The Times West Virginian

Sports

January 2, 2014

East Fairmont wrestlers utilize CrossFit principles to prepare for matches

PLEASANT VALLEY — Inside East Fairmont’s wrestling facility, dozens of athletes are tossing themselves recklessly onto the mat.

From a pushup position they propel themselves up to their feet, jump into the air and clap at the top, all in one swift movement. As soon their toes touch down onto the mat, they again flop their muscular frames to the ground, ready for another repetition.

This, um, thing — think of it like the “up-downs” your high school football coach made you do — it’s called a burpee. And no it’s not a new wrestling move invented by the Bees.

Instead, it’s just one of many moves common to CrossFit, an exercise regime that incorporates weight lifting, bodyweight exercise and cardiovascular training all in one.

Founded by Greg Glassman in the early 2000s, the company’s website defines CrossFit as “constantly varied, function movements performed at high intensity.” It pulls from everywhere from Olympic-style weight lifting to rowing to gymnastics to achieve a broad measure of fitness.

As a testament to this, many of the top athletes at the CrossFit Games, a yearly competition that began in 2007 to crown the “Fittest on Earth,” can squat 500 pounds and run a 5-minute mile. Plenty of 300-plus-pound power lifters can move that much iron, and probably more 125-pound string-bean runners can endure four laps at that pace. Few can do both.

Five years ago, this article would have needed much more than a few short paragraphs to explain CrossFit. But in recent years the self-proclaimed “Sport of Fitness” has boomed, reaching about 7,000 affiliate gyms worldwide. It has been embraced by grandmas, members of the armed forces and the New Orleans Saints football team — just to name a few. Heck, you might have even tried it yourself.

East Fairmont assistant wrestling coach Scott Hage first stumbled upon it three years ago. He was driving through White Hall when he was distracted by a blaze yellow sign with “CROSSFIT” written in black block letters.

A few days later, he did his first workout at CrossFit Intense, an affiliate on Moran Circle in Fairmont that boasts the motto “Making you harder to kill!” While Hage doesn’t remember all of the specifics of the circuit-style workout, he remembers what happened afterward.

“I got back to my house and fell flat on my face in my living room and lay there for about 30 minutes,” he said. “I was hooked from that moment, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Almost immediately the coach started implementing CrossFit principles into his wrestlers’ workouts. The results, he said, are noticeable. While strength and condition play just one small role in a team’s success, the Bees produced two state champions last year.

“CrossFit principles seem to be the most effective way to get our wrestlers to where they need to be as quickly as possible,” Hage said.

Hage, who was a four-time high school state champion in Georgia and qualified for the NCAA national tournament three times at West Virginia University, said the part of that dictionary-sounding definition from the beginning of the article that most relates to wrestling is the “constantly varied” aspect.

“It applies very nicely to wrestling because of the unexpected nature that a wrestler faces every time he steps out on the mat,” he said. “Everybody has different styles. Everybody has a different body type. Everybody brings something different to the match.”

The CrossFit workouts, by their very nature, do much of the same. They prescribe specific weights and unconventional rep-schemes that can be as few as one repetition to as many as hundreds of repetitions. Every day is a new challenge.

Athletes don’t know what workout they will complete until 8 p.m. the preview night when CrossFit.com (as well as many affiliates) posts a “workout of the day,” or to use their lexicon “WOD.” For example, yesterday’s WOD was five rounds for time of 20 strict ring dips and 14 thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press) with 135 pounds.

On the chilly winter morning at East Fairmont’s wrestling facility, grapplers rotated through two-minute rounds (the same length as one wrestling period) of shoulder presses, pushups, pull ups and — of course — burpees.

After the circuit, the team carried medicine balls while doing sprints, as Hage encouraged them, wearing his CrossFit Intense T-shirt draped over his stocky frame.

Catching their breath, the wrestlers described the feeling that comes from one of the workouts.

“Jello,” said 132-pound senior Brody Nesslerotte. “You really can't feel your arms or legs or anything else.”

“You’re more mentally tired than anything,” added 152-pound senior Hayden Stewart. “You’ve just got to tell yourself you can keep going.”  

While the workouts push the wrestlers to new limits, the coaches and athletes agree that the work pays off when they step onto the mat.

Stewart said, “When we’re out there wrestling in duals you can definitely tell that we’re the better team when it comes to conditioning.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 #18-Post 1 #2  run copy.jpg Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tournament opener: PHOTOS

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.
    Felt struck out seven in 8.1 innings of work in the team’s first-round victory over Fairmont.

    July 31, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Pirates’ gaffe on bases proves costly

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle, what we watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.
    A timely, heads-up glance by reliever Jean Machi helped San Francisco take advantage of a gaffe on the bases by Pittsburgh, and the Giants tagged out of two runners who wandered away on the same play grab momentum and end a six-game losing streak.

    July 31, 2014

  • Speedy Shazier making quick impression

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end. Others focused on his blazing speed and saw a safety.
    Not Shazier.

    July 31, 2014

  • Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tourney opener

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.

    July 30, 2014

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings