossfit athletes. These athletes weren’t shaving their reps, weren’t carrying the bars on their backs rather than overhead, weren’t doing jumping pullups – they worked just as hard as you and me. Shame on you Crossfit and shame on you to everyone that has jumped on the shaming and name calling bandwagon – in my eyes the only people who aren’t “real” Crossfitter’s are you. Good luck to Opex and all the TRUE Crossfit athletes who understand that Crossfit and the games are about being physically and mentally tough and SUPPORTING those around you who are working to make themselves better everyday – not about money or winning a competition or small plates.

  71. Alright, enough is enough!!! This all goes back to that little voice telling you what’s is right and wrong!! I’m a Big OPT fan from the beginning; but would this work out ever be set up at a competition in this manner??? No because it would be unfair to the person next to them with the proper set up!!!!!! Did you all send pictures of what you intended to do??? In all reality put the shoe on the other foot!! It’s like doing a work out and not counting your reps correctly!!!!! James I know you and your methodology and you would flip out if you caught one of your athletes shorting reps in training!!! There is nothing good that can come from doing this!!!! James and OPEX team I love you guys ; but please????????

  72. I think the bigger issue that I haven’t seen one person address here is that there was NO bar height requirement mentioned in the rules or on the score sheet. None. HQ does a pretty good job defining target heights for other movements (i.e. Wall ball, box jump, etc). It was an oversight from HQ standards. They should have brought it to attention that they overlooked it and given people a chance to resubmit a score with the defined standard OR take a 15% penalty to their score. They should not have slandered a gym’s name or their athletes. Where is the “spirit of the games” in that? If the argument is bar height then why were scaled athletes allowed to hop an empty bar? You could have very easily used the scaled weight on a lighter bar with training bumpers to achieve this so-called “height standard” that everyone has this unwritten rule about.

    The movement standard was to jump over a bar. Which they did.

    They asked for clarification of the movement and were granted permission. They didn’t cheat out of malice. They sought efficiency. Which isn’t that how the kipping and butterfly pull-ups evolved? That seems to be an acceptable standard now with no questions asked.

  73. These are great principles:

    “We believe success begins with taking personal responsibility for our actions and holding ourselves accountable to results.”

    “We are committed to a culture of honesty and integrity for the betterment of our Clients, Coaches and Community.”

    “We commit to practice being open minded and fostering open communication.”

    You should try following them.

  74. With the logic of Opex saying “what rules were broken”, maybe we could all have done 16.1 on a trampoline or kids bouncy castle? As no where did it say you had to do the walking lunges on a hard floor. Bottom line is its harsh to be called cheating for this but it’s grey area or just sounds wrong then it’s not the risk. Or at least give yourself enough time to redo the workout.

  75. Jim Cromwell…you sir are a liar and a coward!! You complained about a team gaming a GHD workout at the games and beating your team and you tried to do the same thing by cheating and giving your athletes an advantage. You clearly had intent and malice in your strategy to cheat on 16.1. For my part, I would have DQ’d all of your athletes that cheated. Feel fortunate that Castro only gave them a 15% penalty. Cheating and trying to gain an advantage catches up to every athlete, even Games Champions. In 2014, during the 3 rounds of 1 rep max overhead squat, I do not believe CLB got low enough on her third round, but the judge counted it. She paid that price in 2015 when she was no-rep’d three times on the speed snatch squat ladder. Everyone who tries to push the edge to gain and advantage eventually gets caught and you got caught. Take your punishment like a man and stop whining to everyone.

  76. Has anyone EVER heard of someone addressing a Crossfit issue with a REGIONAL DIRECTOR other than at Regionals? Me either.

  77. The number of commenters who are upset or perplexed about athletes trying to gain a competitive advantage in a competition is astounding to me. Of course they are trying to gain a competitive advantage — they want to win. What is silly is deciding that ‘competitive advantage’ and ‘cheating’ are synonymous. Just follow that logic to its conclusion, folks: Knee wraps? Cheating. Wrist wraps? Cheating. Chalk? Cheating. Any kind of compression clothing? Cheating. Specialized footwear? Cheating. Using Progenex? Still a handicap, sorry.

    1. Congrats on having the logical process of a four year old. Not all sins are created equal. This is like saying “Steroids are okay if aspirin is okay, they’re both pills!”

      Gaining a competitive advantage by breaking the rules is cheating. Period.

  78. Can I use a 20 inch box instead of a 24? Stupid ?…and this is a group of top level coaches and athletes. This was either an attempt to cheat or start a lawsuit.

