How Does Semifinal Programming from Week One Compare to Week Two?

Photo Credit: Carlos Bown | @bownmedia

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Week 1 of the 2022 CrossFit Games Semifinals is in the books and week 2 is here. Today the focus is on evaluating the programming for the two Semifinals in week 2 and how they fit in and compare with the first three slates of workouts from week 1. (If you haven’t read the article linked here, it is recommended to do so. Many of these topics are discussed in more detail there.) 

Time Domains

When evaluating time domains, we are talking about expected time domains, not listed time caps. In the table below, we have updated the time caps (when needed) to reflect the actual times needed for the top 10 or so athletes in each event. In the case that it was notably different for men than women, the men are listed first followed by a slash and then the women. 

For the MACC and Cape Town columns, those are the projected expected times for each workout. 

Non-CF Programmed Events Syndicate Lowlands Torian MACC Cape Town
E1 10:00/12:00 18:00/20:00 20:30/22:00 13:00 21:00
E2 23:00/25:00 7:00 9:30 23:00 16:00
E3 11:30/13:30 11:00 6:00 12:00 18:00
E4 6:30/7:30 4:00 5:00 7:00 7:00
Time Domains in 2022 Semifinal Events | Brian Friend

A few noteworthy items: 

  • From week 1 there was variability in terms of time needed between men and women and all four workouts relative to the other two; it will be intriguing to see if that’s the case for other Semifinals going forward. 
  • The distribution of time domains at the MACC appears to be rather appropriate given the two pre-programmed CrossFit workouts; hit the long, have a short-moderate in the finale, and two metcons in the 10-15 minute range.
  • Cape Town’s programming is very long with three workouts expected to take over 16 minutes; so far no other semi has more than one workout like that.

Handstand Push-Ups and Handstand Walking

Pretty straightforward for the next few sections; all we did was add in whether MACC and/or Cape Town had the listed movement and in what capacity.

Movement Syndicate Lowlands Torian MACC Cape Town
HS walking 400 feet 72 meters 180 feet 60 meters
HSPUs 18 def HSPUs(9/6 inches) 60 regularkipping hspus 45 strict deficitHSPUs 50 regularkipping hspus
Handstand Elements in 2022 Semifinal Events | Brian Friend

Handstand walking:

  • The handstand walking distance at Lowlands, MACC, and Cape Town is relatively similar. 
  • Syndicate still had by far the most handstand walking distance required.
  • Torian remains the only Semi thus far not to test it at all.

Handstand Push-up Variations:

  • MACC becomes the first Semifinal not to test handstand push-ups in any capacity. 
  • Cape Town, like Lowlands, has a modest number of regular kipping handstand push-ups near the end of the same chipper that also has handstand walking.

Squatting Volume:

Syndicate Lowlands Torian MACC Cape Town
150 wall balls 120 wall balls 100 wall balls
100 thrusters 72 db thrusters 30 thrusters
6 squat snatches 10 Overhead Squats 30 overhead squats 60 overhead squats 54 db squat snatches
256 squats 82 squats 60 squats 180 squats 154 squats
Squatting Volume in 2022 Semifinal Events | Brian Friend

Wall Balls

  • After two thirds of week one saw no wall balls and an overall squatting volume of less than 100; this week, both Semis have at least 100 wall balls and a total squatting volume of over 150.


  • No thrusters on tap this week after all three Semis in week one featured them.

Overhead Squats/Squat Snatches:

  • All five Semis thus far feature either a Squat Snatch or an overhead squat.
  • The weight and volume changes quite dramatically from Semi to Semi however.


Movement Syndicate Lowlands Torian MACC Cape Town
Muscle-ups 24 rmus 20/16 BAR mus 30 rmus 18 rmu & 12 bmu 49 rmus
Muscle Up Volume in 2022 Semifinal Events | Brian Friend
  • Cape Town’s event 3 features seven rounds of seven ring muscle ups for both men and women; this is extremely aggressive in terms of testing muscle up capacity relative to any other Semi we’ve seen yet.
  • The MACC is testing both ring and bar muscle-ups in the same workout; they are the first Semifinal this season to do so.

Odd Objects:

Syndicate Lowlands Torian MACC Cape Town
Tank Push (375′) Husafell bag carry Tank Push (640′)
sanbag cleans (12 heavy) sandbag Cleans (30 moderate) kb farmers carry slam ball lunges (100)
axle bar Deadlift (72 moderate) yoke carry
Odd Object Elements in 2022 Semifinal Events | Brian Friend
  • Hardly any odd objects in week two.
  • MACC has the Torque Tank Push (just as Syndicate did), only it’s nearly double the distance it has to be pushed.
  • Cape Town’s most unusual implement is a slam ball lunge; something new to the Semifinal circuit this week.

Monostructural Elements:

Movement Syndicate Lowlands Torian MACC Cape Town
Air Runner 2400 meters 1500 meters 1600 meters
Echo Bike 60 cals 40/32 cals 30-60cals (variable) 2 kilometers
Rower 2000 meters 600 meters 1000 meters 75 calories
Skiing 150 cals 1000 meters
Double Unders 100
Swimming 500 meters
Monostructural Elements in 2022 Semifinal Events | Brian Friend
  • The variance here was extreme in week one and has gotten even more extreme in week two.
  • Jumping off the page first has to be the inclusion of swimming at Cape Town. This is the first time swimming has been involved as a qualifier to get to the CrossFit Games. We are assuming it will continue to be the outlier as the only Semifinal to use it, but time will tell. 
  • The year of no double unders in Semis continues. With only a total of 100 between all five Semifinals so far.
  • We now have three Semis that have chosen to test running additionally to a CrossFit workout with shuttle runs; and two that have not. We know how critical running is at the CrossFit Games, so the decision to include or not include a substantial amount of running at a Semifinal is intriguing. 
  • In week one all three Semis rowed for meters; this week there is no rowing at the MACC, while Cape Town is rowing for calories
  • Cape Town joins Syndicate as the only two Semifinals thus far to include skiing; though for Cape Town it’s a buy-in to the swim workout and will probably be mostly negligible compared to the athlete’s swimming capacity.

The bottom line: As the Semifinals continue to unfold throughout the month, noting some of the critical differences in programming will become more and more fascinating to evaluate, and more clear questions will emerge about how relevant some of these decisions are. As always, do not be quick to judge until seeing how it unfolds in competition. However, there is nothing wrong with observing with a critical mind and making evaluations about programming nuances as we go. 

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