CFWP athlete to compete at CrossFit Games
Muscle ups, pull ups, box jumps, handstand walks, and Olympic lifts are all a part of 61-year-old Rod Hamby’s daily routine. Hamby is proving that age is just a number as he takes his place among 20 of the world’s fittest 60 and over men at this year’s CrossFit Games Aug. 1 – 5 in Madison, Wisconsin.
It has taken extensive training and hard work for Hamby to reach this level of competition. His road to the Games began with the CrossFit Open Online Qualifier at his local affiliate, CrossFit West Plains. From the Online Open, the top 200 masters’ athletes continue on to the Master’s Qualifier. Only the top 20 continue onto the games. Hamby has participated in the Qualifier the five of the past six years but this will be his first trip to the Games.
“For the most part, each year, my ranking has improved in the Qualifier,” he said. This year, he was 19th out of 20, laughing now that this was a little too close for comfort.
Hamby first began CrossFit, a high-intensity fitness program, about eight years ago.
“It all started after I read an article in Men’s Health about CrossFit. It described an approach to fitness that that I wanted to somehow sink my teeth into,” he said. “I set up a garage gym at my house and started doing the WOD’s posted each day on CrossFit.com. Before I Knew it, the neighbors were stopping by and wanting to jump in with me. Eventually, one neighbor decided it was time to open a CrossFit gym. I became one of his first members.”
Hamby said he enjoys CrossFit because of the increased fitness that comes from the variety of exercises. One day, athletes may be deadlifting and running, the next, carrying sandbags or flipping tires. Each day is different and adaptable to an athlete’s individual skill and fitness level.
Commitment to Training
Training for this level of competition takes a great deal of time and effort.
“I train two to three hours, five days each week,” he said. “It is quite a commitment. I plan other things and trips around my workout schedule and just pass on things that don’t fit into that program.”
Hamby is fortunate, he said, to have a great deal of support from his family and his fellow athletes.
His brother, Joe, is a trainer at CrossFit West Plains. Joe was also set up well to be a participant in the Master’s Qualifier but suffered a broken hand during an Open event that derailed his path to the games. With a healed hand, Joe is now back to his regular workout routine and he is training alongside his brother to help him prepare for the games.
“It's been awesome to watch and coach Rod through this competition season," Joe said. "He comes in every day and does the work laid out for him. He never shortcuts warm ups, accessory work or the conditioning portions. Rod shines when the pressure it on. He's ready! He's gonna do awesome in Madison!”
In addition, many of the CrossFit West Plains athletes are joining him for parts of his grueling competition training.
“It would be very difficult for me to have the necessary discipline and motivation to train hard without all the encouragement AND support I’ve had and continue to have from my Family and CrossFit friends,” he said. “We have a box full of amazing athletes and friends that constantly encourage and push each other to be the best we can possibly be. It’s so contagious.”
Place at the Games
“I’m most looking forward to the excitement of competing against the 20 best 60 and over master’s athletes in the CrossFit world and finding out where my spot is within that group of men,” he said.
During the games, Hamby and his fellow athletes will compete in multiple workouts each day over several days, earning points for how they place in each event. The workouts are held secret until weeks, days, and sometimes minutes before the athletes compete.
“I’m excited about the unexpected workouts that (CrossFit Games Director) Dave Castro will throw at us. You never know what to expect and that keeps it very interesting to me,” he said. “I dread swimming and running workouts - I need work on both, but I look forward to workouts with Olympic lifting and gymnastics.”
No matter what the workouts might be, Hamby will have a large cheering section routing for him.
“My wife and son, my two brothers and 20 or more workout friends from CrossFit West Plains are going along,” he said. “Even a few friends that don’t CrossFit are planning to go. I’m very blessed to have a great support team behind me.”