    1. Did they use less weight than was required? No? Then the comparison between this and knocking off 4″ for box jumps is a bad one.

      1. They are two different movements David. They didn’t knock off weight for their lunges, but they are knocking off inches for their burpees….which makes it a perfect comparison.

  79. -The movement definitions did not mention bar height. OPEX asked about for a definition by asking if they could use smaller plates, they were told by a CrossFit representative that they could. Tell me how this is any different than any other type of clarification? I think a good example would be when CrossFit used to call it the Snatch in workouts, but because people were not performing proper snatches (i.e. press outs) they started using the description “ground to overhead” vs “snatch” as way differentiate the movement expectation. The same can be said about strict pullups vs pullups as mentioned by TMac above.

    -Regardless of whether you think it was fair or not, OPEX was granted a definition by CrossFit that they then used, therefore they did NOT cheat. They followed the definition they were given and posted the videos, only later did CrossFit decide this was against the rules.

    -Many are saying that the Regional Director was not an appropriate person to ask, how is OPEX, a CrossFit outsider, supposed to know that? The Regional Director should have been the one to say “Im not qualified to make the decision on that, you will need to speak directly with CrossFit HQ”.

    -In any sport, the onus is ALWAYS on the governing body to issue the rules in a way that allows for fair competition. If their rules allow a loophole that competitors exploit, its not the athletes fault, its the governing body’s.

    -We had a very similar issue last year with 15.1. People only posted 1 rep in 15.1 so that they could be rested for 15.1a. Nothing in the rules said this was not allowed, there was no minimum reps noted for 15.1. Yet CrossFit inc, in all their infinite wisdom, decided to retroactively penalize the athletes that did this.

    -The cynic in me cant help but wonder if the level of inflammatory rhetoric directed at OPEX by CrossFit Inc has anything to do with OPEX being a competitor. What if an OPEX athlete wins the games? Does that mean that CrossFit is no longer the best way to create the “fittest person on earth”?

  80. How many of you naysayers used lifting shoes for your overhead lunges? Show me in the rules where it says you can do that? Oh, it doesn’t? I guess you should lose 15% of your reps too.

    Do rules represent what can be done or what cannot?

  81. I think that you did violate the standards because your head would be over the bar with the shorter distance. However, there is no harm in asking questions for further clarification and I would certainly take a competitive advantage if it was granted by the authorities, no matter the contest.

    I am astounded that you are being penalized. You were given permission from an employee of the company. This is their biggest event of the year. Every employee should be well versed on the standards and know the answer to every odd ball question that comes their way. You were not fooling anyone by your wording. That guy who gave you permission knew why you were asking this to gain an advantage. He is not an idiot.

    The person who gave you permission is at fault. Now perhaps, it was not made clear to him that this would be a violation. However, if he was not 100% sure, he should have cleared this with HQ before responding. But the bottom line is, he did say Yes.

    Here is the solution:

    1) Reprimand (Not fire) the employee who gave permission. He made a mistake and should be reprimanded as any employee who makes a big mistake in a company would be. Then make sure that every employee knows the standards or refers all questions to HQ for the rest of the workouts.

    2) You were in violation. The standards say your head can’t be over the bar. But they messed up and need to own this. They need to allow your gym to redo the workouts with the bumper plates instead of issuing a penalty.

    3) An apology should be issued. Your brand has been tarnished as a result of this incident. We as crossfitters tend to forget that CrossFit HQ and the local boxes are businesses. They need to be run like a business and issues need to handled professionally. If any of my employees made a big mistake like this, I would follow this exact protocal…

    1) “You screwed up and here is your consequence……”
    2) Now let’s devise a plan to eliminate this from happening in the future.
    3) Now how can we make amends with the affected customer?

    1. The OP is getting it twisted. They never got permission for what they did. They made a plan to game the rules, asked a question that gave them an avenue to claim they “technically” got permission (and even then, it’s a stretch to imply that “smaller kilo plates” is the same as “change plates”), and then they executed their plan to gain an advantage in a way that breaks the spirit and letter of the law. people can say “cheat” is a harsh word but that is the **definition** of what cheating is.

  82. And one more thing (maybe this was mentioned somewhere else in the stream), why did HQ specifically state a 9.5″ height requirement for bar facing burpees in 14.5 but nothing in 16.1? Which time were they correct and which time were they in error? Or is it up to us to infer that they meant to set the same standard in 14.5 as in 16.1?

