CrossFit Games 16.5 – Luke Webber – My Experience


This week we get to hear from Luke Webber, s specialist in short distance triathlons.  Luke has turned his hand to CrossFit now, is a qualified Lvl 1 Coach, he has been a member of CrossFit Portishead for 1 year now and is competing in his first Open. Here’s what he thought of 16.5

Well, that’s my first Crossfit Games Open done and sadly, I’ve not made it to Regionals, the next round of qualification for the Games. I tend to reflect badly on almost everything I do immediately after the event, with a perpetual dour face, mumbling something along the lines of “could’ve gone quicker” or “not strong enough” with a Pumping Iron Lou Ferrigno impression.

I moaned after my first attempt at 16.1, I swore audibly at a picture of James Rodda after 16.2. I slow clapped Russell Rees and Ben Mills as they blasted out bar muscle ups in 16.3 and I cursed my awful comprehension of gymnastics movements after/during 16.4. I’m sat here as I type, criticising my Thruster technique while my wife nods, knowingly…..

But, the reality is that the last 5 weeks have allowed me the opportunity to properly reflect on the journey (told you I’d get it in) since joining in August last year. I’ve a decent “engine” but I couldn’t bend at 99% of the hinges on my body. I also wasn’t not too bad at lobbing my bodyweight around, but put that weight on a bar and I would struggle hugely. In other words – I was ok at very specific things, usually involving a swim, a cycle and a run (insert humble Ironman reference here!) but Crossfit exposed me to a huge range of “things” that I should be able to do but couldn’t.

Coaching, hard work but most importantly, the “friendly” banter from the community, which at times did bring me to tears and made me question my whole existence, now means that I’m about to submit by 5th score having completed every workout “as prescribed.” I’ve achieved movements which had alluded me and I now have the motivation and desire to progress to the next level – because it’s always in reach. Yes, overhearing someone* lifting a PVC pipe overhead, miming a struggle while pretending to be me hurts, but now I can lift that PVC pipe like it’s, well, a PVC pipe.


I enjoy the competitive side of it. But I’m competing almost entirely with myself, and occasionally the people who happen to be a touch better than me for that particular workout. And the beauty is that it changes for each workout because we’re all different and all have different strengths. I’ve had a running rivalry with James Rodda throughout the Open, and believe me, we could not be more different in terms of Athletic capabilities if we tried. Yet we’ve been separated by a point the entire competition; there have been rivalries like that throughout the Crossfit Portishead community, tempered with masses of support and everyone wanting, hoping, to see someone push themselves to see what they could achieve. (I would like to go into writing to say that I think some of Rodda’s underhand spying tactics were a little unnecessary, but he looks that sort. Watch him people.)

16.5 is a simple workout. A simple workout that asks nothing more of you than effort. That you try, and at the end, that you think “that’s all I’ve got now” but “give me a few more weeks and let’s see what happens then.”

Oh, this is supposed to be a write-up about 16.5 though, isn’t it? Ok, my thrusters were terrible, my burpees ok and my throat and legs burnt.

May On-Ramp Course – Sign up now

Intro Course at CrossFit Portishead

Intro Course at CrossFit Portishead

CrossFit is full of abbreviations and acronyms.  One of them that you are likely to have heard of is On-Ramp.

So what is the On-Ramp?  What can you expect from it?

The aim of the On-Ramp (Introduction) course is to give you an exposure and teach you the Fundamental movements, plus a host of other movements that will appear in our main CrossFit Classes.  During this time, your movement patterns will be assessed which will enable us to effectively work on your skill development, especially when you start in our main classes.

Upon completion of the On-Ramp and by the time you reach the Main Classes, we would like to think you can confidently , safely and efficiently carry out the movements.

The Fundamental movements we cover are as follows:

Air Squat, Front Squat, Overhead Squat, Shoulder Press, Push Press, Push Jerk, Deadlift, Power Clean and Power Snatch

We will also introduce you to:
The Kettlebell, which will be utilised as a stability and conditioning tool;
Gymnastic work, which will help train your midline stability;
Plyometrics, such as box jumps and skipping;
Olympic Lifting, where we will cover the Snatch and the Clean + Jerk.

The On-Ramp is also an excellent opportunity to make new friends as over the course of the 8 sessions you will all be training together. The sessions take place on Monday and Thursday evenings at 8:00pm. The cost of the on-ramp session is £60

So, what are you waiting for.

