The 2010 CrossFit Games
The ultimate proving grounds of the world’s fittest athletes.
July 16-18, 2010 • Carson, CA
The Home Depot Center Sports Complex
Select a 2010 CrossFit Games event
United States Qualifiers
Ben Smith: Forging Elite Fitness in His Backyard
The 20 Year Old Phenom Prepares for 2011
Some of the top contenders for the 2011 CrossFit Games are training in fully-equipped gyms provided for their sponsors. Ben Smith is a throwback to a simpler time in CrossFit history. While going to school at Old Dominion University, he trains outside using a backyard gym that he built himself. He's got a do-it-yourself own pull-up bar, as well as a lifting platform that he made for less than $100 with five sheets of plywood and some screws. Virginia winters can get pretty cold, but Ben trains outside year-round.
These sparse conditions don't seem to be holding back Ben's performance; he finished 8th at the 2010 Games. At 20 years of age, Ben is still young, and his progress has shown no signs of slowing. He's recently overhead squatted 360 lbs., split jerked 340 lbs., done 76 consecutive pull-ups, 20 consecutive ring muscle-ups, and run 800m in 2:16. This throwback athlete may yet be the face of CrossFit's future.
Ben began his competitive CrossFit career when he was just 18. That year, the teenage phenom won the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Regional Qualifiers. Ben beat all other competitors by 28 seconds in the final workout, a 21-15-9 rep scheme with 95 lb. squat snatches and chest-to-bar pull-ups. As July approached, Ben looked poised to do some damage at his first Games.
It didn't work out that way. Ben came in 60th out of 74 athletes in the 7 kilometer trail run. He was cut after 4 events and finished 64th overall. Going back home, Ben was exhausted, but he realized that he needed to change the way he prepared for the Games. He started to take nutrition more seriously, began training more CrossFit-style workouts instead of pure lifting, and increased the volume of his training in order to better prepare for competition. Beginning in the fall of 2009, he began training from 2 to 4 times a day. Rather than focusing on one element of fitness, Ben decided that he needed to work all aspects of fitness, from lifting to running and gymnastics.
His hard work paid off with a top ten performance in 2010, making for one of the most dramatic year-to-year improvements in CrossFit Games history. Ben finished 13th or better in all events except for one, the Pyramid Double Helen. At the Games, Ben's 21:29 time landed him in 35th place for the event. He has since taken over 3 minutes of his time on that workout, while using a 9 lb. heavier kettlebell.
Ben has taken his relentless commitment to eliminating his weakness so far that he doesn't seem to have very many weaknesses left. Still, he wants more. Ben's goal list includes back squatting 500 lbs., cleaning 330 lbs., snatching 285 lbs., and running 1.5 miles in under 8:30. And, of course, there's the 2011 CrossFit Games.