Height definitely plays a valuable role in a lot of different sports, but does it matter in CrossFit?
Are shorter men at a disadvantage in CrossFit, or can modest height actually work in their favor?
We did the research so you don’t have to. Here’s all you need to know.
Is There a Best Height for CrossFit?
The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, but shorter men actually seem to have an advantage in most CrossFit workouts.
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It may not come as a surprise that the average height of NBA players is a towering 6’7”, but for CrossFit the average height is just 5’9”, which is the average height of American males.
If you’re wondering if being a few inches (or more) shy of 5’9” is going to ruin your chances at being a great fit for CrossFit (no pun intended), you can probably guess the answer, which is no!
To prove our point that short men can still kick ass at CrossFit, we’ve rounded up a list of the shortest male CrossFit athletes to compete in the Games.
6 Shortest CrossFit Athletes
Here’s our list of the shortest CrossFit Games athletes, from shortest to tallest.
1. Caleb Williams – 5’2”
Hailing from the small town of Buford, Georgia, Caleb Williams is a world champion powerlifter and national Olympic lifting champion.
So it’s no surprise that he’s a total beast at CrossFit. He’s competed in the CrossFit Games three times and now runs Peak Performance Weightlifting in his home town of Buford.
2. Josh Bridges – 5’5″
Josh Bridges is a former collegiate wrestler and U.S. Navy Seal turned CrossFitter.
He’s competed in the CrossFit Games four times, with some impressive stats to boot. Bridges has finished on or near the podium in 3 out of his 4 times competing in the Games.
In 2016, he won 13th place and was not only the oldest, but also the shortest guy in the Games that year.
3. Austin Malleolo – 5’5″
A man of modest height, Austin Malleolo is the head coach for Reebok CrossFit ONE.
He’s a three time winner of the CrossFit Northeast Regional (in 2011-2013) and finished in the top ten at the CrossFit Games in 2010 and 2012.
Malleolo is also part of the CrossFit HQ Seminar Staff.
4. Chris Spealler – 5’5″
Chris Spealler hails from Park City, Utah where he trains and coaches at CrossFit Park City.
Another former collegiate wrestler turned CrossFitter, Spealler is known for being a formidable opponent at the CrossFit Games. This dude is well respected and is an affiliate owner and trainer for CrossFit HQ.
5. Dan Bailey – 5’7”
A little taller than some of the other athletes on our list, Dan Bailey is still a modest 5’7”. He’s a former Division-I sprinter at Ohio University.
Bailey is a five year individual CrossFit Games veteran and has finished impressively close to the podium every year he’s been in the Games. His most impressive show of skill was when he finished 4th place in 2015. So even though he’s never medaled, the guy is obviously a badass.
He won the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Worldwide Open and was given the prestigious Spirit of the Games Award back in 2015.
6. Mikko Salo – 5’7”
Hailing all the way from Finland, Mikko Salo has been called the “Fittest Man on Earth” after winning the 2009 CrossFit Games.
Salo has gotten a lot of attention for his workout routine, which has helped numerous athletes change up their approach to training.
Unfortunately, since his CrossFit Games victory in 2009, he’s sustained some injuries. However, he still works as a firefighter by day and trains and coaches CrossFit in his home country of Finland. While he doesn’t compete in the Games anymore, his victory and contributions won’t be forgotten.
What’s Stopping You?
Well, there you have it. If you’re ever feeling even a little inspired to give CrossFit a try, don’t let your height get you down. There are tons of incredible short athletes in a variety of sports, and CrossFit is no exception.
CrossFitters’ grit and dedication can inspire anyone, regardless of their height. The average male CrossFit athlete is just 5’9”, and many top notch CrossFitters are shorter men.
Did we leave anyone off the list? Do you have any favorite CrossFitters, or are you a CrossFitter yourself? Let us know below in the comments!
I wonder how you came up with this list and didn’t include the best athlete of this sport which is as short as some of those (Mat Fraser) and one of his close competitors in his last years of crossfit games (Noah Olsen)
Thank you for this inspirational article.
Just one question: Why are these men, except Mikko Salo from Finland, based only in the USA? Regards.