The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

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
  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • East tennis splits with Polar Bears

    Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
    In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • University hands Huskies first loss; East edges Elkins

    The mercy rule has been a familiar part of North Marion’s softball season.
    Through the first seven games, the Huskies regularly pounded their opponents with stingy defense, sharp pitching and timely hitting. Rarely did a game go all seven innings for the previously undefeated team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Pirates shut out by Reds’ Cueto, 4-0

    Johnny Cueto was on his game, and the only thing that the Pirates could do was watch.
    Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the NL wild card game, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos