For the second year in a row, Jacob Heppner will not be competing at the CrossFit Games.
Due to the new handstand push-up standard CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro introduced to the world during the Open 18.4 announcment, Heppner’s score of 104 reps — 14 deadlifts at 315 lbs. at the nine-minute time cap — will likely keep him from advancing to Regionals this year. As we’ve seen this year, one bad workout can hold you back.
Heppner — who withdrew from the 2017 CrossFit Games due to knee bursitis — posted a long, emotional Instagram video of him struggling to reach the new handstand push-up standard.
Really not sure how to start this off. So I guess I’ll start by hooking you with the statement “I will not be qualifying to regionals.” Now read below for the explanation. . . My 18.4 score was 104 reps. Most of you know that I love HSPU, HS Walking, and pretty much anything inverted. If these movements existed in a Regionals or Games workout then I usually came out top 5. Unfortunately a problem arose from the new standard, height + 1/2 forearm length. Now for all you folks claiming “If an athlete doesn’t like the new standard then they need to fix their body positioning and get better upside down” this is where you realize that isn’t always true. . . Let’s admit we’ve all at least seen that one person who really struggled to hit the standard and it wasn’t because they had bad positioning, but instead was due to their anatomy. The issue lies in the forearm length measurement. Instead of taking the whole arm length, which I admit would be difficult, only the forearm was measured. This creates the possibility that certain athletes, like myself, could be a statistical outlier in our ration of forearm length comparative to bicep/total arm length. Meaning having really long forearms when compared to overall arm length. . . I’ve watched my video many times and believe me I couldn’t get any closer to the wall or get my hands any narrower. I just happened to be one of the few athletes that had to stretch and press as much a possible to bet barely over that dreaded line. . . I would be lying if I told you the thought didn’t cross my mind of shorting a few measurements, bending my knees when measuring my height, or cutting a few 1/8’s off my elbow measurement. But when it’s all said and done I just wouldn’t be able to live knowing I cheated someone else out, regardless if I agree with the new standard or not. . . Crossfit isn’t life and I’d rather be known as a man of integrity than a great athlete. . . God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied – Matthew 5:6 . #crossfit #crossfitgames #intheopen
The new standard caused an uproar within the CrossFit community, and Heppner was not the only CrossFitter who struggled with the new standard.
Although it is unfortunate that this new standard kept Heppner, a four-time Games veteran, from returning to Madison, it does make us mere mortals understand a little more of what these elite athletes go through year in and year out. To train year-round for one competition and not qualify due to a movement standard is a tough pill to swallow for any athlete, elite or not.
Heppner is taking it in stride and believes he’ll work on getting the new standard ready for future competition.