Start your journey to a new and better you by signing up to our next On-Ramp course.

To book your place on our May on-ramp course Click Here

We look forward to seeing you at the Box soon.

CrossFit Games 16.4 – James Rodda – My Experience


This week we get to hear from the man who provides the arms for CrossFit Portishead – James Rodda.  James has been a member of CrossFit Portishead for 1 year now and is competing in his first Open.  Here’s what he thought of 16.4

Five seconds! Come on, one more!”

My judge for the past 13 minutes is pushing me for one last handstand push-up but my mind and body have given up. I collapse into a crumpled, exhausted heap on the floor to hear the buzzer signal the end of 16.4. You’re probably wondering why on earth I’ve got myself into such a situation. That begins about a year ago…

Crossfit. I think these days, a lot more people have heard of it but even a year back I hadn’t until the box (Crossfit lingo for “gym”) started up and tempted me in for a trial. I had been doing weights at the gym for a good 9 or 10 years and, quite frankly, I was getting a little bit bored of it. Monday chest day, Tuesday legs, etc… I needed a new challenge. So after chatting to James At Crossfit Portishead, I decided to give it a go. The idea behind Crossfit is to do a wide variety of different types of exercise, such as Olympic lifting, bodyweight exercise, and aerobic exercise, at varying intensities in order to improve overall fitness. Some of the moves I was already familiar with; deadlifts, pull ups, kettlebell swings. Others were totally new to my routine; clean and jerk, muscle-ups, wall balls. Over the course of the following year though, I got stuck in and found the constant challenge thoroughly enjoyable.

So, fast forward a year and I arrive at my first Open. Five workouts spread over five weekends that pit every Crossfitter in the world against one another in a battle of the mind, body and soul. What’s not to like? Well, usually the workouts themselves actually! This week I was to take on 16.4: a grueling 13 minute amrap (as many rounds as possible) of 55 100kg deadlifts, 55 9kg wall balls, a 55 calorie row and 55 handstand push-ups. Mere mortals like myself would be happy to reach the HSPUs but the real elites will be hitting their second set of wall balls. Time to see what I can deliver.

As I arrive at the box I genuinely feel nervous. I know what’s coming up and, whilst I can deadlift over double the prescribed weight, one thing I’ve learnt from Crossfit is that you should never underestimate a workout! 16.4 would prove to be no exception. After setting up the equipment and giving each movement a few practice reps, it’s time. “3…2…1. Go!” First ten deadlifts sailed past with no problems. I decided beforehand to split my deadlifts into 10s and have a good 5 seconds between each set; it’s far too easy to go out too quickly and burnout, leaving you with nothing in the tank. The second and third sets came and went without any problem. Midway through the 40s I start to feel it in my lower back. My breathing was still OK so I focused on that and made sure I squeezed my glutes! As I ground out the final 5 reps, I suddenly realised what I was in for… I dropped the bar and turned round to start the wall balls, managing to waddle the few steps towards the wall. I picked up the ball and employed the same tactic of splitting into 10s. It didn’t help. My wall balls were all over the place. James (who had the pleasure of judging my score) thinks I did around 80 wall balls due to repeating no-reps. At one point, I threw the ball directly in the air and caught it again without touching the wall – three times in a row! A splendid waste of time and, more importantly, energy. Somehow though, I got through them and moved onto the rower. My game plan was always to use the row as a bit of recovery and take it fairly easy – thankfully, my body was more than willing to facilitate this! I finished the row with 10:48 on the clock leaving me just over two minutes for the HSPUs. The first two were surprisingly easy but after that, the past 11 and a half minutes took their toll, leaving me mostly on my hands and knees trying to muster up anything whatsoever. Two more laboured reps later and we’re back to the start of this story; with me in a sweaty heap on the floor. 169 reps to the good. Job done.

OK, I admit it. This doesn’t sound very enjoyable. And whilst you’re actually in the midst of it, it’s probably not. But when you finish there’s a definite sense of achievement and the next few days are full of discussions with your fellow athletes, waiting for other’s scores to come in. Crossfit’s “community” is arguably one of its best features and seeing how you compare to 300,000 other athletes is what makes The Open such a great challenge. I’ll certainly be taking part next year and I’m hoping that an additional years worth of training will have a positive impact on my scores. First though, time to tackle 16.5. Wish me luck!