  83. I am curious, why did you want to use smaller plates? did you do it so it would be easier to jump over the bar? If that was the reason, it would be an easier workout for your athletes than for athletes using bumpers wouldn’t it? It seems you gave up a little integrity if that’s the case.

  84. I think it really unfortunate that Opex took this avenue… OPEX was well aware of what they were asking. Considering your brand and how good of a training program you have developed, why would you risk that for a loophole that would of course warrent negative attention? The sad part is, going forward ALL Opex athletes will be now under a microscope. Hopefully for you this will be forgotten in 24hrs. Just like any other news story.

  85. Is it mandatory now that you must have bumpers to compete in the open? What about the kid in his basement using York Cement Weights cause he can’t afford bumpers? He can’t compete?

  86. I agree with some comments that “cheating” is maybe too strong but only on a technicality and why would you want that?
    You so proudly say you have had hundreds of athletes at regionals, so why cut corners? Why not let your fitness do the talking?
    I’m never going to be a regional athlete but I was I’d want it to be because I was the fittest I could be, not because I was the most sneaky after crossfit is about being the fittest.
    Anyone who claims this is unfair treatment is such a huge hypocrit because you were being unfair in your decision to even try this.
    Boo hoo some one at hq made a mistake, two wrongs don’t make a right. You should of trusted your coaching and fitness instead of trying to seek loopholes. Hell I know one gym where the members had to do lunges in the car park then walk up stairs into the gym for pull ups!!!! And here is you lowering the butler bar!!! Get a grip!

  87. right or wrong? Good question. So, if Opex got permission to use the smaller plates, why didn’t that clarification of the rules (Crossfit’s Responsibility) get published to everyone? I heard about the Opex recommendation and checked the rules. It was pretty clear that in the 16.1 rules, guidance or whatever you want to call it, there was no requirement to use standard plates on the bar. So, my thought was well perhaps Crossfit has previously defined standards for a bar facing burpee. Sure enough in the 2011 open a minimum bar height of 9.5″ was prescribed if you did not have standard size bumper plates. Right or wrong there is clearly a situation where some athletes received a significant scoring advantage over others. If you needed this advantage to succeed in 16.1 how well will you perform in 16.2-16.5 or at regionals?

  88. Here is the real question. Why did OPEX want to use the smaller plates in the first place? It’s pretty clear – to shorten the range of motion for the bar jump – and shortening the range motion is against the rules.

    If “someone” at “Regional HQ” told you that was OK, and you believed that person when the rulebook clearly says it’s not OK, you are stupid.

  89. I am not taking a side here – but all you people referencing the “head over the bar” rule, I am pretty sure that is in reference to the burpee being performed BEHIND the bar, such that the head isn’t actually over the bar – And not a rule reflecting the necessity of the head to be lying flat on the ground such that it doesn’t pass the “extended plane” of the barbell at 9.5”. Burpee standard is chest/hips touch ground, and back up. Nothing about the head, except that it has to be behind the bar.

    Regardless, this doesn’t address the advantage of a lower jump… just trying to clarify what i believe was meant by the head not over the bar rule

  90. I liked Aaron’s response on your FB

    “You obviously had the equipment to perform it as shown. No video has ever been instructed using metal plates. You can very easily see the height difference from using bumper plates, opposed to metal plates. You then can go and read the rules…that changing the height or function of the not allowed. Did this change the height/distance? Sure did. You had 2 different athletes doing it in the video, and had all of the bumpers right in the middle for the world to see. What I don’t understand is why it was ever thought to be a good idea to drop metal plates on a bar like that, and why you’d want to jump a shorter height…but bend down farther to pick up the bar? Didn’t an OPEX Fitness athlete get busted for something on 15.1 / 15.1a? My personal opinion doesn’t matter if you’re opex or crossfit, just do the damn workout. You know you’re going to be looked at even harder…so why bother?”

    Reading the rest of the comments here…why did you ask the regional director…OF THE CROSSFIT GAMES? This is the open. Also states that these questions need to go through CrossFit HQ. If you wanted to make sure this wouldn’t happen..why didn’t you ask the,? Did ALL of your OPEX athletes use metal plates, or did some use bumpers? Why don’t you instruct the athletes to all perform the workout the same way?

  91. cheat
    gerund or present participle: cheating
    act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination.

  92. Just my 2c, I understand you were told you could do it, but in my opinion, if you have to ask, don’t do it. After watching the video, it’s clear that your purposely shortening the range of the jump. That can’t be denied. I think what Crossfit did was wrong in publicizing the video and claimed it to be cheating. Even if it would have been truly cheating, have some professionalism and pull the athlete and gym aside and have a conversation instead of smearing both of their images and reputations. My heart goes out to you and your athletes.

