Posted on April 15, 2013
Posted on April 8, 2013
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.
Posted on March 27, 2013
If you were competing and don’t see your photo here, it’s because I wasn’t able to find a good angle to photograph you during your workout. It’s my goal to stay out of the athlete’s way during their workout to avoid distracting them or risking an injury.
If you’re a CrossFit athlete, please feel free to download any of the images from Flickr and use them on your blog, social media, to make prints for yourself, etc. All the images are licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Posted on March 20, 2013
Here’s the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/st1100pilot/sets/72157633031321733/
Feel free browse the set and any of my Flickr photos!
Posted on March 18, 2013
As the clock neared the start of the second week of qualifying for the CrossFit Open (13.2), the atmosphere inside CrossFit Legacy was buzzing with nervous excitement. Athletes were busy stretching and massaging muscles, taping wrists and fingers, and walking out the nervous energy. There was no less excitement in the air than there is in an NBA locker room before a game or in the pits of a NASCAR race before the green flag drops. These elite athletes have trained for months to compete in the Open, and they take it seriously.
One athlete I talked with, a former SWAT Team member on the Akron Police Department, compared getting ready to compete in a CrossFit qualifier to getting geared up and armed right before jumping out of a SWAT van and going into a raid. “The feeling in your stomach is the same feeling. You get butterflies and your head buzzes.”
CrossFit Legacy athlete Jessica Whitehead said “I always get butterflies when it’s nearing my turn. I’m anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time”. The intensity of the workouts they are facing along with the drive to be the best puts CrossFit Legacy athletes a step ahead of most other gyms.
Announced on Wednesday, this week’s workout (13.2) consisted of three distinct steps to be repeated as many times as possible over a period of 10 minutes. Men were given barbells weighing 115LBS, and women were given barbells weighing 75LBS. They were required to lift the weights over their head 5 times, then put the barbell on the ground. The athlete had to do 10 deadlifts in a row with the same barbell. A deadlift is when an athlete lifts a barbell from the ground to a standing position with the weight at waist level, then places it back on the ground without dropping it. Thirdly the athlete had to do 15 box jumps or steps, which is when the athlete jumps or steps up and down from a box 24″ tall. The individual is scored based on how many times they could work their way through the workout in a 10 minute time span.
From all accounts, the box jump was the most difficult part of the 13.2 workout. When asked about which part of the workout she found most challenging, Jessica Whitehead said “The box jump was the most difficult part, they took the air right out of you. I felt my legs already getting fatigued on the second round of box jumps.”
This workout differed from last week’s (13.1) in a number of ways. Firstly, this was more of an endurance test. The athlete had to pace themselves carefully from the start. One of the challenges with this specific workout was to start the workout at pace that was fast enough to complete a high number of steps, but make sure they have enough gas in the tank at the end of the workout as to not hit the wall. The 13.2 workout also tended to wear down an athlete by requiring stamina as much as strength. The 13.1 workout was heavier on brute strength. The officials for the CrossFit Open have made sure to design workouts that will level the playing field across all athletes, and not just favor ones with more strength or ones with higher stamina.
With over 20 athletes competing at Saturday morning’s qualifier, the gym was filled to capacity with athletes and supporting friends and family. Gym owner Brian Yoak started the morning off at 9:15 by going over the week 2 (13.2) workout and explaining what will be and won’t be allowed. He then went over which athletes will be competing in each of the 6 heats scheduled for that morning. When the starting time arrived, Brian hit the throbbing music on the gym’s stereo and started the bright red LED 10 minute timer on the back wall. The first heat had only 2 athletes competing so the rest of the athletes got a good look at what was ahead of them. Most athletes began the workout with a snap to their lifts and by jumping up on each box jump, but by the 2-minute mark when muscles begin to burn and knees begin to weaken, many of them opt for a quick step up on to the box. When the 10-minute mark is approaching and the athletes have spent much of their fuel, Brian tirelessly goes from athlete to athlete exhorting and encouraging each one of them to move faster and give it their all.
