Strongman and CrossFit

By Rob Orlando

In Sports Applications, Videos

September 04, 2009

Video Article

“Can you be fit and really strong? That’s the test right now,” says Rob Orlando of Hybrid Athletics in this Again Faster video.

A strongman competitor who discovered CrossFit and finished 22nd at the 2009 CrossFit Games, Orlando is now trying to prove that a 600-lb. deadlift doesn’t mean you have to have a three-minute 400-meter time and a max-pull-ups PR of two.

Orlando has always been a successful strongman competitor, but since discovering CrossFit he’s had fewer injuries and doesn’t have to train for five months in preparation for one event. As for the results of his “hybrid training,” Orlando is still winning strongman contests—and he’d like a return engagement at The Ranch in 2010.

“I think strongman guys, they haven’t caught on yet to the fact that increasing your work capacity is good regardless of whether it’s heavy or light.”

6min 35sec

Additional reading: CrossFit Strength Bias by Jeff Martin and Darrell White, originally published February 7, 2009.



26 Comments on “Strongman and CrossFit”


wrote …

Great video.


wrote …

Awesome, Rob's the boss.


wrote …

Good Stuff!


wrote …

great stuff Rob, congrats on aromas too. i'm a big fan of yours and your strongman training. keep on posting clips for us humans!


wrote …

I'm still in awe of the 100 body weight squats, posted the other day on the main site. Inspiring! I can't wait to see how Rob does next year.


Nigel Gordijk wrote …

Rob may be my favourite crossfitter, I believe he's one of few men who could beat the infamous Josh Everett in the King Kong workout. I know he did his own sadistic version of it (6 rounds instead of 3) but it'd be neat to see those 2 go head to head in that workout.

Good job at the games Rob!


wrote …



wrote …

Not only is he strong as a bull, but he's a very bright, mature and articulate guy. Kudos, Rob!


wrote …

Do you do any other type of other strength training besides crossfit?


wrote …

Awesome interview and accomplishments! You are da MAN!
One thing I've always been interested in is diet and you say during Strongman competition training, you would eat 6-7k calories. Is there any way you can provide a food diary of THAT much food. I have a hard time putting down 2-3k.
What is your diet look like during your CF training in comparison?


wrote …

Rob is who I want to be when I grow up!


replied to comment from David Jones

I'm also very curious about this. I assume your doing some additional training?


Rob Barrese wrote …

I'm glad Rob's making the leap of faith and leading by example. It isn't rocket science and most people who like to train hard inherently "get it." The results are in Rob's efforts. I personally have experienced increase in strength after periods of high rep, lower weight movements in the absence of "strength work." Although the two should go hand in hand.


Adam Kruppa wrote …

Something's gotta give.


wrote …

Great Video! Keep it up Rob, your a beast!


replied to comment from Brian Waiser

While I have no idea how Rob did it personally, downing a really high #'s of calories shouldn't be THAT difficult. Start by consuming food regularly, shoot for every 2-3 hours (should be doing this whether you are trying to gain weight or not, really). Remember, its easier to drink calories than it is to eat them. You could always go with the whole milk solution synonymous with Rippetoe. Or you could make your own concoction. Try throwing milk, a banana, couple handfuls of stawberries, couple handfuls of nuts, splash of orange juice, PB, you name it into a blender. Its easy to drink, tasty, well balanced and high in kcals. 3000 would be no problem.


replied to comment from Kevin Smith

No way Rob is who i want to be when i grow up too! Rob is such a beast its not even funny!


wrote …

Thank you for all the positive feedback, everyone. I've really enjoyed reading the commentary. There were questions about the strongman diet I used to employ. I ate EVERYTHING in sight but the food was junk. Carbs, carbs and more carbs. For example, Friday nights before my strongman workout on Saturday, I would order Indian food and get the dinner for 2. Then order extra Nan bread, extra orders of rice, and 3 tins of different chickens. Add about 5 beers and you've got several thousand calories....for dinner. That style of eating kept me heavy and strong but otherwise, worthless.

My diet now is an un-measured zone with loads of clean fats. I work out 4 to 6 days per week and the workouts are all over the place in terms of programming. Some wods heavy, some light, some short, some long, and some really heavy and really long. I still love strongman and I do it every Saturday to keep my raw strength up. We've got a growing number of athletes showing up for our open hours on Saturdays to throw around stones, sandbags, axles, logs, yokes, and the like.

Thanks again everyone for keeping things positive. Stay strong!


Nigel Gordijk wrote …

If it's not to much trouble, would you mind outlaying a sample of what one of your strongman workout days would look like, when you only were doing it twice per week. I completely understand if you don't want to post that though.


wrote …

I have been training with Rob for a month now and I have to say that I Love it! Rob's energy is pure and playful, he will hit you with a workout that will humble you and smile with you after. What I have gathered is that Rob judges your character on your work ethics and for me I am all about the sweat equity of life so Rob has been a brother in the making. I am glad he has put up with me so far.



wrote …


Without disrespecting Rob, can someone let me know what a proper box jump entails. Is a hip extension at the top of a box jump required or can we do it like they did in the video?

Rob, keep up the good work and the 100 squat video blew my mind. It's going to take me months to get that done but I have a goal.


replied to comment from jonathan reisinger

Rob you could easily press me overhead or throw me across a football field, so with all due respect I'd recommend full hip extension on the box jumps, full range of motion..;)
Thanks for the video and upping your work capacity while staying strong,great motivation.


wrote …

re# 21: box jumps

yeah. the box jumps in that video are NOT ideal form. granted, they were doing 30 inches, which is a big box.
but what they were doing is what I would call a box touch.

a proper box jump should have see the hips extending all the way at the top. this can either be whileyou are standing on the box or in the air after bouncing off the box, but while your feet are still higher than the box.

one of the regional games qualifiers required that the entire foot land on the box, not just the front part of the foot. i have adopted this as a coaching point for athletes at our affiliate because it requires a higher level of accuracy and it prevents slipping of the box.

this is NOT intended as an insult to Rob or Jason who are obviously both talented athletes. I have a great amount of respect and admiration for Rob Orlando, and i recently did a CFE cert at Crossfit Milford and Jay seemed like a really nice guy and a great coach.

but yeah those are some ugly box jumps. but hey, they always say that some breakdown in form is acceptable when you are pushing the boundaries of intensity.


wrote …

Thanks Benjamin,

The coaches at the box I attend absolutely hammer us if we have no hip extension. Proper technique has helped a lot of guys use the 36" box for every wod that has box jumps.

I'm 5"11 and 218 lbs and 36" box jumps absolutely kill my time.


replied to comment from Robert Orlando

hi rob your diet now looks pretty good? so are you just having starchy carbs after a workout? how many fats are you getting roughly? cus of your size you must still be eating loads to maintain size and STRENGTH!
you must have been eating loads of starch carbs when you were strongmaning!
your very inspiring and keep up the good work! I will hopefully see you at hybrid one day ;)


replied to comment from Robert Orlando

hi rob your diet now looks pretty good? so are you just having starchy carbs after a workout? how many fats are you getting roughly? cus of your size you must still be eating loads to maintain size and STRENGTH!
you must have been eating loads of starch carbs when you were strongmaning!
your very inspiring and keep up the good work! I will hopefully see you at hybrid one day ;)

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