Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5 Things I Learned at Regionals

CrossFit King of Prussia competitors
This past weekend I had the privilege of being on the team for CrossFit King of Prussia at the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition held in Landover, MD. Our owner, Aimee Lyons, competed as an individual and six of us competed as a team. We went in ranked 29th out of 30 teams (140 competed in our region during the Open) and came out 24th. Our best finish was 11th in event 1 (partner deadlifts and handstand push ups) and overall it was a great weekend. Seeing all of those teams and individuals compete was awe-inspiring and provided some food for thought, so I thought I'd share five things I learned at Regionals.

21 year old Ben Smith snatching 265# for 1st place
1. No matter how good you think you are, there's someone better than you. 
You can be big fish in a small pond, but Regionals is a much bigger pond. Drawing the top competitors from PA, MD, DE, WV, VA, and NC means you can be the top dawg in your gym and still be bottom of the ladder at the next level. Even Ben Smith, who dominated the Mid-Atlantic Region with five first-place wins, came in eight for the dumbbell snatch event.  The constantly varied nature of CrossFit almost guarantees that no one will be the absolute best at every single thing. (some of you are probably going to argue for Froning/Thorisdottir/Clever, but I don't consider them human) It's one of the great things about CrossFit and it's why we say "leave your ego at the door." Humility comes with the territory. 

Danny of CF KoP on the 100# dumbbell snatch
2. Being strong makes the difference. 
Strength is the deciding factor when it comes to success vs. failure in CrossFit. The dumbbell snatch (100#s for men, 70#s for women), the 225/135 hang power cleans, and the max effort snatch separated the big guns from the water pistols. Athletes big and small were fine with pull ups and even pistols, but the heavy stuff allowed the elite to pull ahead. I think this trend will continue as the field of CrossFit competitors grows and the need for stratification remains. The 2008 CrossFit Games final even was 30 squat cleans to overhead at 155# (105# for women). Back then, that was a heavy weight, but now Graham Holmberg does that workout once a week. My only contention is that if they're going to have a max effort lift, they should balance it with an aerobic exercises such as a mile+ run. But I digress.

"Reebok" chairs

3. The sport of fitness has arrived...and Reebok is here to stay. 
Reebok is here and it's here to stay. Whether you like it or not, the branding was apparel, I mean, apparent. We got to Regionals a day early and decided to check out the facilities. As we were walking around the athlete area, we noticed the chairs had Reebok headrests. At first I thought it was insane that Reebok made chairs, but then I noticed a guy literally labeling the headrests with iron-on stickers. I'm not in the marketing world, so I'm sure this was normal, but it was really incredible to see "Reebok" on everything from those chairs, to the huge banners on the spectator fences, to the little cards that showed how much weight people were lifting. Reebok was smart to get in on CrossFit and they are here to stay. I'm sure those who win the $250,000 prize money at the Games will appreciate their involvement.

Dawn of CF Wilmington on the last bar of the snatch ladder, 185# and a 15#PR
4. There's always room for improvement.
"Get busy living or get busy dying." "You're either getting better or getting worse, no one stays the same." I don't think anybody comes away from Regionals thinking they are good where they are; I know I didn't. Watching the events, especially the snatch ladder, motivated me to focus on my weaknesses. These include the overhead squat and the snatch. Seeing the technical prowess and power from these individuals made me want to train the lift. I had always known I needed to work on them, but seeing proficiency in person motivates you more than seeing it on Youtube. I am calling this post-Regionals time frame the "Year of the Snatch."

BQ and Steve Pinkerton congratulating each other after a grueling event 4

5. The CrossFit community is awesome.
Members of CrossFit King of Prussia drove 2+ hours to see us workout for a few minutes at a time. It was so great to have them there for support and very generous of their time and money to come down and cheer us on. There were plenty of fan sections from each box, but one of the things that separates CrossFit from other sports is the fact that competitors cheer on EACH OTHER. Whether it was the first place team or the last place, we all congratulated each other on a job well done. Hearing "nice job" from people you've never met is a pretty cool thing, especially when you're directly competing against one another. One of the coolest events was the snatch ladder. Teams started on the 155# bar and worked their way up to heavier bars. If you didn't make the lift, you went over and waited on the side. As the crowd of us grew on the sidelines, we first fist bumped to acknowledge each others' efforts and then turned our attention to those remaining. One team member from CrossFit Wilmington made the 265# bar and we went nuts. A woman from the same team made the highest bar (185#) and the entire crowd went crazy. (see #4) People were there to support their own team or individuals, but no one was there to keep others down.

There was a lot more to Regionals, but these were the top things that I took away from the weekend. Did you attend any regional event as a competitor or spectator? What did you take away from it?


  1. Chris it was great to be there with you as part of the team. KT and I were talking aboout how we left regionals thinking, boy do we have a lot to work on - see #1, 2, and 4 in your list :) And I especially agree with #5 Crossfitters and fans are awesome and I hope that's something we never lose, appreciating what everyone has accomplished and cheering them on for doing what crossfitters do.
    I posted a recap yesterday too, it's ala Jason Lyons (e.g., wordier) for anyone that wants to read more

  2. Great write up Chris. I was so proud of you guys this weekend. I especially respect the hard work the 6 of you have put in this year specifically gearing for this event. You all deserved to be on that team and you worked so well together. Point #5 is one of the things I love most about CrossFit and I can't say I see the camaraderie as honestly and openly in any other sport. It was truly an exciting weekend and super motivating! I love that this is the year of the snatch for you too. My favorite lift (-: I look forward to what you all bring in 2013!


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