Strength in Depth – The Competition

We had all been waiting for what seemed like forever for Strength in Depth to come around. We were so pumped. Unfortunately, three of the original 12 who completed qualifier three didn’t make the trip to Bath. One was working away; one had other commitments that weekend and one got a calf injury the week before the finals. Luckily for our gym, we genuinely do have strength in depth, and we were able to field strong athletes in their place. It’s a shame those athletes couldn’t make it but the guys who stepped in gave it their all (some at incredibly last minute), and that’s all you can ask.

Team Awesome CrossFit Leeds, Strength in Depth 2016

I had never competed at SiD before, but for some of the team, this was their third year. All they kept saying was that it was different to any other competition, as it was fun and tough all at the same time. Before the competition, the workouts were released, and we assigned workouts based on strengths in a group discussion, which worked. We qualified in 6th position and so we were all hopeful that we could make the final.

Day One


Workout one was split into two parts. Part one combined two strength elements; hang snatch and deadlift, which as mentioned previously (in part 1) we are not notorious for. We were split up into one male sub-team of four and one female sub-team of three for the hang snatch, and one male sub-team of three and a female sub-team of two for the deadlift. Part two was a five-minute max row in your sub-team. The average bodyweight of our male athletes was around 80kg with our heaviest being 89kg. This may sound like an excuse, but some of the men completing this competition were 100kg. This meant we had no chance of being near the top of the table, but we tried our best, and we even managed some PBs. I went with Wheels and Dave on the deadlift and row. I was super proud of our master Wheels who pulled 2,200 calories plus for 10+ pulls on each of his sets. This was inspiring. I just hope I’m that strong at his age. The team selection reflected a maximum total score of max weight lifted by the team.

Wheels putting it in on the row in workout 1

The two parts of the workout ran at the same time:

1A. (37th out of 40)

  • In 5 minutes: (0:00-5:00) Establish a ONE REP MAX HANG SNATCH (3 Females)
  • In 5 minutes: (5:00-10:00) Establish a ONE REP MAX HANG SNATCH (4 Males)
  • In 5 minutes: (10:00-15:00) Establish a ONE REP MAX DEADLIFT (2 Females)
  • In 5 minutes: (15:00-20:00) Establish a ONE REP MAX DEADLIFT (3 Males)

1B. (9th out of 40)

In 20 minutes, ROW FOR TOTAL CALORIES in the following order:

  • In 5 minutes: 3 Males (0:00-5:00)
  • In 5 minutes: 3 Females (5:00-10:00)
  • In 5 minutes: 4 Males (10:00-15:00)
  • In 5 minutes: 2 Females (15:00-20:00)

This wasn’t the best start, but we knew that the Obstacle Course 3km run was next, which is something we could do.


Into the water on workout 2

Workout two was a Reebok Spartan obstacle race for time. There was a run around the track under and over hurdles, followed by crawling under 50m of barbed wire which was tough! My neck was cramping up, and I kept spiking my arse on the barbed wire and bumping into Wheels’ rear. The guys went through first, and it was only when we were waiting for one member that we told her to sausage roll through. This was super funny but also effective, and I wish we had thought of this sooner and all done it. Maybe this would have saved us some serious time. We then moved onto a sandbag carry and climbed over a 20m netted frame before finally walking over a balance beam. It was difficult to keep moving between the obstacles after using all your energy on them. We smashed out an 11th place on this workout. We worked solidly as a team, and thankfully I volunteered to help out the shorter ladies at the back get over the hurdles, or I would have been shattered. It’s no secret that I’m not the best runner, but I was more than happy to motivate the guys struggling more so than myself. We were the back group warriors and kept moving until the end.

The front of the pack in the sandbag carry


Workout three was the swim. This involved four males and two females. I wish I could swim fast so that I wasn’t put through the torture of workout four. I was more than willing to let the pro swimmers in the team; Toby, Sian, Alex, Dave, Wheels, and Iza take this one.

