In Basics, Coaching, Special Populations, Videos

November 19, 2008

Video Article

This is the second part of a complete training session that Mary Conover, 77, had with Jim Baker at CrossFit Santa Cruz Central, where he is a trainer and co-owner.

Mary talks about some of the challenges of working out as she gets older, as well as the amazing impact the training has had on all aspects of her life. You learn to never give up, she says.

This video is the workout portion of Mary’s session. It is comprised of two couplets. The first is walking lunges and push-ups; the second is a modified rope climb and box step ups. She gets a full rest between them.

Also see Part 1 The Warmup.

10min 39sec

Free Download


16 Comments on “Training with Jimmy Baker - Mary Conover 2”


wrote …

That woman is amazing! I hope people realize that she is just as outstanding as Nicole, Dutch, Josh E, and the rest of the crossfit all-stars. Keep kickin ass Mary!


wrote …

My thoughts exactly Michael. Amundson, Spealler, Khalipa...Conover.


wrote …

Jimmy I enjoy watching the work you do with the older population. Being there myself and doing some training also with the older set, it is good to see a real pro at work.


wrote …

When my dad's mom was aging, I knew this is what she needed, and dreamed of being able to provide it for people like her one day. Mary and Jim, you're both inspiring, thanks very much for giving us your story. Mary ... the guts, the gumption, I just love it!

Stay in the fight Mary, you're leading the way for us all.

Jim, when I grow up, I want to be able to do what you do. Paul


wrote …

The best part is that she deliberately lies down on the floor to rest at the end. How many people her age would do that with the absolute and unconscious confidence that they could just stand up again once they were rested?

Mary, meeting you was one of the highlights of my weekend at the Crossfit games.


wrote …

This past March I traveled to Santa Cruz (all the way from NC =0) to train with Eva T. While I was there, I got to meet both of these awesome studs. They are two of the kindest people and their work ethic is above and beyond. You two are truly an inspiration to all of us. Thank you so much for your inspirational efforts.


Cody Limbaugh wrote …

Very good point. I train many 'older' clients and the first time I ask them to get down on to the mats they look at me like I'm crazy. Sometimes with my clients the workout IS getting up off the floor, getting up out of a chair(squats) and picking up random objects off the floor(deadlifts).

I'm sooo greatful for the work that goes in to this journal. From Mary and Jim to the video production to the website admin...Thank you all!



wrote …

Wow! Mary is a beast like tanya, seriously impressed the rope climbs :0) I'm a nurse in the U.K and work with "seniors" of around Mary's age all day, the benefits to this age group of training functional exercises in the way shown by Jim are plain to see and would undoubtedly be of great benefit to a huge number of people, everybody should show this video to their granny!


wrote …

I am a 23 yr old, Mary is the epitome of her generations work ethic. I know women my age who could not perform those movements in that time and care less about how they look or whether or not they can move when they are her age. Thank you Mary you motivate the shit out of me.


Colm O Reilly wrote …

Great work Mary.

Would it be possible to get your lifestyle/daily schedule?

The reason I'm asking is that it'd be great to show this vid to people and then say that this enables you to do daily tasks that other people your own age can't.

Do you do your own shopping? Life independently? Wash yourself?

I understand if some of this is personal, and I'm not looking to pry, but it would be great to espouse the benefits of CrossFit. I reckon as CFers we can see the workouts and go "that's cool!" but mere mortals probably want to know the "real life" benefits.

Thanks again,
CF Ireland


wrote …

Mary, you are a contender! Anyone who ends up on the floor after a workout is a serious crossfitter.

My mother, age 70, is really pushing me away in my efforts to get her into some crossfit training -- I'd love to know how you started, and what you were doing at the beginning of your CF training, what your lifestyle was, how it has changed. That might help me to put together a CF for my mom that wouldn't intimidate her, but might also inspire her.

I WILL be showing my mom this video. Mary, you are Awesome! As an elder-care professional, I have to say that Jim is a great trainer who is contributing greatly to the older community. His techniques are gentle and intuitive, but he also gives his clients the respect of knowing what they can accomplish, even if they themselves don't know. Good job!

Just Wow. That's all I have to say.


wrote …

Colm O'Reilly and Heather Wood,

I'll try to answer your questions about my lifestyle, how CrossFit has altered it, and what an old lady can at least try for in the workouts. I should correct my age. I'm 77. I won't be 78 until June--no hurry to get there!

Regarding my lifestyle since I've been with CrossFit and its "real life" benefits: I can sum it all up by telling you that it has given me a sense of well-being, strength, and confidence, plus a sense of camaraderie and belonging. Where else could an old lady find those things? Not sitting on a park bench or on the couch knitting, that's for sure! In my daily life I do everything I've always done but have to be careful to not bump my shin on anything at home or in the gym. Old people have thinner skin and it splits open with the least little bump or scrape.

I don't run because it jars the facet joints of my arthritic cervical vertebrae (painful) and makes my workout less rewarding, but I think it's important to go for a hike (up and down hills) separate from my workouts, and I try to do that every morning before breakfast. I workout at least 4 times a week, and I do try to push myself, but I work hardest once a week when I'm with my trainer.
Soon after the video, with Jimmy checking my form, I got a come-back to a 95 lb on the dead, so now I'm heading for 100.

I can't do presses well because of my bad posture, although I do some push press with the 15 lb bar. I'm the BAD in the pictures of presses showing the angle of the arms (40 degrees). I'm working on posture and Narene, one of our trainers, has helped me a lot with that. All of the trainers are very good to me and I love them all. Jimmy Baker is my "steady" trainer and you've seen how hard he works at getting me stronger, insisting that I be able to get up from the floor.

The Gravitron is my crutch for pull-ups and dips, but I hang on the bar too (can't pull-up without help). I row and sometimes do a 2K and I like to bench press. Wall ball really puts me on the ground, but I try. I use the ABmat and also do sit-ups and back extensions on the GHD. I can't do burpees at all; man, are they hard! And of course, there are the squats and lunges almost every day.

Colm, I had to smile when you asked if I did my own shopping. Because of CF I'm not afraid to haul up a 50 lb sack of flour--like a deadlift and then pop it off my thigh into the shopping cart. That's pretty independent. I have a strong, healthy husband, so I don't live "independently", but I know that I could and I'm not afraid of that.

Please feel free to use my email if sometime in the future either of you have another question. (

All the best,


wrote …

Mary - Outstanding!

People of any age would benefit from emulating your upbeat attitude, work ethic and determination.

I would wish you luck with the 100lbs deadlift, but I get the feeling that it won't be a factor!


Colm O Reilly wrote …


Thanks for the answer. Will has cyber slapped me for asking the questions I did, but all I was thinking of the things my grandmother needs help to do, and where - unfortunately - my own mother is rapidly heading.

Thanks once more for your answer. Happy CrossFitting,


wrote …

Colin, not a problem. I knew where you were coming from and I tried to let you know that I actually do wash myself, and the floors, and anything or anyone else that needs it. So, just cyber slap Will right back. I appreciated your concern and I somehow knew that it was for a parent.


wrote …


As a somewhat new CrossFitter (is that a word?), I look at what your doing as inspiration. As has been stated before, your work ethic and drive are awe inspiring.


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