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A Strongman’s Take On The 2014 CrossFit Games



Crossfit VIP
Jan 24, 2013
A Strongman’s Take On The 2014 CrossFit Games
by letkallelift on July 28th, 2014 -

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet won the CrossFit games and as shown here also had great technique on the arm over arm sled pull. Pushing through with the legs, leaning back to full extension, and reaching back with her forward hand while finishing the pull with her back arm keeping all the slack out of the rack. Very efficient!

Yes, that word, oh the sites that use it for click bait. You could say I am doing the same but this is my honest take and I felt this was necessary to point out the overwhelming prevalence of Strongman movements in the programming for the games this year and how not being prepared really hurt some of the competitors!

In CrossFit they drill their technique on Weightlifting & Gymnastics movements multiple times a week but Strongman movements are seldom seen in most competitive CrossFiters programs from what I have seen and if it is included it is more “We have a yoke lets carry it.” I see some pretty inefficient technique used from the videos I have seen and this is no ones fault but our fellow Strongmen. Look at all the Weightlifting coaches traveling around giving Seminars every weekend to CrossFit boxes and by doing so introducing more and more people to their sport. The same is just not done with Strongman, there is of course the CrossFit Strongman seminar but I think that is more of an introduction to the movements and not the fine tuning of technique to shed time off the athletes workout and how to most efficiently do the movement which will result in less fatigue.

With that over lets look at the Workouts

In the Individuals 5 of 13 workouts contained Strongman movements, that is about 40% of the workouts! (Sprint Sled 1, Sprint Sled 2, Sprint Carry, Clean Speed Ladder, & Push/Pull)
It was even more apparent and important in the team events with 7 of the 11 workouts containing strongman movements! (Big Bob 100, Deadlift, Big Bob 200, Triples Chipper, Worm Sprint, Worm Bob Final)
Now some might say the clean speed ladder & the deadlift are more weightlifting & powerlifting movements. The actual movement yes but the format they were done in was very Strongman.

The Clean Speed Ladder: Never in weightlifting is the fastest Time important where in Strongman A “Overhead Medley” is a very common event where a variety of implements will be clean & pressed with the fastest time winning. You can see my performance on the Overhead Medley at Nationals in 2013 here

The Deadlift for Max:

yes that is a part of powerlifting but where this makes it more like a Strongmans training is the fact they only had 6 minutes to work up to their max. In Strongman we often do a “Progressive Deadlift” where we pull a rep, they add more weight, etc until you fail. Being able to pull heavy weights with short to no rest is very much in the Strongmans wheelhouse here are some examples of a progressive deadlift.
What To Take Away:
Look at how exciting the movements were to such a big crowd! They WANTto learn and try this stuff out so lets introduce it to them! We can all work together to make it a better place, before you bash or criticize try to educate and inform.
Below i will post some photos from The CrossFit Games with my take on what I see, this is not intended to be negative but to show what could be improved upon, of course these are snippets of a very long and grueling week of competition and in such form does breakdown. Most of these events were announced hours or even minutes before the competitors had to try them so I do not fault them in not being masters of the movements.

Big Bob: basically a giant sled pushed by multiple people. The biggest thing I see here is everyone pushing with their arms (or having their head underneath the bar even!) This is very inefficient and will gas your shoulders for future events. You want as much contact with your body as possible into the sled to drive it forward and efficiently transfer the power from your main movers (legs, Hips) into the sled.

This is a much better example but I would still like their chest driving into the bar more and less with their arms.

The Sprint Sled: you can see the various lengths competitors have their arms at, having your arms fully extended is inefficient way to transfer power, You want your arms tucked chest close to the handles and hips low driving the sled up and forward
Kalle Beck pushing a prowler at the 2013 Arnold World Championships

Medicine ball clean to shoulder: It is basically a small Atlas Stone as you can see above the lady is just gripping the side of the ball instead of underneat she is not making good body contact with the ball it is actually not making any real contact with her body. She is utilizing almost all biceps to lift the ball. Remember when your weightlifting coach taught you to stop pulling with your arms on a snatch and you started using your hips? atlas Stones are the same way.

This competitor is showing great form with his hands all the way around the ball, you can see he is even crushing it by pulling it hard into his body insuring good body contact the entire way. He is also shooting his hips forward and getting good triple extension.
Again this are just some examples of how someone interested in CrossFit could greatly improve with a little more attention to Strongman movements in their training. Remember CrossFit is everything and Nothing is CrossFit so cast as wide a net with your Fitness as you can to be prepared for anything.
Kalle Beck has been competing in strongman competitions for near a decade. A veteran in the sport with dozens of competitions under his belt he has gained a vast amount of knowledge on strongman training and is the founder of Starting Strongman.
Competitive highlights include 2012 California’s Strongest Man, 2012 Washington’s Strongest Apple, top 5 finishes at America’s Strongest Man and 6th Place at the 2013 Arnold World Championships. Best lifts include a 600lb deadlift, 505lb back squat and a 290lb log press. To book a Starting Strongman Seminar at your gym or box email [email protected]
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