The regional qualifying round of the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games is complete. The organizers of the CrossFit games wanted them to go out with a bang, so they saved what could be considered the most intense workout for last. Clocking in at 4 minutes, the 13.5 workout gave the athletes the shortest workout of the Open, which means it was probably be the most physically intense one too. As a general rule, the shorter the workout, the more intense it will be. Talking about the short time span, William Christian commented, “It’s…tricky. You can do anything for 4 minutes, but you have to be smart about it… For me, it was more of a mental challenge.”, referring to the intensity and duration of the exercises. The 13.5 CrossFit workout also had a twist that no previous workout offered. It rewarded the fittest athletes with an additional “Bonus Round” of punishing workout time if they exceeded a preset number of reps.
As with the 13.4 workout, the athletes had to use a combination of free weights and pull-up type exercises. Comparing the two workouts, Brian Yoak said, “In difficulty it felt similar to to 13.4, in that it hit you fast”. To allow quick access to the overhead bars, the athletes are packed into a tight bunch of raw muscle power and intense, powerful motion that has to be seen to understand how impressive it really is. The close proximity of so many powerful bodies all performing identical movements is awe-inspiring.
A thruster is a muscle-draining exercise that combines squats and a barbell. An athlete must squat down, lift the barbell off the floor, squat with the barbell on their chest, then stand and lift the barbell over their head. Performing a thruster during competition is quite different than lifting some weights in your garage or even just to warm up. There’s the pressure of completing enough reps to move on to the next step with the need to conserve enough strength to go back to the barbell and pound out another set afterward with no rest in between. “The bar felt heavier than 100lbs after the previous 60 reps, being able to control breathing while moving the bar was key”, commented Yoak.
“The extra capacity it takes for chest to bar increases breathing and if you don’t remain consistent in your movements and know how to breath when working as hard as you can, the thrusters would be tons more difficult.” – Brian Yoak
After the required number of thrusters are completed, the CrossFit Legacy athletes run to the pull-up bar and throw themselves into chest-to-bars. These are like chin-ups on steroids. “The hardest part was trying to maintain a good pace during the chest to bar”, commented CrossFit athlete William Christian. An athlete must lift themselves up high enough so their chest comes in contact with the bar they’re holding onto. The vertical lift they are required to perform is extraordinary with many athletes’ feet coming over 3′ off the ground with every rep. CrossFit athletes try not to simply do a chin-up type motion, but to complete a butterfly movement where they swing their entire body all the way back and all the way forward as if on a trapeze. This is a very efficient movement and allows for a high number of reps in a short period of time as long as a rhythm is able to be maintained, but it’s immensely tiring and quite difficult to continue rep after rep.
The athletes kept moving back and forth between thrusters and chin-to-bars until the 4 minute mark was hit. That is, unless. they were able to complete 90 reps (3 rounds of each exercise) in the 4 minute span, in which case they got to continue the workout for another 4 minutes in a bonus round. The bonus round was an additional set of reps that pushed an athlete to the brink of their physical and mental endurance. Many athletes really felt the burn set in around the 70-80 rep mark. Christian commented, “I felt like I was spent when I got to 70 (reps)”. The thought of another 4 minutes is a motivator but also a bit of a relief. Brian Yoak didn’t make the bonus round, but summed it up well, “I was disappointed i didn’t make it past 4 min, but the fear of the pain also made it a relief.” Typically, there was only one athlete from a heat that would be able to make the bonus round, and that athlete had the entire gym as a cheering section. All eyes were focused on that lone athlete throwing everything they had against the workout and never giving in. This test of the athlete’s mettle was rewarded by the satisfaction of knowing that they are among the most elite athletes in CrossFit and the additional reward of accruing additional points toward the CrossFit Regional score, propelling them further ahead in the qualifying round.
With the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Open qualifying round drawing to a close, CrossFit Legacy is able to look back with pride at it’s athlete’s hard work and effort. cross the gym, the scores were even higher than the 2012 CrossFit Games and the number of athletes competing was higher as well. Most athletes bested their 2012 scores considerably and have every confidence that the 2014 CrossFit Games will be an even higher mark in their personal best. Brian Yoak, CrossFit Legacy owner, is immensely proud of his athletes. Through their hard work and dedication combined with his drive to forge the fittest athletes, CrossFit Legacy sets itself apart from every gym in northeast Ohio, and cements it’s place as one of the premiere CrossFit gyms in the country.