Crossfit Level 1 Certification

Sonz Decatur CrossFit Certification Class

{click on the picture – see if you can find your’s truly in the mix…}

So, I thought I knew what intensity was…

…then, I went to Crossfit Certification class.

Why CrossFit?

CrossFit works where it counts…in the real world.

One of the best definitions of CrossFit that I have heard thus far is:

“Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program built on constantly varied, if not randomized, functional movements executed at high intensity.”

In my Introduction to CrossFit post, I briefly touch on CrossFit from the perspective of someone who has been training within his own knowledge and understanding of the program.

Now, after attending CrossFit Level I Certification class, I feel I have a much stronger, more complete understanding of the program, it’s advantages, and most importantly, why it works.

“We have taken high intensity, constantly varied, functional workouts and distilled load, range of motion, exercise, power, work, line of action, flexibility, speed and all pertinent metabolics to a single measure…usually time.”

Crossfit Certification | Day 1

After the obligatory lecture period regarding the basis for the CrossFit style of training, we went straight into squat mechanics. My main reason for coming to certification class was not necessarily to become certified as a CrossFit Trainer, but instead, to learn proper, safe and effective technique for the Olympic lifts such as the deadlift, clean, squat, and snatch, arguably the very most productive exercises one can do to build full body, functional strength.

After about thirty minutes of solid technique instruction, we busted into the first workout of the session: bottom-to-bottom tabata squats.

Tabata squats are completed in 30 second intervals, for four minutes.

Sound easy? Guess again…

For the first 20 seconds of the interval, trainees are hammering through as many air squats as possible. Jelli, a CrossFit trainer from Jupiter, Florida, led the group and ripped perfect-form air squats at a blistering pace, while the rest of us did our very best to attempt to keep up.

At the end of the 20 seconds of explosive squats, which usually equates to about 12-25 reps, depending on your fitness level, there is a 10 second “rest” — however, the “rest” consists of staying in the bottom of the squat movement, just a’burning up those quadriceps – lighting them on fire.

That’s one interval.

Immediately after the 10 second burn-fest, er, I mean “rest”, trainees immediately begin the explosive sequence all over again.

Only seven more intervals to go…

This crushed some people and put many people on the floor.

The rest of day pretty much consisted of hour long lecture periods, followed by solid technique training, this time in the deadlift, clean, jerk, sumo deadlift, and push press. You could read mountains of material regarding execution of these movements, and watch video after video of people executing them, but nothing compares to real world instruction where trainers can correct you on the spot. This is so important with the Olympic lifts because they are incredibly demanding and carry a potential for danger if executed incorrectly and/or haphazardly.

The day ended with large class breaking into groups of seven. As a group, the following routine had to be completed for time:

All as fast as possible while maintaining good form.

* Thrusters can be described as a barbell front squat with 95lbs + an overhead press all in one movement. The bar begins racked in front of your shoulders, you squat, and then at the top of the squat movement, you press the weight up over your head. (and yes, you read it right, 500 of ‘em)

I went home very torn down physically and with an entirely new appreciation of what is meant by intensity.

Crossfit Certification | Day 2

We spent this day participating in more technique lecture, as well as a very in depth discussion regarding nutrition. CrossFitters seem to lean towards the Zone Diet as a way of managing their food intake and while it’s hard to argue with athletes as fit as this, I find the strict diet style to be limiting for those with families and those forced into more spontaneous eating schedules.

Technique training was geared around Day One’s lifts as well as the introduction of the Kipping pull-ups, muscle-ups, ham/glute sit-ups, and the grandaddy of strength training – the snatch.

Day two’s nasty workout was just that – nasty. This one had a few folks tossing their breakfast and kissing the mat in complete exhaustion.

Trainee’s broke into pairs and the first member of the pair lined up in front of a medicine ball ranging from 8lbs, to 20 lbs.

Ours was 16 lbs.

The routine was seven rounds of:

Again, this routine was done for time – and again – this one left people in various states of shock, sickness and exhaustion.

A true neuroendocrine blaster. 

When I look at the routine in typed words on the screen, it sounds so easy. This is where CrossFit gets people and where other athletes, from other disciplines, will erroneously make the assumption that they could easily complete this workout.

It’s these people that usually pay the biggest price during a workout like this. They simply never expect the overwhelming intensity.

The class wrapped up with more lecture centered around the business of CrossFit. Since most of the people in the certification class were interested in training people, and opening their own Crossfit facilities, this lecture was very popular with attendees and a lot of questions were fielded by the HQ Trainers.

The Day After the CrossFit Certification Training Weekend

Oh my God, I can barely walk.

I am so sore, from head-to-toe, that I feel like I have just been introduced to exercise for the first time in my life.

