CrossFit athlete Chandler Smith has biceps like bowling balls and does burpees so fast he’s practically a blur. Simply put, he’s incredibly fit.
So when I was offered the chance to try a CrossFit workout set led by the man himself, there was no way I could refuse.
Beforehand, I thought I might fare OK in the workout. I train at my local box most days and like to think I’ve attained the status of “intermediate CrossFitter”. That was not what I thought once the dust had settled.
Before tackling Smith’s challenge, first up was a 15-minute AMRAP workout (as many reps as possible) courtesy of Joshua Al-chamaa, a UK athlete who finished on the podium at the 2022 CrossFit Games as part of Team Invictus.
As part of a team of three, we tackled a sequence of 30 toes-to-bar, 30 dumbbell clean and jerks, and 30 dumbbell squats. In a you-go-I-go format, one team member worked while another rested and the third racked up calories on a Concept 2 RowErg.
With my grip and shoulders suitably fried, I headed outside for Smith’s session.
Chandler Smith’s Workout
It sounded simple, and it was, but as I found out when training with top-tier CrossFit athletes, diabolical workouts are built on simplicity.
A pre-workout pep talk from Smith involved some form cues and a warning not to cheat on form. He was looking for proper depth on the squats, chests to the floor on the push-ups and control during the lunges. With a mortifying no-rep a distinct possibility, I took this advice to heart.
I kept to a steady rhythm for the first round of bodyweight exercises and started feeling good. The effects from the previous metcon seemed to be wearing off, so I began to push the pace. With the lunges done, I set off on the run.
This was where my world came crashing down. The cocktail of high-volume bodyweight exercises, mixed with the dumbbell squats and the clean and jerks from the workout before, had taken its toll on my quads. My thighs felt like lead.
From the second round onward my legs were on fire. Fortunately, with colleagues, fellow journos and dedicated CrossFitters tackling the workout alongside me, my competitive spirit kicked in.
“If I can just cycle my squats faster than the person to my left… All I need to do is start my run before the guy in front… Keep the push-ups unbroken and you can make up some ground on everyone else.”
With this approach the time flew by, and before I knew it Smith was yelling, “Three, two, one, TIIIIME!”
Three rounds and 72 reps was my final score. I finished my last lunge just as the clock hit zero. Over to you.
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.