If you were a ‘CrossFit GOD’ and you could create the ideal CrossFitter, how would you make them; how tall would they be, how much would they weigh, would they be lean, bulky……... ?
An athlete who is too tall will be at a disadvantage for gymnastics movements as their center of gravity is much higher, an athlete who is too short will be at a disadvantage for movements such as wallballs, rowing and rope climbs, an athlete who is too lean will find it difficult to move heavy loads and an athlete who is too heavy will find it challenging to move their own load when doing endurance movements. So, then what is the ‘ideal’ body type for CrossFit?
I am sure most of you are familiar with the different body types; somatotyping (which was developed in the 40’s) is a way to describe build, it looks at how fat, how muscular and how linear you are, in that order. There are three main body types and they are defined by a rating out of 7 for each category. An Endomorph is characterised as ‘pear shaped’ with wide hips and narrow shoulders and has a lot of fat on their body. An extreme endomorph would have a rating of 7, 1, 1 (7- Fat, 1- Muscle and 1- Linear). An Ectomorph is quite the opposite with narrow hips and shoulders, narrow chest and abdomen and has little muscle and fat (extreme ectomorph 1, 1, 7). The last body type is the Mesomorph with broad shoulders and narrow hips, they have a muscular body with little fat (extreme mesomorph 1, 7, 1).
What most people don’t always consider is that you are a combination of two body types and few people in the world are an extreme body type. Inherited genes play a large part in the development of your body shape. There are calculators and quizzes you can use to find out what body type you are, there are special diet plans and exercise regimes for each combination, however, I am pretty sure if you just looked in the mirror that you would be able to work out what combination of body types you are.
In elite sports there are very specific body types; the average basketball player is 6’7” (201cm), the average sumo wrestler weighs 148kg, the average male marathon runner is 56kg and 5’5” (165cm) tall and the average female gymnasts is 4’11” (150cm) tall. None of these measurements however are ‘average’ for the population, that being males 5”10 (178cm) and 80kg and females 5”4 (163cm) and 67kg.
There are organisations around the world that conduct talent identification, which is the process of finding young talent to accelerate them through a sport. In the 90’s when I was in high school the Australian Institute of Sport were looking for female rowers. My physical education teacher collected data on my class; they were looking for two things, leg and arm span and weight. The average female rower is 180cm tall, needless to say I never became a rower, however, little did I know that being ‘average’ would be an advantage later on when doing CrossFit.
What about elite CrossFitters, do they have a specific body type? These are some of the athletes who placed in the top 10 last year at the CrossFit Games.
2nd- Mathew Fraser 5’6” (168cm) and 84kg
3rd- Björgvin Gudmundsson 5’8” (173cm) and 84kg
5th- Spencer Hendel 6’2” (188cm) and 97kg
3rd- Sara Sigmundsdóttir 5’6 (168cm) and 152lb (69kg)
5th- Kara Webb 5’3 (160cm) and 154lb (70kg)
6th- Chyna Cho 5’8 (173cm) and 144lb (65kg)
When you look at these athletes they don’t seem to fit a specific height and weight and their body types are vastly different, just look at the difference between Kara and Chyna’s legs. These athletes are in fact closer to the ‘average’ population in height and weight than any other sport. So is being average actually an advantage?
That all being said I read an article which looked at the average height and weight of athletes who had qualified for the 2015 Regionals. And these were the results found….
Interestingly enough they are almost the exact measurements of the winners of the CrossFit games in 2015.
Ben Smith at 5’11” (180cm) and 88kg (194lb)
Katrín Davídsdóttir at 5’5” (165cm) and 69kg (154lbs)
However, not so much for the previous year:
Rich Froning 5’9” (175cm) and 90kg (198lb)
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet 5’2” (157cm) and 59kg (130lb)
Is the CrossFit body starting to morph into a specific body as well. In years to come will all the CrossFitters start to look the same? Or will we always have a 6’2” Spencer Hendel and 5’5” Josh Bridges?
How can the average CrossFitter who comes to the box identify with body types, seeing as though we are all built completely different. If you are an ecto-mesomorph combination then you may find endurance and gymnastics movements easier, and if you are an endo-mesomorph you may have an advantage on weight lifting and bodyweight movements.
In every box in the world CrossFitters are found in all shapes and sizes. There may be some who are taller, leaner, or have more muscle than you, but does that make them a better crossfitter? Most people who go to the ‘gym’ are physique conscious, they go to get bigger biceps, get a six pack, or lose weight around the hips and many may even be trying to change their predispositioned body type. However, as a CrossFitter we are goal orientated, we want to IMPROVE our body, as opposed to CHANGE it. We are more concerned with getting a muscle up then bulging biceps, a stronger core than a six pack and adding weight to our squat then losing it around the hips. And, as a result of this your body naturally develops. We are living proof that any combination of body types can excel doing CrossFit.
You have a genetic blue print, your own specific body type; use CrossFit as a tool to get the best version of it. Embrace the qualities that you have and the way you are ‘built’.
As the power ranges would say ‘it’s morphing time’!
Reference: games.crossfit.com and games.crossfit.com/article/evolution-regional-athlete