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Picsil Pamplona Arena Games Debuts in Spain

February 1, 20246 min read

A late add to the 2023-2024 “B.Friendly World Tour”, I am on the way to Spain this week for the 20th and final stop on the tour before the Open (I measure CrossFit years from Open to Open), the Picsil Pamplona Arena Games.

This competition came on my radar relatively recently as I started seeing them making athlete announcements a few weeks ago with some names I could not easily ignore. Names like Roman Khrennikov, Karin Frey, and Uldis Upenieks and then later Ingrid Hodnemyr, Victor Helsinghof, Sven Geens, and Madeleine Persson. Most of them are still the roster, which looks like this (as far as we know): 

Male AthletesFemale Athletes
Alex KotoulasAlazna Egiazabal
Alexander BloszykAlmudena Lopez
Alvaro GomezAmaia Medeiro
Anestis ArtemisAna Alquezar
Aniol EkaiElena Carratala
Arnau SabateElena Mangas
Asier SanchezHelena Avendano
Christoffer NilsenIngrid Hodnemyr
Fabian BeneitoIranzu Echeverria
Fernando LlanezaJulia Blazejowska
Gabi CastroKarin Frey
Iurii MarincencoMadeleine Persson
Ivan RiballoMarika Seppala
Jokin RamosMarina Crismariu
Jordi SerratMarina Rios
Sven GeensLola Guillen
Uldis UpenieksPaula Cruz
Victor FisicaSara Valera
Victor HelsinghofSilvia Garcia
Yan GilbertVictoria Reyes

Competition Favorites

If you’re trying to pick winners for this, Karin Frey is the easy pick on the women’s side having already won the French Throwdown, Madrid Championships, and Dubai Fitness Championships this year. If there was one woman in the field who is the biggest threat to her it’s got to be Elena Carratala.

On the men’s side the most accomplished athlete in this field is Uldis Upenieks, but Fabian Beneito will likely give him a run for his money in this format. 

Podium Picks

Looking further down the list of women Ingrid Hodnemy, 10th place in Dubai, Silvia Garcia, 5th place in Madrid, and Madeleine Persson, 17th at Europe Semifinals are the other three most likely podium finishers. 

For the men Aniol Ekai and Alex Kotoulas, who were 5th and 6th respectively in Dubai have to be the other picks to most likely podium, but if they don’t execute well there are a host of others who could sneak up and snag a podium spot.

Programming

All of the workouts have been posted on the Picsil Pamplona Arena Games Instagram page.

There are seven total workouts over three days of competition:

Wod 1: in 7 minutes run 400 meters up hill, push a Picisl PS1 150 meters, 5 Atlas Stones to shoulder, 30 meter run up stairs. 

Wod 2: in 8 minutes 100-80-60 Picsil heavy rope double unders, 8 Iberus flips after each round (Iberus weighs 210 kgs for men and 160 kgs for women)

Wod 3: In 15 minutes 2-4-6-8-10 rope climbs, 5-10-15-20-25 dumbbell box step overs (2 x 22.5 kgs and 2 x 15 kbs), 10-20-30-40-50 alternating pistols; *all in a 9/6 kg vest

Wod 4 A and B: In 3 minutes Isabel (30 snatches at 60/40 kgs), 2:00 rest, then in 5 minutes find a 1 Rep Max Snatch

Wod 5: In 10 minutes 10 meter HS walk over platform, 40 deadlifts at 100/70kgs, 10 cleans at same weight, 20 wall facing hspus, and back down the ladder

Wod 6: In 4 minutes, 30 ring muscle ups.

There’s quite a pit of weightlifting here, and not much on the monostructural side. No rowers, bikes, ski ergs, or air runners. The only running is uphill and is pair with two weightlifting movements.

A weightlifting implement shows up in 6 of the 7 workouts. And is a critical factor in at least 4, but possibly as many as all 6 of them, for most of the athletes. 

Gymnastics shows up in 3 of them, and is isolated in workout 6. The rope climbs and pistols will certainly factor in massively to workout 3, but 75 box step overs is also something that can’t be ignored. Depending on what the over platform means, that could be irrelevant, or be the most important part of that workout, the 20 handstands pushups, even if they are wall facing, are almost negligible compared to 100 reps of barbell cycling on either side of them. 

Time Domains

The longest of the workouts is 15 minutes, and just based on the volume there, I think everyone will need it and still not finish that workout, but outside of that every test falls between 3 and 10 minutes. We’ve seen this before in competitions when they have many divisions to get through in the day. We know that as far as a “complete test of fitness” it doesn’t check every box, but not every competition has that as its primary goal. One of the biggest things I’ve seen on the road this year is that regardless of programming, fitness almost always prevails. And by the way, if you want to be elite in this sport, be exceptional and 4-8 minute metcons. That will be tested in spades here, and as a result I stand by my picks. 

Follow the Action

I will be on site streaming live on Instagram if you want to follow along. If for whatever reason we have the same issue we did last week then I’ll defer to the record and upload later method; either way I’ll keep you posted about what we’re doing if you want to see these athletes in action from Pamplona this weekend.

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Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.

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