  93. Forget about contacted HQ, you had a judge there, you can see him in the video…he took a test to judge the open and It is his responsibility to explain the standards, he is the one that screwed up by calling out “good reps”

  94. Why? Just why? I’ll keep asking this question because I just can’t understand the reason to use smaller plates???? cheating or not… Strategy or not…. Playing smart or playing dumb…. Whatever was the intention instead of excusing yourself saying that you guys asked HQ you should just try to explain to the whole Crossfit community, the people like me, who work our ass off, the reason behind using smaller plates, the reason behind the need to jump a few less inches, the reason why “top” athletes couldn’t use bumper standard plates, or jump a 9.5in target..
    So please WHY?

  95. just a genuine question for OPEX here.
    I get that this post is in defence of the accusation of cheating by dave castro, and OPEX are trying to clarify that it was explained to them that the use of smaller plates was permissible, and that there must have been some kind of communication breakdown. I mean its not even that big a deal, its not like these athletes are going to regionals right? but what i’m more interested in (and would like a response from OPEX) is ‘why would you even want to use the smaller plates?’ i mean, what would be the purpose in wanting to use the smaller plates? you wouldn’t want to use smaller plates if we were doing 75 cleans for time right?

    1. This is exactly my question. Don’t want to re-ask it, just want to follow this part of the thread. I really don’t understand the rationale behind “why bother”. No need to go outside the norm right? Niko makes a decent point next though – would this have received as much attention on social media if it were an actual affiliate? Hmmm…

  96. This is not cheating. This is CrossFit attacking OPEX and using the fact that they are not a CrossFit affiliate to justify this action. This wouldn’t happen if OPEX were a CF affiliate.

    Now consider this: if there was a gym in europe, a new box that only had 20kg barbells for everyone from Eleiko. The prescribed weight for women was 29kg. The gym doesn’t have full diameter plates for smaller than 5kg. So the athlete loads the bar with 2×2,5kg and 2x2kg plates for 29kg. Small diameter plates. Is this cheating? For instance in Germany there are places where you’d have to travel like 200km to the next CF box to do the open. So should this person quit doing the open in fear of being deemed a cheater? I know a lot of affiliates like this. We had this problem two years ago.

    1. You can say all the “what if’s” you want but the fact is OPEX had the equipment and willfully decided not to use it.

    2. I come from Finland, Reebok CrossFit 33100 in Tampere. We didn’t have proper weights for all the female athletes to go with 29kg, so we gave them 30kg. IF we had someone really pushing for the spot at the Regionals, she would have had that 29kg, for shure! Same with the guys: We had bars loaded up to 40kg’s, then 2*1,25 + 2*0,5 = 43,5kg. Same here, potential Regional athlete would have had exact 43kg on the bar.

      Ps. It would be bad decision for a new gym to only have 20kg bars 😉

  97. Bottom line … smaller plates make the jump easier. Other than not having bumper plates available … there is NO logical reason NOT to use the regular bumper plates. It was clearly a way to gain an edge regardless as to how the regional director answered this question. Swaying the attention to the he said-she said game is ridiculous! The real question is … “why ask this question anyway? What is the reason for using the smaller metal plates?” THOSE 2 questions are the real issue! I’m sure these athletes can do perfectly fine without having had to gain an edge on the jump. The rules clearly state:
    “Each burpee must be performed perpendicular to and
    facing the barbell. The athlete’s head cannot be over the
    barbell. The chest and thighs touch the ground at the
    bottom.” Now after reading those rules … why would anyone ask if they can use smaller plates thus clearly making the athlelete’s head over the bar – which is against the rules?!?
    We’re all adults here people … grow up and have faith in your performance without trying to gain an edge!!

  98. I don’t think it should be labeled as cheating, kind of reminds me of Dutch Lowy in the 2008 games when he caught the bar bouncing off the ground in the final workout. I do feel bad that people are running their mouths but you also had the equipment necessary to adhere to the standards.

    For those bringing up Noah Olsen and saying he cheated. He used the short mens bar they used at the games which is the same diameter through the barbell just not as long. This makes it weigh less and requires the 5 pound plates on the outside. If I recall correctly, Marcus Filly (who is an OPEX guy) did the same thing.

    Good luck the rest of the way.