They smashed it in pairs:

  • Sub-team 1

10 Synchronised Down Ups + 100m swim (any style)

  • Sub-team 2

10 Synchronised Down Ups + 100m swim (any style)

  • Sub-team 3

10 Synchronised Down Ups + 100m swim (any style)

  • Sub-team 1

10 Synchronised Down Ups + 100m swim (any style)

  • Sub-team 2

10 Synchronised Down Ups + 100m swim (any style)

  • Sub-team 1

10 Synchronised Down Ups + 100m swim (any style)

Toby showing some lovely technique in workout 3

I didn’t get to watch any of this as this ran at the same time as workout four. However, those dolphins got us to an incredible 7th place finish! Dave was the first to tell us he’d had a shocker in the swim. After the synchro down ups, you had to make your way into the pool. He managed to trip up and belly flop into the pool and loose his googles, much to the crowd’s delight. This must have been hilarious to see. I just wish it was on video.


The last workout of day one was workout four. This involved three males and three females and the movements were more CrossFit based. Again there were three sub-teams of 2 females, two males, and one mixed pair.

Two females (Tara and Paula) completed

  • 50 Front Squats 45kg
  • 150 Double Unders
  • 40 Front Squats 45kg
  • 100 Double Unders
  • 30 Front Squats 45kg
  • 50 Double Unders

Once the first sub-team of two Females completed their workout, then the next sub-team of two males (myself and Danny) began

  • 50 Overhead Squats 70kg
  • 50 Toes To Bar
  • 40 Overhead Squats 70kg
  • 40 Toes To Bar
  • 30 Overhead Squats 70kg
  • 30 Toes To Bar
These hurt much more than I’m making them look

Once the sub-team of two Males completed their workout, the next mixed pair (Sam and Sarah) sub-team began

  • 50 Hang Power Cleans 70kg/45kg
  • 21 Bar Muscle Ups
  • 40 Hang Power Cleans 70kg/45kg
  • 18 Bar Muscle Ups
  • 30 Hang Power Cleans 70kg/45kg
  • 15 Bar Muscle Ups
Sam pre-ripped hands in workout 4

This was a tough one. Tara and Paula got us off to a great start and put us into first place going into the second part of the workout. Danny and I worked our way through the second part. However, we could not hold onto our lead against Team Reebok and CrossFit JST. The overhead squats were heavy for us, whereas the other teams were bouncing out of them and doing sets of 20+. This was a little demoralising, but we managed to shave 90 seconds off our practice time, and so we were happy with that. Next up was Sam and Sarah. This was by far the most technical workout of the day and lucky for us we had Sam Turner –  bodyweight extraordinaire. Sarah completed more reps of the power cleans while Sam worked his way through the Bar Muscle Ups with Sarah contributing one when Sam rested. This was a great plan, and we were set to finish way within the time cap until Sam ripped his hands, badly. I can’t believe he planned on doing 50 bar muscle ups with no hand protection. When you think of it now it’s crazy, but at the time he, I or anyone else didn’t think of this. Even after ripping his hands on the second set, he persevered and managed to get 8 of the 15 bar muscle ups out on the last set before we were time capped. Even with Sam ripping his hands this was still an awesome score earning us 8th place.

Day Two


Work out five, six and seven again divided the team. Workout five was a chipper with two teams of two males and one female. This nasty chipper meant that some of our lighter athletes could show what they were made of and breeze through the movements. This was brilliant to watch. I didn’t take part in this one, but the guys who did were a class act. The workout for each sub team to complete one after the other was:

  • 135 Wall Ball (45 each athlete before the next athlete could begin theirs)
  • 90 Burpee Box Jump Overs 24″
  • 90 Calorie Ski
  • 135 Shoulder to Overhead 60kg/40kg

Once the first team of 3 completed their 135 Wall Balls, the next team of 3 began the workout.

Wheels putting in a shift on the 60kg bar

In one team was Alex, Dave and Sarah and in the other Toby, Sarah and Wheels. They went in that order and were a joy to watch and not just because Sarah fell over on the box jumps. To her credit, she got back up and carried on like a true warrior. There was a little wait for the first sub-team to finish before the second sub-team could start the shoulder to overheads, but I think they were more than happy to rest. Although the 60kg bar was heavy for a few of our guys they surprised everyone and moved it very well earning us a 13th place finish…unlucky for some, not for us!

