Tuesday, December 30, 2014 was not going to be like my average day as a CrossFit / Progenex BLK Coach. I knew this because two of the most talented and recognizable WWE athletes were dropping my CrossFit gym for a training session. Seth Rollins and Luke Harper were in Los Angeles, CA for the final WWE event of 2014. A live, sold out, house show at the Staples Center.
The day started off as usual. A private session with a client, who needs that extra accountability that a class just can’t offer sometimes. I like one-on-one sessions because I get to see the progress first hand. I watch each and every rep. All 60 minutes of each session. Bonds are formed and accomplishments are shared. After my private session, I had two CrossFit classes to coach before lunch. I love coaching classes. I am a teacher at heart. Leading a class for 60 minutes through warm ups, skills, lifts, and conditioning workouts is amazing. Earning the respect of the members who see the value of what I have to offer is an honor that I don’t take lightly. The day’s skills involved wall walks: a movement requiring a great deal of strength, mobility, and body awareness. Finding a balance between coaching and over-coaching a skill such as the wall walk is something that takes experience.
Seth Rollins and Luke Harper arrived in the early afternoon, direct off a flight from Washington, DC. The night before was their weekly three hour televised event, WWE’s Monday Night Raw. My programming partner, Josh Gallegos, and I have been programming for Seth Rollins (aka Mr. Money In The Bank) for nearly 5 months. The programming is dependent on Seth’s WWE schedule. Providing enough rest before and after an event, and finding the time to push hard each week has been a fun challenge. We knew the programming today would need to be tailored to Seth’s current level of energy. Fresh off his weekly live event and his cross-county flight, and hours before his live event at Staples Center in LA. We kept his warm up and skills consistent with what we had programmed for him. Some rowing and basic, full body exercises and he was warm. The skills section included handstand walking to a wall followed directly by handstand push ups. This is where the athleticism of Seth Rollins is displayed. Chest to bar pull ups and weighted GHD sit ups round out his skill work. We change his lifting session for the day to account for the stress already put on his body in hopes to keep him fresh for his event just hours away. We program a lifting complex: Power Snatch + Snatch Push Press + Overhead Squat. The percentages are kept between 60% and 70% of his 1RM Snatch. Seth moves well. He is clearly a dedicated lifter who takes pride in his form and technique. From set-up, to speed, to foot-work, to his aggressiveness.
I decided to do the conditioning workout we programmed for Seth. Two AMRAP’s with a short rest in-between. The first included Power Cleans (135#), Burpee Box Jumps (24”), and a 200m Run. Seth went unbroken for 12 minutes. I tried to keep up, but he edged me out by a few reps. As impressive as he was during the first workout, it was the second AMRAP that really impressed me. A 10 minute AMRAP of Muscle Ups, Power Snatch (95#), and Toes To Bar. Seth went unbroken on this workout as well. His form from minute 1 was the same at minute 10. For someone who makes a living as a “fake wrestler”, he sure does have the strength, skill, and conditioning of a real athlete.
Three short hours later we are back stage at the Staples Center with Seth Rollins and Luke Harper. I am relaxed. My work day and workout is over. They, however, are just about to start their work day. They recovered with Progenex directly after their workout at the box. From there, they explain how they ate a large portion of food before arriving at the venue. Seth explains this with a foam roller in his hand. He has a few hours before his name will be called and it’s his turn to entertain over 17,000 people.
Around 10pm, the lights dim and Seth Rollins is introduced to a fury of screaming fans. He is wrestling John Cena as the main event of the night. For the next 20 minutes, Seth’s strength and athleticism are on display in the wrestling ring, just a few hours after displaying them in the box. It’s easy to see why Seth loves CrossFit and has adopted it as his training method. The functional movements of CrossFit are necessary in the ring. Picking another man up and pressing him overhead eerily mimics a clean and jerk.
We visit Seth backstage after the event. He still looks fresh. After it all. The event from the night before. The cross country flight. The training session earlier in the day. He attributes his ability to recover so quickly to his training and his diet which includes multiple Progenex products (he’s a sucker for the Peanut Butter Smash).
It is undeniable to see the connection between CrossFit and an active lifestyle. Seeing it first-hand in the world of professional wrestling was an awesome experience.
Yeah, this was definitely not my regular Tuesday as a CrossFit / Progenex BLK Coach!
– Mike Vac