This past weekend I learned what it really meant to be strong. Armen, Geoff, Katie, and I went on a field trip to visit StrongFit in Torrance. It was an eye opening experience. I generally consider myself a pretty strong and fairly athletic guy. It turns out; there is a different kind of strong.
We pulled up to the place around 10:00 A.M. and walked into a small warehouse filled with squat racks, a bunch of giant sandbags, and some huge boulders. I felt immediately like I was home. I’ve always wanted to try out some strongman events. I grew up watching those behemoths throw kegs, carry wheelbarrows full of stones, and flip giant tires and logs on ESPN. This is the place in Southern California that you can go do those types of things. The owner, Julien, was a massive man with beard like a lumberjack, a thick French accent, and forearms like Popeye. He’s traveled the world learning how to get strong for the past 20 years. He had a wealth of knowledge about human movement, strongman stuff, and was a genuinely nice guy. I highly recommend visiting if you really want to get the full experience.
First thing on the agenda for the day was a 3x3 back squat. I paired up with Julien and we started warming up to our workings sets. Julien squats 520, deadlifts 600, and strict presses 250. I knew this before I went, so I was excited to secretly compare myself to him. His numbers are pretty similar to mine. I worked up to 450 for 3 and he squatted 440. I will admit that his set looked a little faster than mine, but I was feeling pretty good.
Things started to go considerably down hill from here. Next on the agenda was a heavy weighted yoke walk. A yoke is an apparatus invented to punish people who think they are strong, it is pictured below. We warmed up with 400 pounds and I worked up to 700 for about a 50 foot walk. Julien did 850 and it looked like he could have taken it for a jog. During this event he told me that I looked like a runway model. I don’t think it was a compliment.
After destroying all of my core muscles, we started loading up the prowler. The prowler is that weighted sled that hangs out by the platform. A few of you have had the pleasure of learning all about it on Saturday’s team workouts. I told him that I’d used the prowler before and he said in his thick accent, “No you haven’t.” He was right. Normally a prowler is pushed in front of you. He had rigged this torture device with a harness which allowed it to be dragged behind you. They tied a thick rope to a dump truck tire about 70 feet away and told us to pull on the rope, keep our feet moving, and touch that tire way on the other end of the parking lot. The sled was loaded with 720lbs. I’m pretty sure I blacked out about 20 feet in. It felt like no matter how many steps I took, or how hard I pulled on the rope, that tire wasn’t getting any closer. I know that it probably took less than 2 minutes, but it sure felt like an eternity. Luckily they let me do it twice, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. When I was done, he loaded another sandbag, made his wife sit on top of it, and still touched that tire twice as fast as I did.
We finished the day by carrying huge 210 pounds sandbags held against our stomachs for as far as possible. I was absolutely destroyed for the rest of the day. I barely remember driving home. I woke up at 4 A.M. with the worst case of cottonmouth I’ve ever had. It took 4 glasses of water before I felt the dryness go away. I spent most of Sunday lying on the couch because my hips would not allow me to walk.
I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but I had a great time. I learned that I need to adjust my training a little to include some of these types of events. I also learned that there are definitely two types of strength. The kind you learn in the weight room and the kind you can apply in real life.
We work hard in the gym so we can use that strength and conditioning to make our daily tasks easier. Sometimes you need to get out there and challenge yourself. Play a new sport, sign up for a tough mudder, or challenge a friend to a foot race. The point is, all of you have worked hard for your new bodies, get out there and use them.
Homemade yoke walks at wreck shop on Saturdays.
CrossFit Open 13.1
AMRAP 17 minutes:
30 Snatches (75/45)
30 Snatches (135/75)
30 Snatches (165/100)
Max snatches (210/120)
Posted by Tyler