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Amanda Allen and Awesomeness

Original photo courtesy of CrossFit Long Beach on Flickr

Hey Gang,

Great video series still pouring out in the aftermath of the Crossfit Games.  Go ahead and check out Crossfit HQ on youtube for more goodies…

Today’s video features Amanda Allen of Australia.  41 years old, finished 19th in the full on (i.e. not masters!) competition.  Only 8 months of Crossfit specific training but obviously a very talented athlete in other arenas as she discusses in the video:

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First of all, I think it’s awesome that she dominated in a field of women who were (for the most part) 10-15 years younger than her and also that she attained this level through very limited specific training… which leads to my question for today:

How much does training Crossfit specifically matter in terms of performance in the Crossfit Games setup?  Is it possible to achieve a very high level of performance by not training regular Crossfit style or is a certain dose required?

Let me hear your thoughts!


Today’s Workout

Buy-in: Snatch Warm-up Sequence

  • with empty bar:  5 rounds of – 1 power snatch, 1 overhead squat, 1 snatch balance, 1 hang squat snatch
  • put the bar down between rounds, focus on perfect position on each rep
  • if new to this movement, work with your coach on hang power snatch technique – 5 rounds of 3 reps

WOD:  Roswall

This is a relatively recent WOD that came from the wonderful brain of France Legault!  We did this WOD on July 13 of this year, so check back in MFT to see the leaderboard.

This is an interval workout, with each successive interval starting on a 5 min timer.

5 rounds for individual time of:

  • 250m row
  • 12 kbs (35/55)
  • 6 wallball (hit the DOT) – 14/20
  • add your slowest round and your fastest round together to get your time
  • Coaches pair people up who are doing the same zone – start person 2 at 2min in

Zone 2: scale kbs as needed, scale wallballs to 10/14 (girls to 9?)

Zone 1: scale as needed

Cash-Out: Lacrosse ball – find the angry bits in your upper back and shoulders (use the wall for moral and destructive support!)

14 thoughts to “Amanda Allen and Awesomeness”

    1. Also, regarding your question of the day Cam, I think "specific" training is almost nonspecific when you are talking about Crossfit! The basic movements certainly need to be mastered, but if you come from a solid sport background like Amanda Allen (elite cycling and triathlon) you will probably find that your fitness will take you a long way. I am new to Crossfit so this is my gut speaking, but I would bet it's Amanda's past athletic endeavors that are putting her at the top of the CF Games. She took all that fitness, learned the moves and it was a recipe for success. Probably a butt load of talent to boot! Might be a good move to give yourself time to create a really strong, solid base until you try to get really specific (or nonspecific) in something as intense as Crossfit….!?

  1. YAY turts! I love this workout. i"ve been meaning to do one like this! Perfect!

    on a second note, I'm starting to really think about whether or not you always need to be crossfitting to become a high level crossfit athlete. I think if you train many of the components within crossfit, i.e work on specific strength gains, gymnastic skills, rowing technique and power, and just keep sharp upon the many other skills in crossfit, I don't think you need to be doing hard wods all the time. I think that you can periodize your training abit to get further gains. That said leading into the games or competition you need to familiorize yourself with the feeling of pushing yourself to that high intensity needed for crossfit. I think this is a neat concept that I'll probably play around with this year. 🙂

  2. Those are great questions.

    I believe that it's fitness first, CF skill second (mostly). If you are strong and proportionally light, you can muscle your way through many of the movements.

    I would bet that if you took a US college level football player at a big school (running back or DB) you could train them quickly into the CF world and they would fare well at the games. Back in the day, I knew guys who were monsters (strong, fast and could run a sub-19min 5km) who would have been well suited for CF. Now they are old and broken 😉

    Yay for seniors (those over 40, I mean)

  3. Good points guys… I've increasingly seen Crossfit competition as different than Crossfit training over the past few years…

    Crossfit training is brilliant for what it is designed for – developing work capacity across (semi) broad time and modal domains, and has the side effects of increased health and vitality if performed properly and supported with the best nutrition and lifestyle practices.

    Optimal prep for Crossfit competition on the other hand is different, and I think you all are hitting on that fact in your posts. Many traditional methods of training can prepare someone for best performance in Crossfit competition as long as they have the specific skills to express that fitness…

    Interesting to think about what athletes would be the best natural performers – Rob I'm sure some of those football guys would be devastating!

