In Competition, Sports Applications, Videos

February 16, 2010

Video Article

Rob Orlando is a CrossFitter and strongman competitor, so he’s the first to tell you an 800-lb. deadlift doesn’t mean much if you can’t do pull-ups or double-unders.

Orlando is the owner of Hybrid Athletics, and his Jan. 16 Hybrid Winter Challenge was designed to challenge athletes in a wide variety of ways.

“My goal was to try test people’s ability to adapt quickly and still be strong,” he explains.

Recognizing that strongman events for CrossFitters need an on-ramp of sorts, Orlando set the competition up to give everyone a chance to compete at manageable events before sending the truly strong competitors on to a very difficult final WOD that would push them to the limit.

Video by Again Faster.

4min 14sec

Additional video: Being Strong for Fragile X, Part 1 by Kurtis Bowler, published Jan. 3, 2010.

Free Download


26 Comments on “The Hybrid Winter Challenge”


wrote …

Now that was awesome!


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

BIG Rob Holy S**T! That was a crazy contest!!!

Kick ass and hope to connect soon!

Be awesome,



wrote …

Great ideas Rob...


wrote …

Thats what I'm talking about!!! Rob O the Original CrossFit Strongman!!! Did you see all those CrossFit Harlem T-Shirts???!!! HARLEM FULLY SUPPORTS ROB O AND HIS MISSION TO BRING STRONGMAN TO CROSSFIT!!! ITS ABOUT TIME CROSSFITTERS GET KEGS AND STONES IN THEIR HANDS!!!


wrote …

I loved the video and concept. But, whoever wrote the intro above, while I realize you are paraphrasing a comment from the video, do you really think that "an 800-lb. deadlift doesn’t mean much if you can’t do pull-ups or double-unders"? Have you told Louie Simmons that? I can understand that having an 800-lb deadlift and no double-unders won't work in a competition that involves double-unders, but a little more credit should be given to the few people in this world that have a 800-lb deadlift. That's a lifetime of incredibly hard work (and how long does it take to get double-unders, anyway?!). Maybe I'm nitpicking, but this really bothered me for some reason. 800-lbs is a BIG number to be throwing around casually.


wrote …

5 Words- Lauren Plumey is a BABE!


wrote …

As always Rob Very impressive !


wrote …

Always like hearing from Rob, sharp guy, and I really dig strongman stuff.


replied to comment from Michael Dimitruk

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment.

No disrespect is meant to anyone with an 800-lb. deadlift, but this is, after all, a CrossFit site, and having a spectacular deadlift and limited competency in other standard CrossFit movements isn't what CrossFit is all about. To us, it doesn't mean anything to be great at one thing and crummy at the rest. That's why the Level 1 Manual uses triathlete Mark Allen as an example of an amazing specialist who wouldn't do well in some aspects of a GPP program. It's also why the CrossFit Games "punish the specialist."

Rob made his point in the video by explaining how being unable to do double-unders would have knocked you out of the Hybrid Winter Challenge after one event, and Rob is a guy who obviously places a lot of emphasis on strength.

As final example, I know a Canadian CrossFit affiliate owner who has pulled 800, won a bodybuilding contest and has no problems with pull-ups or double-unders. I respect all those things more than I respect any one of them.

Mike Warkentin
CrossFit Journal


wrote …

Great competition, amazing competitors, and humble host. Thanks Rob!


keith norris wrote …

Fantastic competitive arrangement; brilliant concept. Would love to see a sprint and/or agility element added to the mix - the average of 5 40 times, 10-sec b/t "heats", the average of 5 pro agility rounds, little rest b/t rounds, something of that nature.


replied to comment from keith norris

Hi Keith--

Thanks for the commentary. I definitely wanted to do some kind of sprint work as part of one of the wods but the New England winters can punish those who plan on being outside in January. Unfortunately, we just don't live in an area where you can count on decent weather. When our Fall Challenge rolls around you can bet we'll be outside.

Mike W. is on point in regards to the deadlift comment. Thanks, Mike.

I appreciate all the positive chatter. Good stuff, people.

Rob O


replied to comment from Michael Warkentin

Thanks, Mike. I appreciate the reply.



wrote …

That was scruptulescent!!! Rob, you are onto something revolutionary. Keep em' coming


wrote …

I wish I could watch the entire contest! That looked like it was a brutal!


wrote …

I really like Rob O's style. I've never tried any strongman stuff, but I like how he points out that being able to clean/press/whatever a bar is very different to a real world object.

Very enjoyable video and can't wait to give it a go!


wrote …

Rob Orlando is the s%$!, this strongman stuff with a CrossFit twist is amazing. It's good to see the practical application of our training in a competition. You won't press a barbell on the real world, but a fire hydrant, something heavy and round, or a keg is possible


wrote …

Good stuff Rob, keep up the great work!


wrote …

I'm curious to know how much it hurt for that girl that practically dropped the atlas stone on her head and rolled it down her back? It seems like different safety issues (technique/spotting) might come into play more with heavy obstacles like those in the video. Just interested to see what people think, but otherwise I loved the video.


wrote …

I forgot to mention that doing the Hybrid Challenge inspired us at CrossFit KoP (Aimee Lyons) to buy stone molds to make our own stones. I also know Rob O. holds a Strongman seminar to teach all the elements of strongman and specifically things like how to make stones, how to lift logs, etc. He also inspired us to have a party so we could keep the keg to fill with water/sand. Ok, maybe we didn't need THAT much inspiration to get a keg...


wrote …

Good Point Chris!!! His next seminar is April 3rd at CrossFit USA in Hartford CT!!! Go to for all the info!!! I went and for 100.00 its well worth it!!! Better attend now before its 600.00 on!!!


wrote …

Rob, fun concept and what a fantastic interview. Keep up the strong work!


wrote …


video was awesome, event was awesome..

Brian-rule #1 rule when lifting stones odd objects "DON'T DROP IT ON YOUR HEAD"

if it's not going to be locked out, push it in a direction away from your body and move your ass out of the way.....Push one way, move the other....


wrote …

Watching the videos of Rob's gym posted here is awesome. His gym just seems straight up wild at some points which I love.


Jesse Gray wrote …

In regards to the 800lb DL and double unders/pull-ups. Well double unders are one thing but I would be pretty shocked if a person strong enough to pull 800lbs off the ground didn't have the arm strength to do a pull up!

Anyways, this strongman stuff is great, I think in certain respects it really hits at the core of Crossfit, functional strength. Lifting a barbell is one thing but having the technique to lift oddly shaped objects that present practical, real world strength is a huge benefit. Maybe there should be a "carry a couch up one flight of stairs that has a 180* turn in it" WOD! I think I did that one once a year in college and it never got any easier!


wrote …

great concepts, i love the use of different things being utilized and not just exclusively weights; especially the fire hydrant.

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