As with everything else in 2020, the annual CrossFit Games looked remarkably different this year. After the CrossFit Open wrapped and national champions emerged from the CrossFit Sanctionals, the first part of a two-stage CrossFit Games final whittled down the sport's top 30 men and women into a five-athlete final for each division.
After three days of competing, Mat Fraser won his fifth-consecutive CrossFit Games title and Tia-Clair Toomey, Fraser's training partner in 2019 and 2020, also won her fourth successive Games in Aromas, California.
A weekend packed with remarkable performances from all ten athletes — including Noah Ohlsen, Justin Medeiros, Samuel Kwant, Brooke Wells, Haley Adams, Katrín Davidsdottir, and Kari Pearce — the workouts in the annual throwdown were just as noteworthy, with Games Director Dave Castro promising the elite athletes the hardest tests in CrossFit's history. From 100-yard handstand sprints to air bike, swim and slam ball intervals, some workouts from the weekend aren't suited to a conventional gym. (Continued below)
However, that doesn't apply to them all. You can still attack some of the workouts from last weekend's multi-event competition for yourself. A word of warning: they won't be easy and you won't want to tackle them every day. But it's good to test yourself, right? Let's get into it.
CrossFit Games Workout #2: Corn Sack Sprint
For time: 320-metre hill sprint with a corn sack (W: 13kg M: 22kg)
The second event of the 2020 CrossFit Games was the 'Corn Sack Sprint', which will redline your heart rate and have your legs screaming. Athletes were instructed to grab a corn sack (a sandbag works fine) and sprint up a 320-metre hill for the fastest possible time.
CrossFit Games Workout #3: CrossFit Total
For total load (kg):
1-rep-max back squat
1-rep-max shoulder press
Athletes were given three attempts at each lift, with three minutes between attempts. For context, Jeffrey Adler lifted 1244lb (564kg) total, Mat Fraser lifted 1237lb (561kg) total and Noah Ohlsen lifted 1200lb (544kg) total.
CrossFit Games Workout #5: Ranch Loop
Run along 3-mile± course through varying terrain
A trail run, but not as you know it. A three-mile course of undulating and varying terrain awaited the CrossFit athletes with a sinister twist at the 'finish' line — to run the event again, in its entirety, in reverse. Castro kept this a secret until the individual athlete had crossed the finish line to ensure maximum exertion.
CrossFit Games Workout #6: Toes-to-Bar / Lunge
Kettlebell lunge (yards)
The first event on day two of the five-athlete finals saw them go head-to-head on a gruelling six-part workout of toes-to-bar and kettlebell lunges. Male athletes used 32kg KBs and female athletes used 24kg KBs.
CrossFit Games Workout #9: Happy Star
4 rounds of:
200- to 300-meter hill run
5-7-9-11 reps of: burpees and thrusters
To replicate 'Happy Star' in your conventional gym, set up a treadmill at its steepest incline and sprint for 300 metres. Then perform five burpees and five thrusters. Sprint again, performing seven reps of each moves. Another sprint. Then nine reps for both exercises, then eleven after the sprint to hit four rounds total.
CrossFit Games Workout #12: Atalanta
100 Hand Stand Push-Ups
200 Single Leg Squats
"The final test will be the hardest. Do not miss the finale of the 2020 CrossFit Games. There will be only one heat," read the daunting caption when the 'Atalanta' event was dropped on CrossFit's Instagram account. Not dissimilar to 'Murph' — a hero WOD named after fallen Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy — 'Atalanta' follows the same workout format, but with different exercises and a load more pull-up reps.
Thankfully, you can scale the workout down and still get a feel for what the athletes were grinding through.
"The movements go from the most difficult to the least difficult, but it still finishes with a technical movement in the pull-ups," explains Men's Health fitness editor Andrew Tracey. "Scale the distance and the reps. Start with an 800m run and, to keep the same format as push, lower-body and pull, scale handstand push-ups to push-ups; single-leg squats to reverse lunges and pull-ups to inverted rows. That way you've still got a push movement, a unilateral leg movement and a pull movement. Go 50-100-150 reps, halving the reps. That's 50 push-ups, 100 alternating lunges and 150 inverted rows."
"The run either side acts as a buy-in and a cash-out, which means you're going into the workout fatigued and you have a chance to empty the tank at the end. It's not technical and you're giving it everything you've got to chip the seconds away."
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