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A Detailed Review of the 2013 CrossFit Open

CrossFit Open 13.5

CrossFit Open Workout 13.5 Briggs vs Leblanc-Bazinet

CrossFit has long been defined as constantly varied, functional movements performed at a high intensity. Additionally, CrossFit workouts are programmed in a way that allows them to be precisely measured and timed as “measurement is key, because it takes fitness out of the realm of ethereal guesswork and makes it concrete and quantifiable,” according to the CrossFit Journal.

For the over 100,000 athletes who competed in the 2013 CrossFit Games Open, the past five weeks of fast-paced, varied, and measured workouts have brought the definition of CrossFit to life in boxes around the world.

As CrossFit continues to grow as a sport, this year’s Open will go down as its most memorable yet. One of the sport’s seemingly invincible champions, Annie Thorisdottir, withdrew from the Open due to an injury. This year set the stage for the return of top competitors, including Josh Bridges and Women’s Open leader Samantha Briggs, to the top of the leaderboards. This season also brought us controversial disqualifications and inspiration through heroic performances.

By any measure, the 2013 CrossFit Games Open was the biggest ever for a sport that has already experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years.

When looking back on the Open, it’s almost unbelievable to realize that the worldwide CrossFit community came together for only 50 to 58 minutes of actual workouts over a five week period. It’s no secret that people bond over shared experiences and like every Open season, there is no doubt that athletes and boxes united more than anyone could ever imagine over the course of less than an hour of actual workouts (not including the subsequent recovery that followed).

Though a select few will continue on to Regionals, we’ll continue to track and celebrate the sport’s top athletes through the rest of the Games season. By measuring the performances of the sport’s top athletes, we can not only compare the athletes against one another, but see just how fast our sport’s top athletes were moving over the course of the Open.

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.1: Panchik vs Bailey

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.1: Panchik vs Bailey

Week 1 (17 minutes)

  • 40 burpees

  • 30 snatches (45# / 75#)

  • 30 burpees

  • 30 snatches (75# / 135#)

  • 20 burpees

  • 30 snatches (100# / 165#)

  • 10 burpees

  • Snatch AMRAP (120# / 210#

Men’s 13.1 Winner: Neal Maddox (199 reps, 11.7 reps/minute)

Women’s 13.1 Winner: Kristan Clever (211 reps, 12.4 reps/minute)

To kickoff this year’s Open, athletes were greeted with flashbacks of the 12.2 Snatch ladder. Former CrossFit Games champion Kristan Clever, whose legendary metcon has enabled her to compete at the sport’s highest level for years, turned in the world’s highest score for the oddly matched couplet. For 17 minutes, Clever averaged 12.4 reps per minute – besting Men’s leader Neal Maddox’s 11.7 reps per minute – a truly incredible feat that is a testament to Clever’s efficient movements, pacing, and grip strength to avoid dropping the bar to move efficiently through the workout.

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.2: Valenzuela vs Thorisdottir

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.2: Valenzuela vs Thorisdottir

Week 2 (10 minutes)


  • 5 Shoulder-to-Overhead (75# / 115#)

  • 10 deadlifts (75# / 115#)

  • 15 box jumps (20” / 24”)

Men’s 13.2 Winner: Patrick Gallagher (387 reps, 38.7 reps/minute)

Women’s 13.2 Winner: Lindsey Cascarina (389 reps, 38.9 reps/minute)

For the second week in a row, the top Women’s performance bested the top Men’s performance in what would end up being the fastest-paced workout of the 2013 Open. Beyond the lightning fast repetitions, 13.2 will be remembered as the workout where top performances by Danielle Sidell and Josh Golden were disqualified, ending both athletes’ opportunities to move on to Regionals.

Patrick Gallagher and Lindsey Cascarina would ultimately end up as the workout’s leaders. Both athletes averaged over 38 repetitions per minute over the course of the three movement workout. For most of us, performing 38 repetitions in a single minute alone would seem impossible, but both Gallagher and Cascarina averaged out to sustain this torrid pace for one of this year’s most controversial workouts.

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.3: Clever vs Fortunato

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.3: Clever vs Fortunato

Week 3 (12 minutes)


  • 150 wall balls (14# to 9’ target / 20# to 10’ target)

  • 90 double unders

  • 30 muscle ups

Men’s 13.3 Winner: Ben Smith (329 reps, 27.4 reps/minute)

Women’s 13.3 Winner: Samantha Briggs (323 reps, 26.9 reps/minute)

Karen’s evil sister from the 2012 CrossFit Games Open made a second appearance for the Open’s 2013 edition, much to the horror of quads, those who can’t do muscle ups, shorter athletes, those with hip mobility issues, and anyone who wanted to be able to walk down stairs the next day around the world.

Not only was Ben Smith was one of the few athletes who completed a full round, he added another 59 wall balls with a blazing pace of 27.4 reps per minute. Samantha Briggs, who completed the workout twice to prove any doubters wrong about her total, moved at a 26.9 reps per minute pace, even as she would occasionally take a short recovery stroll between sets of muscle ups.