  99. To condem Opex for this
    situation is nonsense. They have some of the most talented coaches in the country.

  100. Be sure to contact HQ before your athletes perform this. I realize Castro wrote “toe-to-bar” on the board but the standard video demonstrated two feet.

  101. If you have 500+ open contestants and 50 athletes that have made it to the games, why would you even want to use this method and not the standard weights that the rest of the world is using? Whether or not you “cheated”, you look like a punch of pussies. You would think the members of your box would want to show everyone what they are made of.

    Also, why not be a CrossFit affiliate?

    1. As an OUTSIDER, my 2 cents: Crossfit says a person should be both physically as well as mentally strong. It also embodies the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy (using kipping instead of strict moves, for instance). As the rules didn’t specify the height this year, when they have in previous years, Opex may have used their smart brains to question if they could do the WOD smarter not harder.

      They obviously train very hard, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the Games last year. They knew smaller plates would be an advantage, and didn’t want another team to gain the advantage over them. Since they were given the OK, they thought they were embodying Crossfit more thoroughly. That’s my interpretation at least.

      As to why not be a Crossfit Affiliate, there’s no reason for them to be. It’s a huge expense to pay to Crossfit HQ every year, and they clearly don’t need the Crossfit name to draw athletes in. Also, all their coaches would have to go through an expensive training course even if they’re the best coaches and have been coaching for years. They’re also more broad than just Crossfit and don’t want to limit themselves.

      Side not – I’m personally of the opinion that HQ is calling them out BECAUSE they aren’t an affiliate. It sends an incredibly false message that non affiliates are not as good as affiliates (again, OPEX made the Games last year, so this is clearly not the case). It’s a market driven attack, and it’s one reason I’m glad I’m not in the community anymore.

  102. “Hey Mom, can I use one our green bowls for my ice cream instead of the white ones?”
    “Um, yeah, sure”

    [Grabs the large green mixing bowl, fills it with a gallon of ice cream, eats it]
    [Says “BUT YOU SAID I COULD!” when punished by mother]

  103. Lack of accountability and vision on the part of CFHQ when writing the rules. If it mattered (and I don’t disagree that it was advantageous to use smaller plates), why didn’t they state “standard” plates. Would this have been so difficult? All their defenders seem to have already forgotten 15.1. “Maximum effort” was required in part a. How do you even measure that? It is not cheating to operate within the written rules, regardless of intent. At least OPT posts videos of the workouts. How many marginal reps are allowed by qualified, but biased judges who judge their own athletes? I’m sure that’s never happened.

  104. In the 2015 games, many of the top female athletes chose to stop their attempts on the peg board in order to rest so that they could move to the second part of the WOD. They figured out how to “game” it so that they could be rested for the end. Is this not a similar circumstance? Why were those women allowed to do that without being penalized? OPEX is a great entity in the world of fitness. They are smart and went about it legally and ethically. CrossFit is tearing apart the community that they supposedly say they have and have lost all integrity.

  105. So when wall balls come up, are you all going to ask to lower the target halfway down too? This is a test of fitness, not contract law. If you practice these movements all year long with rubber bumpers, you know that’s the standard. You don’t need a rule book for that. It sucks you got called out, and its embarrassing but I think CFHQ was trying to make everybody aware that modifying a workout by using non standard crossfit equipment is considered cheating.

  106. Same sentiment as most others here – OPEX should have just done the same workout as everyone else in the first place. Did you really need to lower the standard for yourselves? The drama that ensued afterwards is irrelevant.

  107. Sorry you had conflicting info from HQ. However the fact your athletes even wanted to do this, and coaches did not stop them is so freakin lame.

  108. This sucks that it happened.
    Obviously it is an advantage, but hey nice work on figuring out a way. I have used a 15 kg bar (women’s bar) and loaded it up with the guy’s weight before. It is easier for me to hold on to that bar as it is thinner. I am not a regional athlete (I am very average at best). It does not say you cannot so why not go for it. The same reason Noah Olsen used a shorter bar (like at the Games) puts the weight closer and easier to hold. Some pull up bars are thinner than others, and therefore easier to hold for longer.

    There are a lot of ways to gain an “advantage” and the fact they asked (when they really did not have to because the rules did not say they could not) makes it just laughable they were punished. Would not happen in another “professional sport.”

    Go to YouTube and watch JB v Rich in 16.4 and see it JB’s deadlifts meet the “standard,” (spoiler: they do not). There is video proof and yet no punishment for him or his box for judging it poorly. Difference of being a friend of CFHQ and not.

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