Health & Fit How CrossFit Star Pat Vellner Is Training to Take the Sport's Crown
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While most professional athletes train hard for their sport, the prep required for high-level CrossFitters is just a bit different. The various exercises and protocols aren’t just designed to help bolster their performance in an abstract sense, like lifting weights or running sprints might help a football player, for example—their training is their sport. The heavy lifting, gymnastics, and metabolic disciplines practiced in the Box are the same that are measured on the competition field.
, one of the top male athletes in the sport, knows this well.“CrossFit is sort of the sport of fitness,” he tells the MH crew.“We kind of involve all elements of fitness—powerlifting, weight lifting, gymnastics, endurosport—and kind of test people across all domains for fitness.”
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Vellner, a five-time CrossFit Games qualifier with three podium finishes to his name (third in 2016 and 2017, second in 2018), is. He let us in on one of his training sessions as he preps for the kickoff of the 2021 competitive season, the CrossFit Open. Starting there, he'll begin his journey to the 2021 Games, where he hopes to take the crown now that five-time consecutive champ Mat Fraser has retired.
“There’s definitely a question as to who inherits the kingdom,” Vellner said.“And I’m going to be gunning for that top spot.”
While Vellner is an elite athlete, that doesn't mean that his training regimen is totally inaccessible for everyday Joes who want to give the sport of fitness a try.“Obviously a lot of the stuff that we do is highly technical and requires a lot of practice,” Vellner says.“So an important and awesome thing about CrossFit is that you can scale anything. When you do this kind of stuff, make sure that you set up a workout that matches your ability level, and then you build up from there.”
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Just to be safe, learn some CrossFit basics before giving this a try, too.
Pat Vellner's CrossFit Open 2021 Prep Workout
I’m usually starting out sessions with a lot of work on machines—things that are going to get the body completely set up and ready to go,” he says as he appliesto those joints ahead of the session.“Trying to give my joints a lot of love when I need them, doing a lot of joint-specific work, general body movement.”
- Tall Muscle Clean
- Tall Squat Clean
- Push Jerk
. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Perform the prescribed reps at the start of every new minute. Rest until the next minute starts. Repeat until the timer ends.
- 1A. Toes to Bar
- 1B. Squat Clean
For 10 minutes, split into 5-minute halves
- 2A. Heavy Front Squat at 85% 1RM
2 reps every minute
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- 2B. Heavy Front Squat at 87% 1RM
2 reps every minute
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"I kind of like how beat up you feel."He ended up sticking to CrossFit WODs for two years and counting, and described his experience of training in a video last year. "The structuring of the programming really does fully encompass all the different fitness parameters you want to work on, whether you're an athlete, or just an average Joe trying to get better at life and just move and feel better about yourself," he says.
12 rounds for time
- Wall Ball
- Dumbbell Hang Snatch
6 reps alternating arms
Resistance Band Accessory Movements
- 1A. Band High Pulls
3 sets of 20 reps
- 1B. Band Pull-Aparts
3 sets of 20 reps
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