CrossFitters rally in Ballard for final week of CrossFit Games
Members of Northwest CrossFit met at the Ballard gym (6419 15th Ave NW) on Friday March 27 for their final workout in the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games.
Around 40 athletes pumped, pushed and pleaded under the pressure and weight on their journey to finishing the Open.
The CrossFit Games are a series of competitive workouts where athletes test their strength against the clock over a five-week-period. Each week a regiment of workouts are assigned to athletes. Certain exercises have designated weights for male and female athletes. Certified CrossFit coaches confirm athlete’s performance.
Not a member of a CrossFit gym? It doesn’t matter; anyone can compete. Video recorded performances can also be submitted to CrossFit and be counted. The videos have to have a clock timing the performance included in the frame. Also, athletes can make as many attempts as they can muster in order to get their best time within a 96-hour period of each week.
Last year, the Open reached more than 209,000 athletes from around the world. Winners go on to regional competitions and can eventually compete against CrossFit athletes from other countries.
Northwest CrossFit owner Jake Platt was there to show support for gym-members.
“It’s really a fun time of year, and many of our athletes have done well in the past,” said Platt.
Platt owns Northwest CrossFit locations in Green Lake, Ballard and Bellevue. He has plans to open a fourth location in Interbay this spring. The Ballard location was established in 2011.
Platt mentioned that members of Northwest CrossFit won the Open in 2009.
Platt said there are about 70 members at the Ballard location and that they have a close-knit comradery in their athletic community, especially during the Open.
“We really turned it (CrossFit) into a community building event. We are all friends here.”
Platt joked that when the exercises are finished and everyone is hungry, many of the CrossFit members go out together or light the barbecue outside the gym -- open some beers and hang out.
To Platt, CrossFit is more than a gym or a way to workout -- it’s a lifestyle.
“When we meet new members, it’s more about finding what exercises are right for them and their particular goals that fit their lifestyle. We are more interested in finding out who they are as a person.”
What exercises, indeed?
CrossFit exercises are described as natural movements executed in controlled environments.
“They really are functional, primal movements the human body was designed to do and do very well.”
A few examples are climbing ropes, jumping, throwing, handstand push-ups and cleans (squats with weights).
The final exercises for the Open were row and thrusters for a series of 27-21-15-9 reps. For row, athletes did reps on the row machine. After completing 27 reps athletes got off the machine and picked up a barbell (men used 95 pounds and women used 65 pounds) to do 27 thrusters, which entails picking up the barbell, squatting, standing up and lifting the barbell over the head. Then they went back to the row machine for 21 more reps and so on. Athletes were timed for how long it took to complete all 144 repetitions. Different ages used different weight amounts – an adjustment CrossFit calls scaling.
During the ordeal, athletes grunted and poured sweat. On completing a thruster set some athletes let the barbell crash to the ground as they quickly reset themselves on the row machine. By the very end the CrossFitters were red-faced, wet with sweat and gasping for air–-some even fell to the ground from exhaustion. One athlete called it “excruciating,” but he was glad he did it.
You might ask yourself why they do it?
Sam Lee is a coach at Northwest CrossFit. He also competed that day. Lee is a law student at the University of Washington and said that CrossFit is a way to relieve stress and meet a lot of good people doing it.
“It’s a community for sure. It’s really fun to meet people when they are in their gym clothes and then see them out in the community where you never expect them -- you find out they are a doctor or a judge or something,” said Lee.
“Every walk of life comes through that door,” said Platt, “ and it really makes it fun for everyone.”
For more information visit http://www.nwcrossfit.com.