Talking to the athletes, they describe such a focus that they block out nearly everything except for their coach’s words.
“The end of the workout is when you need the most encouragement. It feels great to hear your fellow athletes screaming your name or telling you to pick up the bar – it’s the extra push you need to finish strong”.
CrossFit Legacy prides itself in building athletes that are determined to be the best the can possibly be. Even other CrossFit gyms realize the intensity that CrossFit Legacy athletes bring to the table. However, unlike most typical gyms where everything is about the self, CrossFit Legacy athletes compete as a team and are constantly praising and encouraging each other and helping one another to be the very best they can be. At no time is any condescending or snobbish attitude present. The newest and most green athlete is praised and cheered as loudly and vigorously as the gym owner himself is. In the last heat of the day, Brian Yoak turned in his qualification for the week and went home just a tired as all the other athletes to rest until next week’s (13.3) workout.
Posted on March 11, 2013
Week one is in the books. With over 50 athletes from CrossFit Legacy attempting to qualify for the CrossFit Regionals, Brian Yoak and his gym were well represented in the national leaderboards. Qualifying began on Thursday, 3/7 and ran until Sunday, 3/10. This allows every athlete time to get their workout in the books no matter what their job schedule requirements are.
Week 1’s workout was timed at 17 minutes and required the following:
30 Snatch, 75 / 45 lbs
30 Snatch, 135 / 75 lbs
30 Snatch, 165 / 100 lbs
Max rep Snatch, 210 / 120 lbs
A burpee, for those not familiar with the term is where an athlete performs a push-up, then gets to their feet and jumps up to touch a target 6″ higher than their standing reach.
A snatch is when an athlete lifts a barbell over their head and displays control with elbows and knees locked. The two different weights for the snatches are for men and women, respectively.
Up to 6 CrossFit Legacy athletes attempt to qualify at the same time, so there’s a tremendous amount of energy and movement in the gym. Each athlete has a fellow athlete judging them by ensuring that every portion of the workout is performed correctly and by counting down the number of items left to be completed for each step in the workout.
The gym is a team and it shows.
Everybody in the gym cheers for the athletes and shouts encouragement to them as they work their way through the routine. The judges, while being strict about adherence to the rules, act as the athlete’s own coach and motivational support. Brian Yoak, owner of CrossFit Legacy, constantly walks from athlete to athlete motivating them and critiquing their workout, helping them get every ounce of efficiency from their movements. There were no injuries to any athletes, even with the high intensity of the workout.
After the workout, each athlete is congratulated no matter the outcome. Their qualification attempts are a testament to their unrelenting commitment to fitness and the spirit of competition. Week 2’s workout, 13.2, gets released on Wednesday, live in NYC at 8pm EST at http://games.crossfit.com/. CrossFit gyms from around the world will be competing to send athletes to the CrossFit Regionals in their respective areas. Brian feels confident that CrossFit Legacy will be well represented in 2013 at the CrossFit Regionals in Columbus.
CrossFit Legacy’s results after week 1 are:
CrossFit Legacy Week 1 Standings
|First name||Last name||Week 1 score||Week 2 score||Week 3 score||Week 4 score||Week 5 score||Final score|
Posted on February 17, 2013
I was hired to shoot photos for www.crossfitlegacy.com to use on their new website. I did the photo shoot over a period of four weeks to get a large number of different clients in the shots and different workouts.
CrossFit Legacy has large doors that face the east, so in the morning I tried to make the earliest workouts to take advantage of the beautiful sunshine streaming in. This allowed me to work without a flash and allowed for some very dramatic photos with a lot of contrast.
The athletes there were very understanding of the necessity to be open and not shy of a camera in their workout space. The intensity at a CrossFit gym is so high, that I don’t think they noticed me anyway. I tried to respect their space and their efforts and not impose into their zone.
I’ll post photos from the other shoots there, as each photo shoot was different and unique.
I am available for hire to shoot corporate events such as 5k runs, team-building exercises, team challenges, athletic competitions, and tournaments.