Scott Turner: CrossFit for Competing
After mountain bike racing for 18 years, Scott Turner decided to get serious. He had been competing as a Category 2 racer and knew he could upgrade his standing to Category 1 with some extra work and focus. He needed to improve his strength, and his wife Michelle suggested CrossFit.
Michelle had been a member of CrossFit West Nashville since its opening in April 2012. She had invited Scott to try CrossFit a few times, but he stuck with his cycling. “CrossFit was really Michelle’s thing, and I didn’t want to interfere with that,” he said. But Michelle was confident that CrossFit was a way for Scott to build his strength without losing his endurance. It would be exactly what he needed to elevate to the next level of mountain bike racing. Finally, Michelle’s persistence paid off and Scott started to join her at the box.
Although he was accustomed to riding over a hundred miles a week on his bike, Scott’s first CrossFit class was a challenge. “My first workout was with the PVC pipe, and it was the hardest workout I’ve ever done. The pipe…the pipe makes you hurt,” he said.
Scaling a workout is an important part of CrossFit and is usually reserved for athletes who are unable to complete the WOD with the heavier or more advanced movements. For Scott, the coaches at CrossFit West Nashville helped him scale his workouts so he would gain the biggest benefit for his racing.
Scott’s focus was on building strength in his legs and core. During a race he needed to be able to go over obstacles without losing balance or speed. After adding squats through CrossFit, Scott immediately noticed an improvement in leg strength. One of his favorite movements, toes to bar, is very effective in building the core muscles. Also, exercises that involve kipping – like toes to bar and pull ups – develop the fast twitch muscles which are very important in bike racing.
There were also a couple of benefits from doing CrossFit that Scott had not expected. “My heart rate stays lower and I’ve had fewer injuries,” Scott said. “Fewer injuries means less time out of training for recovery.”
Scott was seeing the results from CrossFit in his biking, but would it help him achieve his goal of a Category 1 status? Not only did Scott win the State Championship Category 2 division that year, he earned the upgrade to Category 1 and placed Second in the State Championship series.
“CrossFit was the difference,” he said.
Scott has continued to supplement his race training with CrossFit. His endurance and speed shine during metcons, but his wife Michelle still squats heavier. “Yeah, she out-squats me. All the time.”