CrossFit: Do It Yourself

SKI Mag sends a blogger, Hillary Rosner, to do our dirty work: Get in ski shape. She joins a CrossFit gym, which is reputed to be the best—and most brutal—way to get strong fast. It's painful, but the good news is that now Rosner has a backup job...as a brick layer. Or jackhammerer. Or contestant on that reality TV show where they pull trucks of cement. This week she tells us how to try out some CrossFit moves outside of the gym.
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SKI Mag sends a blogger, Hillary Rosner, to do our dirty work: Get in ski shape. She joins a CrossFit gym, which is reputed to be the best—and most brutal—way to get strong fast. It's painful, but the good news is that now Rosner has a backup job...as a brick layer. Or jackhammerer. Or contestant on that reality TV show where they pull trucks of cement. This week she tells us how to try out some CrossFit moves outside of the gym.
Hillary Rosner

OK, so Apollo Ohno supposedly trains by lifting 1,000 pounds with one leg. I’m sure if I did that, I’d do a whole lot better on the moguls. But then again, I’d have thighs the size of a grizzly bear and wouldn’t fit into my svelte Patagonia ski pants. Thankfully, my CrossFit workouts seem to be doing the trick of making me a stronger skier without changing my general body shape.

Here’s a recent workout that you can do on your own, anywhere there’s a park bench or picnic table or anything else you can safely jump up and down on. For women, the prescribed height is 20 inches; for men, 24 inches—though of course you can’t really get this precise in your local park. This combo of exercises kicked my butt—or at least my quads. Six rounds of 10 box jumps (that’s what the park bench is for), 10 pushups, 10 jumping lunges, and 10 situps. For the box jumps, you can jump up and down or you can jump up and step down. For the jumping lunges, one lunge means one on each leg; in other words, 10 really means 20.

The first round was relatively easy—as much as anything in CrossFit is “easy.” But my trouble came in round two. My legs were so taxed from the jumping lunges, which always do me in, that when I began my second set of box jumps, my legs nearly gave out. I could barely manage four before my legs completely failed. So I was forced to switch to a lower—15-inch—box for the rest of the workout. The good news was that the remaining jumps were a breeze, which shows how far I’ve come since last summer, when even jumps on the lower box were tough.

Another workout you can do at home is this one, which we did at Boulder CrossFit last week. Tabata training consists of 20-second intervals alternated with 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. This combination consists of pull-ups, pushups, situps, and squats, with a minute rest in between each exercise. It sounds less awful than it is; no other workout has ever left me so close to tears.

Why am I putting myself through all this? Because it’s a seriously killer way to get in shape. This winter in Colorado has been pretty grim, snow-wise, but I don’t even mind the scraped-off, crackity-crack sheets of snice (snow-ice) because my legs are so strong I can effortlessly push my edges down to gain a grip. And now that the powder is finally starting to pile up, I’ll be out there testing my mettle on harder terrain. While still sporting my slim-fitting ski pants.