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There are multiple types of competitions for CrossFit athletes. It may be tempting to want to “do it all” and include a little something for everyone, but we encourage you to consider otherwise. Creating a more specialized event gives you the opportunity to focus on quality over quantity. It makes your event more memorable and stand out from the sea of other competitions.

You’ll need to answer these questions to help you decide how you want to design your competition: who, how, and why? First, how many people are competing together? Next, what skill levels (and age categories) do you want to include? Finally, what’s the main focus of your event?


From a logistical point of view, you can have following the types of competitions for different athlete groups:

  • Individual competition: Athletes go head-to-head with each other. This is perhaps the easiest type of set-up to manage from an organization point of view. However, it is not as profitable as having more athletes compete in the same number of spots.
  • Partner competition: Teams of 2 athletes is one way to get more people involved in competing that takes the pressure off of each person and can allow them to have more fun.
    • Same sex: It’s easier from a programming and equipment point of view to have same sex partner teams. It also addresses the gender disparity inherent to competitive athletics.
    • Co-ed: While a little more difficult to manage operationally, coed teams give the opportunity for opposite sex couples, family members, and friends to compete together, which can be a crowd-pleaser.
  • Team competition: Here’s where you can get really creative! There are lots of possibilities for teammate combinations. Just remember, the more people who compete under the same team, the greater the likelihood of last-minute registration changes.


Skill levels, also commonly referred to as “divisions”, can also be a factor when designing your event:

  • Firebreather/Beastmode: This is the smallest division, but also the one with the most complexity. These athletes are more inclined towards higher level competition, but there are two kinds of semi-elite athletes. There are the ones who will compete at every given opportunity, and then there are the ones who instead are very selective about the events they sign up for. 
  • Rx: This is your bread and butter for most competitions. These athletes are looking to see how they stack up against others and/or are seriously looking to win. This is where most of your creative energy should go. Design a worthy competition that will leave these athletes feeling tested, satisfied, and eager to come back again.
  • Scaled: There are a greater number of athletes looking to have fun. We encourage you to think of a scaled division like a 5K race. The majority of people who run are either looking to set a goal and meet it by finishing, or who want to do improve on their past performance. As such, the emphasis should not be on being competitive with the rest of the field.

Competitions also can include separate categories for different age groups. It’s easy to get carried away with youth and masters groups. We suggest either having very broad categories if you wish to include these athletes in a general competition. Alternatively, you can plan youth-only or masters-only events, which can allow you to have more narrowly defined age groups.


Finally, before you get too caught up in the details of “who” and “how”, consider “why”. Decide on one thing you want to focus on for your competition. This will help you to create not just an event, but a brand. This brand can stand alone, or it can help boost the existing brand of your box. What do you want your competition to stand for? How do you want your event to fit within your CrossFit community? Why will your athletes remember your competition? Answering these questions will give you clarity and focus that can take your event to the next level.

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