The goal of making a National Pro Grid League team began again this past weekend. After the 2014 Boston combine event and attending the NY Rhinos and LA Reign match at Madison Square Garden, I knew this sport was something that I wanted to pursue. In 2014, a couple things occurred that greatly improved my chances of becoming a GRID athlete. Last May, I had surgery to correct a deviated septum, which allows me to breathe better. I didn’t know this was such a hindrance to my capabilities, but after surgery my performance has gone through the roof. Also, in May of 2014, a five time national weightlifting champion became our gym’s weightlifting coach. Donny Shankle is now my training partner, and he has been a massive game changer!
Now on to 2015…the way to make a grid team changed a bit. First, you had to submit a grid score. The grid score consisted of five events: 4 rope climbs, 2 Clean and Jerks, 20 Thrusters, max muscle ups, and a metcon workout. My grid Score was 35. My biggest score came from the strength component, the Clean and Jerks, which is how I earned an invite to the Pro Day. I was invited to the DC/Baltimore Pro Day on February 28th, but due to a scheduling conflict I had to reschedule to the Boston Iron Pro Day. I competed only one week after receiving the invite, but I was confident in my weightlifting abilities. I continued to train as I normally had leading up to day one.
Day one of the Boston Pro Day started at noon. We went though the Grid Score elements. First, were the 4 rope climbs, which I completed in 38 seconds. Next up was my jam…the 2 Clean and Jerks. On my first attempt, I went for 335 lbs and missed the second jerk! Damn it! On my second attempt, I dropped down to 325 lbs, and again I missed the second jerk. I mentally needed to hit a heavy weight double, so I went again and smashed the 325! Next up was the metcon, which was a short workout. I had not been training for it, but I did what I thought a team would like to see…I went unbroken on the first fifteen reps. I was completely shot after that and finished the workout in three minutes. Next up were the muscle ups. I was not able to get any, but historically they've been hit or miss especially without consistent gymnastics training in my programming. The last event was the 20 thrusters, which I completed in 30 seconds, on par with the leaders. Day one was complete, and it was on to day two.
Day 2 started at 9:30 am. We started with 30 seconds each of the following: deficit handstand pushups, chest to bar pull-ups, pistols and toes to bar. After those events, we went onto a sprint deadlift workout, which is more aligned with my training. After that workout, my right bicep started to knot up. Nothing I did was relieving the pain, but I had to move on to the next event of max Hang Cleans in 20 seconds. This event was in my wheelhouse, but we do not do multiple reps in this fashion in my current training. I didn’t excel on that event even though the weight was light.
After this event, my bicep was in so much pain that my arm was shaking! I knew 100% that I needed to perform well on the last event. It didn’t matter about my arm being in pain or anything else. I had a job to do, and that job was completing a Snatch ladder of five bars starting at 185 lbs and going up to 240 lbs. I stepped up to the bars as the first athlete for the Snatch ladder and completed it successfully right under 30 second cap. Out of the 30 or so other athletes, Joshua Arcona and Trevor James were the only other two who also completed the snatch ladder. They also lifted 335 lbs. on the Clean and Jerks during day one! They are damn good athletes.
In addition to the competition, there is the camaraderie. My wife, Katie, and I had the good fortune of meeting some great people while we were there. One of whom is Eamon Coyne, co-owner of CrossFit Pallas. After the snatch ladder, when I thought my bicep was about to explode he performed an A.R.T movement to break up the knot and release the fascia. It relieved pretty much 75% for the pain in my right arm. Looking forward to visiting his new facility in Ithaca, NY.
All-in-all, the weekend went well for me. I performed well in the areas where I needed to show off my strengths. The invites for the combine go out in about two weeks. I’m hoping to get an invite, but in the meantime I’ll be adding in some heavy multiple reps into training for the Arnold Sports Festival weightlifting competition.