Testing one’s fitness is usually a lonely pursuit, but this competition aims to change that. Strength in Depth turns fitness testing (CrossFit) into an inherently social and community-based endeavor.
To be eligible for Strength in Depth (SiD) you are required to have 12 athletes as part of a team. Seven must be males, and five must be females, and one of each gender must be a master (40+ years old). This sounds easy for a gym to pull together such a team, but how many 40+-year-olds does your gym have that are willing to travel to Bath for a whole weekend, to compete at such a high level? This is what makes this competition unique.
CrossFit Leeds have always fielded at least one team at Strength in Depth, as the gym has a successful history of producing good athletes. This year we pushed hard and tried to ensure we had our best possible team available for the finals. In previous years some athletes have been put off by the 4+ hour drive and expensive accommodation in Bath, but in 2016 we all made a promise to get to the finals.
The qualifiers were good for CrossFit Leeds; there was nothing too heavy and we could move fast through the workouts. Most gyms have their own individual strengths and ours is fitness and gymnastics rather than super strong weightlifters (but we are pretty strong, I’ll give us some credit for that). As an example, we don’t have many athletes who can clean 140kg+ or snatch 110kg+.
Qualifier one was a partner workout with wall balls, deadlifts and power snatches. I paired with the pocket rocket that is Tara Watkins and we just tried to go as fast as possible through this one. All I can remember doing this back in June was that changing the weights on both barbells took forever, but we didn’t re-do it, as we were happy with our score. We positioned 5th as a whole team in this qualifier.
Qualifier two was done in three separate teams of four athletes (broken into two sub-teams of two). This one was shared thrusters and bar facing burpees straight into an 180 calorie row. We learned an important lesson that it is important to get a judge to count your reps! Lucy and I messed this one up on our first attempt as we lost count of reps after getting 80% of the way through the thrusters and burpees. We ended up resting 20 minutes and going again, as this was the last weekend to post a score. The row got tough. We positioned 13th overall on this one.
Qualifier three was great. The 12 best available athletes were selected by CrossFit Leeds owner Mike Rawlinson to complete this together. I was chosen to do this one, and we were split into four sub-teams of three. There were four parts to the workout, with the bar getting heavier and heavier each time. The workout I did with Sarah and Chris involved:
- 200 Double Unders
- 50 Power Cleans 55kg/35kg
- 50 Toes-to-Bar
- 35 Shoulder to Overhead 55kg/35kg
- 35 Toes-to-Bar
- 20 Ground to Overhead 55kg/35kg
- 200 Double Unders
I was lucky that I did part two and so the barbell was pretty light in comparison to part four where it was the same workout, but with an 80kg barbell. We ended up coming 7th overall in this qualifier, which meant that we came 6th overall out of 67 teams in the qualifiers. 40 teams progressed to the finals, which were held at in the unbelievably impressive University of Bath sports facilities.
Awesome Supplements were a sponsor of the competition and launched a competition for the event. The competition was to create a video to show why your SiD team deserve to be sponsored by Awesome Supplements and compete as Team Awesome at the Finals. As well as this, the £900 entry fee was covered, Reebok provided CrossFit clothing and Awesome Supplements provided nutritional and supplement support. Mike contacted me and asked if I could put something together for the gym, as this was a great chance for us to save some money and get additional support for all members. I made a plan, discussed it with Mike and here’s what we produced:
We tried to focus on how the gym had come together in recent months after each of CrossFit Leeds’ gyms had to shut down through floods or fire damage. My entry into the competition was successful, and we won!!! This took a lot of pressure financially off a lot of members being able to afford the trip and hotel costs in Bath.