The 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games Regionals are upon us, and as the competition begins to heat up, a last minute change to the rules has left some athletes concerned about their standings.
In an early morning announcement, CrossFit staff said that event judges would not be allowed to utter any of the traditional motivating phrases associated with the bench press.
“The banned phrases include ‘It’s all you’, ‘light weight’, and ‘let’s go’,” said CrossFit Games Head Judge, Adrian Bozman. “These cues are just so powerful that competitors who heard them would have an unfair advantage over those who didn’t.”
Decades of anecdotal evidence seems to support CrossFit’s decision, including multiple peer-reviewed studies that suggest aggressive cues from a bro does indeed increase the likelihood of a successful lock-out.
One study, published in 2004, that found that “Bros who effectively spotted the bench press could help their bros achieve between 1-3 more reps than unmotivated bros under similar circumstances.”
“We are here to test fitness, and that means we need an even playing field,” Bozman explained.
While most competitors are indifferent to the decision, others have expressed serious concerns. Crowd favorite James Hobart officially withdrew from the competition following the announcement. “If I don’t have a bro spotting me, I might as well not even compete,” he said in an Instagram post.