2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Q and A - Graham Holmberg

Ralph Macchio doesn't stand a chance against this Games veteran

Graham Holmberg is a veteran CrossFit competitor. Last year a 4th place finish in the Midwest Regional Qualifier earned him a berth in Aromas. Graham finished 19th overall in the field of 74. In 2010 he came back strong. He finished third overall in the Central East Regional. We caught up with Graham to hear about training in the run up to the Games.

What was your favorite moment of the regional competition?

The excitement and build-up of the final event. I was second place going into it and felt good about the workout. Although the event destroyed me, it was a great finish to the weekend.

You're going into the 2010 Games after finishing 19th last year. What did you do differently this year?

I focused more on interval training, running and rowing. Also, once a week I would attack a longer run (20-30 minutes). Last year I expected heavy high-rep weightlifting and was unprepared for the lighter/endurance-based workouts. I’ve worked hard to improve my longer met-con and max-effort Olympic lifts.

You bear a striking resemblance to Johnny Lawrence of the infamous Cobra Kai dojo in The Karate Kid. Have you even used that gift for evil?

Ha-ha. This has been a re-occuring theme since I was in college. My nickname was “Johnny” on the football team. When I wear a headband, I’ve actually been able to convince people I was in the movie.

You recently got engaged. How did you propose, and did you work out that day too? If so, do you remember the WOD?

It was our first night on vacation. I played her favorite songs on the guitar and took a walk on the beach. I really got romantic for this occasion. The next day we did a 2-mile run (and) 30 power snatches (145/75) for time in 95 degrees. It was a tough WOD. Let's just say she wasn't too thrilled I brought barbells, rings, bumper plates on vacation.

What is your best athletic attribute?

Honestly, I would say that my mindset, competitiveness and heart is what helps me out the most with CrossFit. I’m not the strongest, fastest, or even most skilled guy out there. But I always see myself in the mix because I hate to lose and will never quit workouts.

Can you tell us a little about your football career?

I played at a smaller school, Capital University (D3). Went in as a quarterback and was the back-up for two years. My junior year I made the switch to wide receiver and started my junior and senior year. Knowing the offense and routes helped the position change. I always had good hands, speed and agility, but learning to block in the open field and run routes was always a challenge. We were very talented in my four years playing—had the winning-est class in CU history, ranked top 5 my junior and senior year, and had two regional playoff berths.

Have you used any Westside methods in your training after attending the first Powerlifting Cert?

The biggest thing I used in my training and really rehab was the reverse hyper. We had one of the Rogue original prototypes, and it has helped my back stay healthy. I used higher sets and lower reps to build better speed-strength along with weighted plyometrics.

What workout would you most like to see at the Games?

I think it would be cool to see the top 50 guys in the world do Fran all at the same time. But if I had to pick a specific WOD for myself to do, well, 30 muscle-ups for time.

What was your most recent PR?

Snatch: 215 (10-lb. PR), C&J: 275 (10-lb. PR).

If you had to fight Ralph Macchio right now, who would win? And yes, you're allowed to sweep the leg.
Don’t bet on Ralph this time around. My training partner wants to make a T-shirt for me to wear at the Games that reads “In this movie, Johnny wins.” But I wont wear it though.

What is your all-time favorite WOD?

Thirty muscle-ups for time.

Do you have a goal for the Games? First? Top 5? Top 10?

I plan on doing better than I did last year. There a ton of great athletes competing, and it could be anyone’s day if the programming is right. It killed me to not compete Day 2 last year, missing the cut by 3 points. I feel ready this year and I want the title “Fittest Man.”

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7 comments on this entry

1. Corina wrote...

Awesome! Go Graham! Hitch and I are cheering hard for you!!

2. Brandon Couden wrote...

I def ordered a cobra kai t-shirt that should be here monday just in time for the games! The Graham I see right now would have won the regional by 5-10 points, he's defently peaking at the perfect time! I see this guy train everyday, I have never seen anyone with his ability to size up a workout know what he has to do to get the best time, then do it no matter how bad it hurts. He's gonna do real well!

3. Ralph Hicks wrote...

My name is Ralph he kicks my ass every time so........ He didn't mention he was also a college baseball player.

Check out this video which shows his heart and his will. He is well rounded, and doesn't have stop in him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypUa26lD6E4 (5:45 is where it's at)

I will be wearing a head band, but the wife wont let me dye my hair :(

4. Brandon Chapin wrote...

Ralph I am sure you get him at least 1 out of 10 ? What about swimming ?

5. Ralph Hicks wrote...

"Mary" and I can throw harder than him, other than that..... um, yep throwing and pistols so maybe I'll make a workout where we throw a baseball, run to it and do 20 pistols until you finish a mile or something like that.

Oh yeah, look out Graham when you get back from the games baby!

I may be able to hang with him on rope muscle ups?

Graham is amazing, he is so good at everything and he just continues to get better each and every day.

Fun guy to watch workout, not so much fun to workout with unless you make him do 4 rounds to your 3 :)

6. rory ryan wrote...


7. Lonely wrote...

You can get them at the door as long as they are not sold out.


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