    Keep 'em coming gang!

  4. Im gonna say that crossfit specific skills are a must (obviously) but coming into crossfit with some elite sport background sure goes along way. Having strong mental fortitude and body awareness can shorten the time frame it takes to reach that "elite" status. It seems as crossfit grows it becomes even more varied in terms of skills, movements and obstacles. This will attract and cater to a broader spectrum of athletes. To answer Turts' question, I think a small dose is definately required, but not as much as it used to be.

  5. yeah there is definitely a difference between crossfit as a minimum investment maximum return s&c program, and training for the "sport of fitness".

    it is no surprise that athletes who come into crossfit competition with years of training at a high level can excel in a relatively short time frame. these athletes are physically and mentally strong and are often genetically gifted, so it is almost just a matter of learning how to do double unders and muscle ups.

    however, if you look at the top 10 men from the 2011 games, there are no huge shocks, no one brand new to crossfit. most of these guys have some impressive resume before coming into crossfit but they all have at least a couple of years of "training Crossfit specifically". as more and more skills are added to the "hopper" of what might come up in competition, i think this experience of being around crossfit mixed modal training is becoming increasingly important to excel at the highest levels of the sport.

    that said, the best ways to approach training for the sport of fitness are still being explored but it's becoming pretty apparent that doing a "wod" everyday is probably not the best way to do it. as others have mentioned, prepping an athlete for the sport of fitness will likely begin to resemble more traditional sport specific training, except they have to become good at everything… not an easy task.

  6. i'd like to echo almost exactly what mike said. the split between crossfit as a general physical prep program and as a sport is becoming bigger every year. i think that athletes who come to crossfit with an elite background often have skill training that is used in cf, like running, rowing, oly lifting, and though they need to master a few new skills, they have the basics for that.

    i think we will see less & less "new" crossfitters making it to the games over the next few years. i just went to a talk by anders ericsson, the big expert performance guy who did the research behind the 10,000 hours rule. what they find in their research with expert performers is that people often have 10 years of specific training behind them before they are considered "expert". considering this is only year 5 of the games, i think we'll see more & more that to excel in crossfit, you'll need lots of crossfit experience, or experience with crossfit skills.

    interestingly, ericsson also stated in his presentation he believes there isn't really any such thing as "talent" though some bodies may be better suited for some sports; it's more the belief that one is talented that might actually have the impact on performance………. something to think about anyway.

  7. The "talent" vs. believing one is "talented" seems like common sense. Believing one is talented is confidence and as with anything in life, not exclusive to sport, those who have confidence in themselves and their abilities tend to go further than those who do not and are not. Those who believe in themselves tend to try more and, by default, succeed more (though they may also fail more but that's irrelevant) than those who do not even have enough confidence to begin. You can have all the potential in the world, but without the confidence to put it to use you're dead in the water, I think. Being super ridiculously fit probably helps, though (but whether that's achieved by training for triathlons or soccer or general strength and conditioning is probably less of a factor when it comes to "succeeding" in Crossfit).

    1. you mean that there's more to life than being really really really ridiculously fit? (Zoolander ref)… 🙂 Great post Sarah (and Linds leading in). Confidence and self efficacy (belief in your ability to do something) are key in training but more so in competition. I will say though that all of the positive thought processes in the world will not help if you don't put the dedicated effort into training (which I'm sure we'd all agree).

      Also, the "talent" thing is interesting. Definitely there are distinct advantages to different body types (including limb length, muscle fiber makeup, tendon attachment points, predisposition to gain aerobic/anaerobic fitness) and we are going to increasingly see the "genetic elite" on display at the CF games as the bar gets raised higher and higher.

      Great points all round team!

  8. Hello Crossfitzone! I just happened across your post…thanku for the positive comments…in regard to your question – I believe each individual has to find what works for them…for my personality I need variety-squared…my body loves to run and ride and I use swimming as recovery from all the running, riding and crossfitting…I'm certain my high level strength-endurance from triathlon style training allows me to practice 'less-fatigued' the technical aspects of crossfit…but there is no substitute for technical proficiency and mastery of the gymnastics and lifting skills that crossfit demands…that takes time in the box…I'm doing 6 crossfit sessions a week now, in addition to about 6 run/swim/ride sessions per week…it seems to work for me, so I say find what works for you and go for it…12months here we come! 🙂 Happy training! Amanda!

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