Difficulty

Light to moderate, particularly thanks to great scaling options.

Equipment

Nothing crazy, but not an at-home workout less you’ve got some gear.

}

Time

Quick. But the burpees won’t feel like it.

Crosstown Showdown Night 1 Hosted by Rocky Lake Crossfit

Rivalries come and go. And on occasion there is some real bad blood between crossfit boxes. There’s competition, politics, member poaching, coaches switching gyms, marketing conflicts – the list goes on.

None of that nonsense seems to go on between Rocky Lake Crossfit and Crossfit Bardown (see my BoxJump tale of my visit to Bardown), two Crossfit facilities on opposite ends of Bedford, Nova Scotia with similar square footage, equipment, and seemingly philosophies, particularly where it comes to playing nice with others.

The Crosstown Showdown was an inspired little idea that grew into a great event very quickly that absolutely everyone seemed to enjoy. The premise was simple – why not get a couple of like-minded Crossfit gyms together for a couple of partner WODs, trading hosting duties for two separate workouts.

Coach Brian from Bardown and coaches Mike and Shane from Rocky Lake has some quick discussions and decided to make it happen – with a little bit of time pressure since we wanted to get it in before the winter weather arrived.

Well before the workout details were set, we knew we had an idea that we needed to promote to the members. The event was going to be as accessible as possible, with all levels of athlete being encouraged to participate. I threw together a poster and got them up about a week and a half prior to the event (it was only a firm go a day or so before that) and we put them up at Rocky Lake and Bardown right away, and the coaches started talking up the idea to each class. Rocky Lake would host the first gathering on October 15th and Bardown would host the next one on November 5th. Both would include a partner WOD followed by a social gathering where the members could just hang out and talk Crossfit – like we’d need to be encouraged to do anything of the sort!

Sign-ups happened pretty fast, with experienced and new crossfitters alike signing up to participate. Then, a few days before competition, the WOD was announced, and it didn’t disappoint! Challenging but pretty even for Rx and Scaled competitors, and there was even an Rx+ added to create a bit of a separation on the heaviest component of the workout, the thrusters.

Crosstown Showdown Poster

The Crosstown Showdown Night 1 WOD @ Rocky Lake Crossfit

12min AMRAP

Partners may divide up the movements however they see fit. Only one partner can do work at a time. Each movement must be done in order and each movement must be complete before the next movement can be started.

Scaled

50 box step-ups
40 kettle bell swings (35/20)
30 jumping pull-ups
20 thrusters (45/35)
10 knee-ups
burpees for the remaining time

Rx

50 box jump-overs
40 kettle bell swings (53/35)
30 pull-ups
20 thrusters (115/65)
10 toes-to-bar
burpees for the remaining time

Rx+

50 box jump-overs
40 kettle bell swings (53/35)
30 pull-ups
20 thrusters (135/85)
10 toes-to-bar
burpees for the remaining time

Showtime at the Showdown

On October 15th, many of the athletes arrived early to warm up. Many spectators from both boxes arrived as well, eager to watch the athletes represent their home box. Seemingly everyone made a point of going around and not only talking to the people that they knew, but introducing themselves to members of the other box. The excitement level was pretty high.

For me, it would be the first time I participated in any level of competition. Friendly competition or not, it was still pretty easy to get caught up with the energy level in the room – it actually helped me a fair bit get ready to start.

I partnered with Tony Trimper, a member of our box who is quite a bit bigger than I am. He’s 6’1″ and over 250lbs, while I’m 5’7″ and 165lbs. Naturally, we have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to a WOD. And that was exactly why we agreed we were a good match. We looked over the workout once it was released and came up with a game plan. In the end, there were 3 heats of 5 lanes of athletes. Tony and I were in the first heat. At least we’d get it out of the way quickly without the nerves having much time to settle in.

Tony and I crafted a game plan that worked to our respective advantages, allowing each person to do a little more of what they were particularly strong at compared to the other, with breaks engineered to not allow us to wear out. We stuck to the game plan quite well. The biggest challenge from my perspective was the thrusters. At any weight, they’re a problem for me because of my knee. But at the Rx and Rx+ weights, I was definitely not going to do well. Fortunately, that’s where Tony comes in. He’s got lots of strength in that department, which is where you can power through thrusters. I could balance that out with my comparative strength with pull-ups and toes to bar. Forgetting fitness level for the moment, he’s got almost a hundred pounds on me, so it only stands to reason that bloody well should be more at ease with the body weight gymnastic movements like pull-ups and toes to bar. And fortunately, I really am. So we agreed for starters that we would split up the box jumpovers and kettle bell swings. When it came to the thrusters, rather than go Rx, Tony thought we could handle Rx+ if he did them. But that would then mean he would need a break for sure, so I suggested that I take all of the pull-ups and toes to bar since the volume of either of them was more than manageable to me.

Jean and Tony at the Crosstown Showdown

The WODslingers, as our team was known. Jean St-Amand and Tony Trimper

Our Team Strategy for the WOD

Jean – 20 boxjumpovers
Tony – 15 boxjumpovers
Jean – 15 boxjumpovers
Tony – 15 kettle bell swings
Jean – 10 kettle bell swings
Tony – 15 kettle bell swings
Jean – 30 pull-ups
Tony – 20 thrusters
Jean – 10 toes-to-bar

Then alternate on burpees, 5 reps each starting with Tony

The strategy was definitely helpful. We flew through the box jumpovers and kettle bell swings with ease. I was a little more tired on the pull-ups than expected, so it took me three sets with a very brief break between to finish them off. Then came the heavy thrusters, for which Tony was on his own. He did great. He naturally slowed as the volume creeped up, but maintained a good pace. Fortunately for me, if not for Tony, the amount of time it took for him to finish the thrusters gave me enough of a breather that I was ready for the Toes to Bar and tore through them in a single set in about 12 seconds or so.

I don’t recall exactly what we had on the clock remaining for the burpees because I forgot to look, but I think it was around 6 minutes, maybe 5:30. Tony started and we maintained a pretty steady pace for the duration, finishing with 71 burpees before the time expired. We were pretty happy to finish and very pleased with how we did. We finished second in our heat. The true speed demons, we discovered, were in the heats to come. The overall highest count was Shane (RLC head coach) and Maude from Rocky Lake Crossfit with 163 burpees at the end of the 12 minutes. No idea how they did it without each movement being a blur. But you have to see it to believe it – they’re in round 3 of the videos below.

The showdown as broadcast live on Facebook

Tony and I are in lane 1 (furthest to the left from the camera’s perspective) in Round 1

Everyone had a great time. Everyone I talked to was incredibly enthusiastic about being there and by the end of the night, all were looking forward to part two of the matchup on November 5th, this time at Bardown.

My first competitive experience was absolutely thrilling, and I’m really looking forward to November 5th myself. It’s not that the workout itself is fundamentally any different than a typical WOD. But when you mix in the competitive juices flowing, and the spectators from both boxes, athletes and family members alike, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement and get just a bit of a push from it all. I can see why competitions are so popular. Whether I decide to give a more “formal” competition a try int he near future, it’s hard to say. But if our experience with this little friendly exchange with another box nearby is any indication, there may be more of this to come as well!

Many many thanks are due to Mike, Shane and Brian for not only being open to this happening but encouraging the collaboration between the two boxes and egging the athletes on to participate as competitors. And to the athletes, volunteers and spectators – get ready to do it again. November 5th will be on us before you know it!

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