CrossFit South Rockland

Monday, December 27, 2010

CrossFit - Chris Spealler - The Difference

"This is not a big man’s event, this is not a small man’s event. This is my event.”

11.22.2010– Chris Spealler is one of the CrossFit Games’ most unique competitors. At 5’4”, 135 pounds, and 31 years of age, the odds are stacked against him in a sport where the average height and weight of the elite CrossFitter is 5 inches taller and 40 lb. heavier. Not to mention, competitors are ten years younger. As the only four-time veteran of the CrossFit Games, he’d seen enough to know that he had a few deficiencies to address. Prior to the 2010 CrossFit Games, the former Collegiate wrestler knew that he was aging, he was only recovering as quickly as his body would allow. And he still wasn’t as strong as he needed to compete with the highest levels of the CrossFit Games’ athlete.

As the years progressed, Spealler’s ability pushed him further and further away from the podium. The Inaugural 2007 Games was seen as his pinnacle of performance as he finished 4th in that small field of athletes. This, despite an event consisting of max lifts in the squat, the dead lift, and the shoulder press. Brute strength is an area that obviously isn’t Spealler’s forte. In 2008, he encountered a workout of 30 squat clean-to-presses (for time) that weighed in at 115% of his bodyweight. The winner of that event, Jason Khalipa, weighed well into his 220‘s and excelled in the same event. The weight used was only 60% of his bodyweight. With another disappointing finish in a strength event, Spealler finished 10th overall. In 2009, the Games would see a more strength-biased workout early on, in the form of a timed interval max weight dead lift. The opening weight was 315 lb.. and the final pull was 500 lb.. Spealler finished last in that event despite setting a personal PR in that lift. He finished 26th overall in 2009.

At age 31, he had to question his ability to greatly improve his strength while maintaining his unparalleled metabolic conditioning. This is a tough task for a CrossFit athlete. Physiologically, it would be tough to remain competitive at a level where the typical load used in metabolic events generally weighed more than him. And everyone else in CrossFit was growing stronger by the year.

For Spealler, this pattern would end in 2010. To his credit, he didn’t give up. Whereas most other athletes would have. He did several things to improve his odds of winning the CrossFit Games, this go round. He trained heavier power lifts with Westside Barbell’s training methodology. He practiced olympic lifting with the best coaches in the sport, and he worked hard to maintain his metabolic conditioning throughout this transition.

The Difference in 2010

“This is not a big man’s event, this is not a small man’s event. This is my event.”

His training schedule intensified. He shifted from “three days on, one day off” to a more intensive “two days on, off, three days on, off” that allowed him to focus on multiple workouts on a daily basis while benefiting from more time off and maximized recovery. One of his training additions was PROGENEX Recovery after metabolic conditioning periods and PROGENEX More Muscle after strength training periods. The combination of supplementation with PROGENEX and his new rest schedule did wonders for the efficacy of his training. With more effective recovery came increased volume and a steadily closing gap between Spealler and the larger, younger athletes. This year saw a drastic improvement in Spealler’s ability to move heavy loads quickly and efficiently. This highly conditioned and seasoned (former Division 1) athlete’s maximum lifts improved nearly 15% in a year and his metabolic conditioning has allowed him to complete workouts 10-20% faster than the next fastest male. In workouts consisting of triple-extension movements and high intensity plyometrics, Spealler’s pace is consistently between 1-2 seconds per repetition -over ALL time and modal domains.

With his training reaching new horizons, it is only natural that after three years of declining performance, relative to the competition, Chris Spealler finally stood atop of the podium with a 3rd place finish in 2010. He’s never been better and next year, if his unparalleled CrossFit USA-W performance is any indication, we’re bound to say the same exact thing. PROGENEX USA is proud to be the recovery solution for this world-class athlete and world’s third fittest man.

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