20.3 CrossFit Workout, Jacob Heppner, Brooke Wells

The 20.3 CrossFit Workout is a repeat of 18.4. Jacob Heppner and Brooke Wells had controversial performances in this workout, so this is going to be very interesting weekend.

20.3 CrossFit Workout

20.3 is a repeat of 18.4. There’s just no more succinct way to say it.


  • Deadlift (225/155)
  • Handstand Push-Up


  • Deadlift (315/205)
  • 50-ft Handstand Walk

18.4 Times

Austin Malleolo set a stunning time in the workout back in the 2018 Open. He beat second-place Bartek Lipka by an entire 32 seconds, reporting a time of 6:02. This was a workout where Mat Fraser placed fifth. As for other active athletes looking for a repeat or redemption, Patrick Vellner had a 9th-place finish in 2018, Rich Froning was 11th, and Noah Ohlsen was 21st. 

On the women’s side, Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault won this workout in 2018 with a time of 5:58. Rachel Garibay, who made her games debut in 2019 finish in second. Third place was Anna Fragkou of Greece, who recently received sanctions for a positive drug test. Other notable athletes were Katrin Davidsdottir and Annie Thorisdottir in 9th and 10th, and Tia-Clair Toomey in 12th.

The best unofficial time from last night’s workout announcement was Kristin Holte, who finished in 6:23.

18.4 Controversy

The 18.4 workout was a controversial one, with a few high-level dramatic moments. It circles around standards which were set for the handstand push-ups, requiring an athlete to push half of the distance of their forearm length above their body height. Let me rephrase that, just in case. Your handstand push-up has to be your height, plus half the length of your forearms. This forces measurements to be taken and a clear line to be marked where athlete’s feet must cross before a handstand push-up rep is counted.

Jacob Heppner, usually legendary in inverted movements, was unable to complete the workout in its entirety. He represents a body type with upper arms proportionately shorter than their forearms, and therefore Heppner lacks the upper arm length to push half the distance of his forearm. 

For a little bit of commentary, as a tall guy, I see workouts like the burpees and ground-to-overhead in 20.1 and think this is a workout much harder for a guy of my height, but that these things balance themselves out when workouts like 19.1’s rowing and wall balls come up. The difference here is that I can physically complete the movements in 20.1, whereas Heppner anatomically can’t complete the movements in 18.4.

Heppner, who usually has a video posted with workout tips within hours of an Open announcement, has been quiet on his YouTube channel and Instagram account.

The other piece of drama for 18.4 involved questions about video and rep quality for Brooke Wells. Brooke’s camera location was much farther away from her handstand push-up wall than needed, and it called into question the quality of her reps on the movement. Either way, this is an opportunity for Wells to seek redemption on the workout.

Armen, from the Armen Hammer TV YouTube channel, didn’t mince words about this workout. He posted the movement standards to Instagram with the caption, “This awful and arbitrary handstand push-up standard is back and CrossFit should be embarrassed to be using it again.”

20.3 Scaling

The handstand push-ups and handstand walks mark the return of difficult movements for the average athlete, like myself. The official scaling option for the handstand push-ups is to do hand-release push-ups. As a substitute for the handstand walk, athletes can opt to do a bear crawl.

Between WODDITY’s live broadcast, and the live streams from Norway, Down Under, and Southfit, there have been over 225,000 views of last night’s 20.3 workout announcements at the time of writing this. It feels to many like the community is finding its groove again.

And that’s it for news about CrossFit on Friday, October 25th. Thanks for listening. Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe. It’s the best way to give back to the show, because it helps more people find us. I’m Ben Garves. 

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.