 WORKOUT 6 & 7

Workouts six and seven were the same movements, but with different weights for males and females. This was a clean ladder, and so our strongest athletes took part in this and the dream team of Tara and Paula were back!!! The workout was:

  • In 2 mins: 18 Cleans 55kg/80kg
  • In 2 mins: 12 Cleans 65kg/100kg
  • In 2 mins: 6 Cleans 75kg/120kg
  • In 2 mins: 3 Cleans 85kg/140kg
Danny moving 140kg

I wish myself, Sam and Danny could move the male bar like the ladies did. You could move onto the next bar as soon as you had finished the first part of the workout, but not until the opposite sex team had upped the weight on the bar. Us guys were relying solely on Danny to do the final three lifts at 140kg for a 6kg PB THREE TIMES! The amazing thing is that he did it. It’s crazy what adrenaline can do. Naturally, Danny had to take his time to get the three 140kg cleans, but myself, Sam and the rest of the team were just thankful we could finish the workout. We managed a 20th place finish. The ladies, on the other hand, had no problems and Paula made light work of the workout and power cleaned the last three reps to earn the dream team a 10th place finish overall and winner of their heat.


The Eliminator! Any four members of the team could take part in this:

  • Racing as individuals in four separate heats four athletes from each team ran 800m;
  • At 800m a bell rang, and the real race started;
  • At the 1,200m point and at every 400m after that, the last five athletes were eliminated from the race;
  • The final five athletes raced for places (1 to 5).
Number 52 Dave Marr putting it in on the final lap of workout 8

No one wanted to do this one, as everyone was aching and sore. Dave, Danny, Wheels and Isa stood up and got this workout done. We didn’t do great, but we did well. Dave even managed a cheeky 4th place finish in his heat out of 40 athletes. However, our other three placings in this event after two days of intense completions were only good enough to earn us a 32nd place finish. It would have been much worse if I were to do it. Long distance is not my thing. But this proves you have to have many dimensions to your fitness to be the best and show Strength In Depth.


Finally, a fun workout involving the other eight team members. This was titled Anaerobic Assault, and that’s just exactly what it was, aka pain. You worked in four sub-teams of two and carried out:

  • Run 100m (50m out and 50m back)
  • Run 200m (100m out and 100m back)
  • Buddy Carry 200m (100m out and 100m back)
Sian carrying Paula in workout 9

Once the first sub-team of 2 completed the above once, the second sub-team began, and so on until everyone had done the workout twice.

There were four males and four females left to complete this one, and so we paired up in same-sex pairs. Most teams went in mixed pairs; however, each of our same-sex pairs was a close match on weight, and so this meant we could carry one another. Other teams had guys buddy carrying lighter women the whole way, but for us, this wouldn’t have worked. Some of our girls weighed similar to some of the guys, and so we agreed same sex pairs would be quicker. Toby and I paired up (both around 86kg) and tried to get our team off to a flying start. Unluckily for us, we were next to Wakefield CrossFit who smashed this workout. They flew through it with mixed pairs partners, and so we doubted ourselves. Maybe we had made a mistake? We carried on regardless, all emptying the tank in what would be our last workout of SiD 2016. The ladies went after myself and Toby. Paula and Sian paired up, and then Tara and Sarah partnered up. Sam and Alex were last to go and soldiered through this unforgiving workout. We finished quite a long way behind Wakefield CrossFit and third in our heat after a dramatic finish from Alex. He fell over while carrying Sam racing a team next to us over the line. This was the highlight of the weekend. To be fair to Alex, he shot straight back up hurled Sam onto his back and finished before collapsing exhausted. What a day and what a finish.

Alex carrying Sam in workout 9

We didn’t make the finals, but we had given it our all. This is what Strength in Depth encompasses. This competition reaches down to the core of the fitness community and beyond the elite few. We had taken everyday pen pushes, Mum’s, Dad’s, teachers and accountants and finished as the 13th best team in Europe. I had completed workouts with people from my gym who I had never thrown down with before. It was a great opportunity to learn and share experiences. This reinforced pride made the day fun and installed the values of a collective team push through workouts.

We’ll be back next year to tackle whatever Strength in Depth has to throw at us.


3 thoughts on “Strength in Depth – The Competition

  1. Omg what an insane competition! I have never seen one like this and actually thought it would be all lifting and was pretty surprised by all the swimming & running. Lol super inspiring and your team seems so close :)) very cool –Jess


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