CrossFit South Rockland

Friday, December 2, 2011

CrossFit regimen combines weights, jumping, running

Haddonfield's John Crowe has completed two Ironman triathlons -- the athletic endurance competition consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

Crowe, 54, tooka grueling 12 hours to complete his first Ironman four years ago in Lake Placid.
So, when he attended his first session at CrossFit Tribe in Pennsauken lastwinter, Crowe was understandably confident in his endurance capacity.

"We were given an eight-minute introductory Workout of the Day (WOD). I thought this was going to be easy," Crowe said. "After about four minutes into the WOD, I was dripping with sweat and completely exhausted.

"I knew at that moment that CrossFit was for me." CrossFit isn't for beginners. The intense strength and conditioning cross-training routine combines a continuous cycle of weightlifting and a body weightlifting such as pull-ups and push-ups with running, rowing and jumping in a compact 20-minute or less workout. "CrossFit is not easy," Crowe said. "The workouts . . . are fun and rewarding. I have gotten better results in only six months doing CrossFit than I ever got doing anything else."

CrossFit Tribe owner Steve Liberati, 31, opened the workout center about five years ago with a few clients he trained outdoors at Cooper River. Now he has more than 100 members.

"People like it because it is hard and rewarding," said Liberati, 31, who is a Level I certified CrossFit Trainer and boasts a fit body "I did the regular workout thing, lifting weights, but then I found CrossFit five years ago. I thought I was in shape, but I wasn't." The core of the workout is the WODs, which are based on performing the circuit of two or three exercises as many times as possible within a 10-20 minute period or completing a prescribed number of rounds to completion.

"I have friends always asking me how I got so big. I tell them I go to CrossFit Tribe," said Rafael Santiago, 18, of Camden. "Everything we do is good for you, from lifting to the nutrition. They tell us what we need to do, what we need to eat and how much rest we need to get. They take care of us."

Lee Knight is a certified trainer at CrossFit Tribe. A former gymnast, she competed for 13 years before playing rugby at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"What CrossFit is about is functional fitness, like moving a weight from the floor to overhead," Knight said.
The CrossFit exercises are Spartan. They are as basic as jumping up on a wooden box to doing a squat without any weights. Multiple moves are also used such as doing a push-up and then standing and jumping.
"You don't see any machines here other than people," Liberati said.

In a recent class Lee worked out with an overhead press using a barbell for six reps, followed by a stint on the rowing machine and then a push-up, follwed by a one-arm row with dumbbells, a squat and another dumbbell overhead press for 25 repetitions. The workout was finished by doing hanging leg-ups with the knees touching the elbows for 25 repetitions.

The entire workout took between 12 and 15 minutes, depending how fast each individual finished.
"That is all I need," said Jesse Coffey, 23, of Berlin about the length of his 12 minute and 33 second workout while dripping with sweat and taking a sip of water. "I'm good for the rest of the day and I will be sore tomorrow."

Last weekend, CrossFit Tribe sent a team to compete in the Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif. Danny Chaparro and C.J. Gonzales, a pair of 14-year-olds from Camden, represented the Steve's Club National Program in the Inaugural Teen Competition.

Liberati is the founder of Steve's Club, which takes "at risk" kids from Camden and trains them in CrossFit.
Last year, Liberati expanded the program on a national level, opening clubs in New York, Arizona, and Oregon.

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