Recently in Competition Category

In about May of 2003 I discovered CrossFit when I typed "pull-ups" into an Internet search engine and, no surprise, it appeared high in the results list. I read through the workouts posted on the CrossFit site and was both amazed and skeptical. Who does 100 pull-ups in a workout?! Anyone capable of doing ten was considered a superman in the gym. And who combines lifting with "cardio" for rounds for time? That wasn't what I read in the bodybuilding magazines, and it sure wasn't what the powerlifters in my gym did. I was intrigued and figured I had nothing to lose.

I had joined a gym in 1981 when I finally got sick of being obese and weak. I started with "20 sets per body part" Muscle and Fitness-type bodybuilding workouts, and then moved into competitive powerlifting when I realized I had actually become fairly strong. After sustaining several shoulder injuries and becoming disillusioned with the use of support gear, I stopped powerlifting and was again going through the motions of non-productive lifting routines until CrossFit changed the way I thought about what a workout could be and the results I could get.

In the beginning, I picked through the posted CrossFit Workouts of the Day (WODs), attempting the ones I thought I could manage and posting my results.

Arrival--June 29

I drop my bags in my hotel room and decide to head back out to get something to eat. It's getting late and I've been traveling since 0430. As I pass the desk, I see a group of people walking out to the parking lot, as well, a loose mix of men, women, and kids. I am almost certain they are CrossFitters. The CrossFit Games begin tomorrow morning, and the women in this group look fit--not Swiss Ball, step-aerobics, Kate Moss-type fit, mind you, but pull-up, clean-and-jerk, kettlebell-swing fit. Nice.

After dinner I get lost on a reconnaissance of the Games' location--I drive right by the road that the games are on. As I run out of sunlight, I finally find the site and get a brief glimpse of where the Games will be: the giant pull-up bar station on the side of a warehouse-looking building is the giveaway. My hands itch involuntarily. My calluses aren't where they need to be, as I've taken a few weeks off due to some injuries and a jiu-jitsu tournament a week ago. Darn.

Back in my hotel room, I'm a little anxious as I lie in bed staring at the ceiling. I really should relax. I have no illusions about winning anything. I have been doing CrossFit and posting on the WOD blog for over a year and a half now, and these same people that I have been watching on video clips, reading about in workout time posts, and learning from, are a class above me in fitness. I just don't want to embarrass myself. Please let me not finish last, I think as I doze off.

One week after the (2007) CrossFit Games I was sitting around CF Santa Cruz and the topic of the top three male competitors came up. Someone marveled that they all performed at such high levels. As the discussions gained some steam I wondered to myself what they all have in common in the performance arena. The first thing that came to mind was the benchmark workout known as "Fran" (three rounds, at 21, 15, and 9 reps, respectively, of 95-pound thrusters and pull-ups). I knew for a fact that all three of them had a sub-3:00 "Fran" time. So I wondered what other benchmark performance numbers they put up. What does it take to compete with these three? What are some constants in their performances? And, are there certain benchmark workouts and exercises that act as indicators (and predictors) of broad fitness and capacity across diverse domains?

Brett Marshall (known as "AFT") and James Fitzgerald ("OPT") flew in from Canada to compete in the Games. Marshall burst into the realm of the CrossFit elite with his sub-2:00 time on "Diane" (three rounds, 21, 15, and 9 reps, of 225px-pound deadlifts and handstand push-ups). His training partner, Fitzgerald, is equally impressive. Josh Everett, the head strength and conditioning coach for UC Riverside's athletic teams--drove up from Southern California. He is well known in the CrossFit world for his lifting prowess, his broad fitness, and his epic battles against Greg Amundson at "Fran." The games The first event, the Hopper, was won by Marshall. He dominated the workout, which consisted of a 100px0- meter row followed by five rounds of twenty-five pull- ups, and seven 135px-pound jerks. Fitzgerald took second, and third went to Chris Spealler from Salt Lake City. Everett rounded out the group in fourth place.The second event, the off-trail run, saw Spealler winning and Fitzgerald again taking second. Marshall came in third, and Everett finished in the top ten.

On October 2, 2004, CrossFit North in Seattle held the 2nd Annual CrossFit Championships. This year’s competition had a strong field of 28 competitors and even more spectators. CrossFit North has a new facility this year that is more than double the size of the original and the field of competitors almost tripled. Participation at last year’s event was buoyed by a few ringers brought in from CrossFit Headquarters in Santa Cruz, CA. The participants at this year’s competition were all from the Northwest, showing that the CrossFit concept is clearly expanding thanks to the efforts of Dave Werner, Nick Nibler and the newest member of the CrossFit NW family, Kurtis Bowler- owner of Rainier CrossFit.

The format of the competition was unknown by all of the competitors till the day of the competition. Last year’s competition was three rounds of: 400m run, 21 kettlebell swings and 12 pullups. That workout is now known as “Helen”. The workout this year was a long, linear circuit resembling an obstacle course with fitness implements.

Pullup Challenge

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Last winter we challenged the message board crew to drive towards 40+ pullups by September '04. After a couple of deadline extensions the contest officially ended with seven winners – Lynne Pitts, Kelly Moore, Aaron Fisher, Adam Walinsky, Larry Lindenman, Ryan Atkins, and Graham Hayes. Each received a CrossFit Champion T-shirt.

From a contest intended to demonstrate that the secret to high rep pull-ups is desire and that all methods couple successfully with desire, here are Larry Lindenman and Lynne Pitts recounting their paths to success.

"My pull-up challenge started when the contest was first posted. I had been completing the Workout of the Day since September 2003. I have been doing the WOD, as written, with no modifications, since February 2004. Along the way I have picked up or made every piece of equipment necessary to stock a Crossfit Gym, except I still substitute towel chins for rope climbs and I haven't purchased a GHR bench yet. I am a 43 year old police officer, with approximately 20 years of weight training experience and 37 years of athletic experience. I rockclimb and teach and practice martial arts. I am currently 6'0", 200 lbs, approximately 6-7 % bodyfat.

How Fit Are You?

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We've long desired to offer a fitness competition consistent with our fitness model (See CrossFit Journal October 2002, "What is Fitness?") and have found the task fraught with difficulties.

Early we realized that the logistics of running an on-site fitness competition like STREND are both complicated and ultimately limit the number of participants. The fitness test, or competition, that we offer this month is conducted at a facility and time of the athlete's choosing.

Our initial hope was to design a competition that would not only reflect CrossFit's broad fitness concept but would also accommodate men and women, large and small athletes, the young and seniors, and individuals of all fitness levels. Additionally, we wanted a competition that would motivate and reward fitness improvements among our fittest. Specifically, we set out to motivate an improvement in the absolute strength, relative strength, and gymnastics foundations of all CrossFit participants. Unfortunately this last consideration rendered the design troublesome for many who are other than already very fit and male. So, what we ended up with was a competition where the ability even to complete the test suggests a fairly advanced level of fitness. Looking at the ten general physical adaptations to exercise (cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, stamina, power, speed, flexibility, agility, accuracy, coordination, and balance) we saw that advanced calisthenic and weightlifting movements present an excellent opportunity to advance neurological skills like agility, accuracy, coordination, and balance.


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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Competition category.

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