During my trip to Jacksonville for business a few months ago I made sure to carve out some time to hit a few of the local CrossFit gyms. You can find my review of Bold City CrossFit here. Today we are talking CrossFit Southside and their awesome Olympic coaching room/option.
CrossFit Southside was quite a bit smaller in size than Bold City CrossFit but there was plenty of room for a good workout. And other than the Olympic training I took part in the coolest thing about the gym was their t-shirt, I love it. The front has the guy doing the handstand that you can see in the upper corner of the picture to the right.
CrossFit Southside was located in a business park and when I walked through the front door I felt like I was walking into a dentist office or something, but only for a brief second until I heard that unmistakeable sound of barbells falling onto rubber flooring. There was a short hallway from the front door and then around the first corner was the Olympic lifting area. The box was most likely some old car parts business with a store front and then a big garage in the back.
The front room had a kitchenette and carpet on the floors and a decent sized men’s bathroom. The sort of bathroom you would see in a place like a car parts store or some small business that doesn’t need a lot of showroom space.
While the front room was carpeted there was no doubt what it was used for: lifting heavy things. They had a nice 1 1/2 – 2 inch thick platform with two racks and enough space for four people to perform lifts if two of them were coming from the ground (snatch or a clean). A local Olympic lifting coach from one of the University’s coaches the Olympic lifting program at CrossFit Southside and I did some Google stalking on him when I got back to the hotel and not only did he sound super knowledgeable but he has the background, experience and training to back it up. He helped me with my clean technique and even had some really good pointers on my front squat form. It was awesome.
I did the Olympic lifting after I did the WOD.
After you walk past the Oly part of the box you walk through a door frame (where a door undoubtedly used to hang and was removed for good reason) into the main part of the box and this felt like a CrossFit box. Rubber floors, 10′ markings on the walls for wall balls, rowers stacked against the wall a really nice pullup rack with varying heights, plenty of kettle bells, barbells and weights for other things, too. There was a class already going so I sat and watched.
It was a group of folks I am not used to seeing in a CrossFit gym, which is always good and I am not complaining! The more the merrier! The more diverse the backgrounds the better! This class had some people that were clearly new to CrossFit and didn’t really seem to be killing themselves. CrossFit is great, but as with any workout: you get out of it what you put into it.
I waited patiently for the next class to start and was no-repping fools in my mind.
As always you can find something really fun to do with CrossFit and at Southside for part of their warmups we played leap frog. How cool is that?
The WOD involved kettle bell snatches and I guess to get your hips activated there isn’t much better than jumping over someone and then squatting down, is there?
We spent quite a bit of time talking form for the KB snatch and this is what started me to believe that the gym was fairly new to the area. Maybe I just happened to be partaking in a L1 class but many of the folks had no idea how to snatch a KB. Maybe the movement is a bit rare but if you know how to snatch and how to swing a KB one can put two and two together to figure out a KB snatch. Anyway, here I go being too critical of my classmates, shame on me.
As I analyzed the WOD I realized that the pullups were dead hang and strict…and 45 of them total! Here is where the strides in CrossFit can be amazing. This WOD took place about three months ago and I recall struggling mightily with those pullups. In yesterday’s WOD I mixed in 25 dead hang strict pullups and did them easily. I can’t do 15 straight but I know I could knock out 45 of them now a lot better than I could only three months ago.
I do recall being pretty gassed after the WOD and with the extra humidity in J’ville I was sweating something fierce. But I wasn’t done with that Oly room calling my name so after my workout I changed shirts and took advantage.
In the Oly room there was some more experienced CrossFitters. One guy had done the WOD in the first class, went on a 45 minute run or so (outside in that heat and humidity?!) and then came back for some Oly lifting. Now that’s dedication! Along with learning more about my clean and jerk form I also learned what it is like to really tear your hand and keep on moving on. I got a pretty good blister going after those pullups and it didn’t take long to rip when doing the C&J’s. I put some tape over it and kept going.
Overall it was a great two plus hours at CrossFit Southside and the coaches were great. The folks weren’t quite as friendly as Bold City CrossFit and that is why I ultimately went to Bold City twice. However, I did leave money for a t-shirt at CrossFit Southside and figured I may get the shirt, I may not. They were out when I was there but said a fresh shipment was coming and when they received they would send me one. I had written it off as a loss about six or seven weeks after my visit when I wife text messaged me just a few weeks ago saying it arrived. It is a sweet shirt and I wear it often.
Another positive experience at a CrossFit box. How can people hate CrossFit??