In a way, that’s exactly what’s going on. When I look back at all the isolation training I have done in the past, I realize that while it can create hypertrophy, or increased muscle cells for a particular body part, it does not make me functionally stronger.

I wasted a lot of time. …but we all do it.

Functional training is adequately applying attention to the 10 general physical skills:

  1. Cardiovascular and cardio respiratory endurance
  2. Stamina
  3. Strength
  4. Flexibility
    (these first four are organic and are developed through training)
  5. Power
  6. Speed
    (these middle two are developed both with training as the four above and with practice as the next 4)
  7. Coordination
  8. Accuracy
  9. Agility
  10. Balance
    (these last four being neuromuscular and developed through practice)

If my training regime does not include attention to each of these areas, then there are holes in my training from a generalist perspective.

I am striving to be a generalist, not a specialist.

Specialists can be strong in one area, like an elite runner for example, who is a strong runner, but usually weak in other areas, such as strength and power. Conversely, a bodybuilder can appear healthy with a heaping helping of muscle, but if forced to run up a flight of stairs, would be huffing-n-puffing like a fat man.

Generalists are prepared for anything – from sport, to physical combat, to general daily needs such as lifting and moving heavy things around the house.

I want to be prepared for anything that life throws at me with the ability to take on incredible challenges and complete them all.

Crossfit is NOT for every athlete, especially the specialist athelete who strives to excel in one particular sport or movement; but, trust me – you will hear more and more about Crossfit as the years go by – it’s definitely worth investigation and learning if it’s right for you and your individual goals.

CrossFit Resources | Learn More – It’s Worth It



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Loved reading this. Thank u! I am going for my cert in october. Nervous and excited. Thanks for posting this info!!

I need some clarity, the 300 pull ups were split up between the seven of you? Or did each of the seven of you need to do 300 pull ups and the rest, for time? 43 pull ups are thinkable, if not fun sounding… 300? For time? Got a calendar?

Wow, your cert sounds like it was much harder than mine:

same tabata squats, demos, but we did Fran at the end of day one.

2nd day we did demos but right before lunch we did fight gone bad.

afterward we worked on GHD, muscle-ups, kipping and rowing.

i was worked but I would have been destroyed if I had to do 500 thrusters and 300 pull-ups!!

cheers and great site.

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Awesome Xian, someone introduced me to the Crossfit site a year or so ago…told me to do it for a full body workout. All I’ve done thus far is watched the videos. I’m still to outa shape for this, oddly enough I contemplated coming to this training…woulda been really weird to bump into ya.
Let us know how the training takes you in regards to you overall fitness/health in the coming weeks, and months.

So many runners just run–maybe cross-train a little, but it’s all cardio. And they think that anything else will hinder their performance. Glad to see there are others out there who love to run but are not willing to give up total fitness just to be faster and weigh less.

Thought provoking stuff, it really makes me think that I am missing out as I sit on the verge sidelined through injury…again!

Your comment “I’ll take maximum intensity for less time over mediocre intensity for longer time —- especially since max intensity equates to better fitness” really hits a cord.

Thanks for taking the time to write a great post, I guess you fingers are the only bits that are not aching ;-)

david… yea, i was sorta’ wondering the same thing on Saturday {wink}

However, see the comment above yours? from Catra?

She’s a very accomplished athlete who has also found the benefits of Crossfit training. She’s in her 40′s and arguably one the fittest females you will ever find.

Click on her link and check her out – there’s more than just beauty there – that’s one tough chica…

Point is: traditional fitness has “dumb-ed down” to make things more accessible.

How many time have you seen trainers in the gym chatting away with clients while the client goes through the motions of some silly pec flys – a movement that’s never, ever used in real life and is an isolated, lame movement. — sad thing is, I did them for years {sigh}

I don’t want “dumb-ed down” fitness training – it’s not my style – I want rough, tough and gnarly.

Interestingly, while it’s more intense, it’s often much shorter in duration. I’ll take maximum intensity for less time over mediocre intensity for longer time —- especially since max intensity equates to better fitness.

“300 pullups” and “it sounds so easy” do not go together. I’m shaking my head here reading this stuff and thinking, “What kind of wacky fitness cult has Christian gone and gotten into?”. I’m sore just reading about it.

This will definitely be interesting to watch as you continue. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Catra:

hahaha – had I run 40 miles before the certification class, I might as well ‘uv just stayed home…

But you’re a machine…

I am definitly stoked to spend the time improving my lifts…

…and getting down muscle-ups and kippings – the two most difficult movements for me due to a shoulder problem.


Sounds like you did the same wods as me during the training. I ran 40 miles the day before the cert. so those tabatas killed.
I too could not walk very well for a couple days but still managed to run.

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