Spealler vs Holmberg

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.4: Spealler vs Holmberg

Week 4 (7 minutes)


  • 3 Clean and Jerks (95# / 135#)

  • 3 Toes to Bar

  • 6 Clean and Jerks

  • 6 Toes to Bar

  • Increasing by three reps every round

Men’s 13.4 Winner: Jason Khalipa (129 reps, 18.4 reps/minute)

Women’s 13.4 Winner: Samantha Briggs (126 reps, 18 reps/minute)

It might not have felt like it at the time, but 13.4’s fast-moving 7 minute AMRAP ended up being the slowest of all this year’s Open workouts, largely due to the clean and jerks and necessity to move between a pull-up apparatus and weightlifting bar.

A former Games champion, NorCal CrossFit’s Jason Khalipa recorded the highest overall score for the workout with 129 total reps, outpacing Women’s leader Samantha Briggs who moved at a brisk 18 reps per minute during the workout. Briggs showed her versatility and clearly emerged one of this year’s favorites by turning in the highest Women’s Open score for the second week in a row.

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.5: Spealler vs Holmberg

Reebok CrossFit Open Workout 13.5: Spealler vs Holmberg

Week 5 (4 – 12 minutes)

  • 15 thrusters (70# / 100#)

  • 15 chest-to-bar pullups

  • 4 minutes added for every 90 repetitions completed within 4 minutes

Men’s 13.5 Winner: Josh Bridges (254 reps, 21.2 reps/minute)

Women’s 13.5 Winner: Lindsay Bourdon (256 reps, 21.3 reps/minute)

This year’s FranRAP was a test of not only an athlete’s conditioning, but mind over matter. The 90 repetitions in Fran’s 21-15-9 couplet of thrusters (65# / 95#) and pull-ups has already been known to induce “Fran cough” or “Fran lung” (exercise-induced asthma) for athletes around the world. To extend the workout beyond its initial 4 minutes, an athlete not only had to perform a sub-4 minute, chest-to-bar, heavier-than-normal Fran, but they had to be ready to do it again for bonus rounds.

Incredibly, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet proved it was not only possible to extend the rounds, but extend them twice when the workout was first announced. She completed 244 reps at 20.3 reps per minute, topping overall Women’s Open leader Samantha Briggs head to head. Incredibly, Leblanc-Bazinet’s seemingly unbeatable score was topped by CrossFit Adrenaline’s Lindsay Bourdon, who completed 256 reps at a blazing fast 21.3 reps per minute. With that performance, Bourdon currently stands in third place overall for the Open, behind Briggs and Leblanc-Bazinet.

Josh Bridges would also top Leblanc-Bazinet’s score by completing 254 reps at 21.2 reps per minute. Before the Open started, CrossFit HQ and Bridges declared he was ready. With this score, there’s certainly no question that Bridges is back.


2013 CrossFit Games Open Overall Leaders

Rich Froning: 1,236 total reps (21.3 reps/minute over 58 minutes)

Samantha Briggs: 1,212 total reps (22.4 reps/minute over 54 minutes)

Two-time champion Rich Froning’s 1,236 total reps earned him the top spot on the Men’s leaderboard for the 2013 CrossFit Games Open. Coming back from an injury that took her out of the Games last year, Samantha Briggs finished atop the Women’s leaderboard with 1,212 total reps. Through the unknown and unknowable programming of the 2013 Open, both athletes held an overall average above 20 reps per minute throughout the twelve different movements that made up this year’s Open.

Froning didn’t finish first in a single Open workout this year, but his name was never far from the top of the leaderboard, similar to how Froning has won the CrossFit Games the past two years. Briggs finished first for two workouts over the course of the Open and actually averaged more reps per minute than Froning. Briggs topped Froning’s reps per workout every week other than 13.4, where they tied, and 13.5, where Froning earned an additional 4 minutes for the FranRAP.

Going into the 2013 CrossFit Games, it’s no surprise to see Froning as a favorite in the Men’s division. Briggs, who finished fourth in 2011 and was forced to withdraw from the 2012 Open with a knee injury, much like Josh Bridges, has made a statement with her performance in this year’s Open.

Measuring The Open’s Impact

Before starting CrossFit, if someone asked you to exercise for a total of under an hour at a high intensity over the course of five weeks, you probably wouldn’t have blinked an eye. After competing in the Open, with its constantly varied, functional, and measured movements this year, an athlete’s understanding of an hour of max effort exercise can be forever changed.

Though we’ll celebrate and continue to follow the stories of this year’s top Games athletes, all around the world, athletes set new PR’s, formed stronger bonds with members from their box, and found out that they could do something that they previously thought impossible.

The CrossFit Games Open may be the first step to find the Fittest on Earth, but it also shows all of us just how much we can achieve in just under an hour, when the CrossFit community comes together.


The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.