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CrossFit: Filthy Fifty

CrossFit: Filthy Fifty

SKI Mag sends a blogger, Hillary Rosner, to do our dirty work: Get in shape for ski season. She joins a CrossFit gym, which is reputed to be the best—and most brutal—way to get strong fast. It may ...
By Hillary Rosner
posted: 12/22/2009
Hillary Rosner, Crossfit

The other night I dreamed I was rescuing dozens of people from a shipwreck. Then I helped some construction workers assemble a crane, scaling a metal tower while carrying absurdly heavy machinery on my back—I-beams or a bulldozer or something. When I awoke, feeling slightly silly, I didn’t need to replay my day to know why I dreamed of superhuman strength and skills. It was obvious. That day I’d done a CrossFit workout called the “500” or “Filthy Fifty”: 50 repetitions each of ten exercises, any of which on its own would have nearly killed me a few months ago.

CrossFit is a type of workout designed to make you a total badass by combining ten areas of fitness: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. All that, in a workout of under an hour. That 500 workout, for instance, took me just over 48 minutes, and I’m slow as your grandma compared to my CrossFit compatriots. The Filthy Fifty consists of 50 box jumps, 50 jumping pull-ups, 50 kettlebell swings, 50 walking lunges, 50 knee-to-elbows, 50 push presses, 50 back extensions, 50 wallballs, 50 burpees, and 50 doubleunders. (You can see all those exercises at the main CrossFit web site. Burpees combine a pushup and a jumping jack; wallball involves throwing a medicine ball against the wall high above your head and squatting after you’ve caught it; doubleunders mean jump-roping fast enough to do two rotations for each jump.)

Back in June, when I started at Boulder CrossFit, all my clothes were getting too tight and I could barely do five pushups on my knees. Last week I did 30 push-ups—the real way--during a workout. Hell, I powered through the Filthy Fifty. And my pants are all starting to fall down without a belt. CrossFit is notorious for pushing people into shape in a short period of time, focusing on the total package rather than endless repetitions on the quad extender. I’m not much of a gym girl; my attention span is too short. CrossFit has hardened me up in just a few months, and I actually look forward to the workouts.

This blog will follow my progress as I prep for ski season (jumping lunges, anyone?) and as I use CrossFit to help carry me through the long ski days of spring. (And as I finally learn to telemark.) Sometimes I’ll post workouts you can try at home. Read along, follow along, stop in and try a workout at Boulder CrossFit, or find a gym near you.

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