Review: Urban Box CrossFit. Madrid.

It was my birthday eve.  30 years old tomorrow and I figured that smashing yourself in a long WOD was a pretty good way to tie off a decade.  And smashed I was…quickly discovering that Madrid’s Urban Box CrossFit is no place for the faint hearted.

My crew at Urban Box CrossFit

My crew at Urban Box CrossFit

I walked for an hour through Madrid’s vibrant streets just to get to Urban Box CrossFit, thinking that this would be a good way to discover more of Spain’s capital (correct), and that the WOD wouldn’t be so hard that I needed to conserve my energy (incorrect).  I walked through the bright, white entranceway and saw the WOD on the board.



10x 150m (small) hill sprint + jog recovery

1200m run

For Time:
3×15 toes to bar (30sec rest)
2×30 burpees (60sec rest)
60x push press
60x overhead squats


Really?! All of this was one WOD?? Yep, apparently Urban Box CrossFit loves the longer WODs, meaning that athletes regularly finish the sessions absolutely exhausted and classes often run over time.  I’d experienced something similar at Toa CrossFit in Wellington, New Zealand, wondering how athletes were able to sustain this over time.  Evidently this style of programming is helping Urban Box CrossFit athletes attain certain goals, although I’m not sure that this type of programming is ideal long-term.

We started our session with a jog outside and some running drills.  There’s a long footpath behind the box which is uninterrupted by cars or streets for some 800m – a huge bonus and unique for a gym in the central city.  This was a different kind of warm up to what I had become used to and one that I quite enjoyed, reminding me of my athletics training days.

And then the mammoth work out began.  10x150m hill sprints with a jog back down to recover.  The large class was split into teams of four and our goal was to keep a consistent speed thoughout the series, whilst dodging cars as we ran up the middle of the street.  I exaggerate.  The street was a dead end and, although lined with parked cars, there wasn’t much traffic to worry about.  The guys pushed themselves hard, their mostly slender frames, probably used to long football games, lending themselves to the short sprints.  Plus, they had no intention of being beaten by a girl.

After only a short rest we were off on the 1200m run – a good lesson in pacing oneself during a WOD.  Push yourself too hard in this portion, and you would be useless for the rest.  Back inside, we were straight to the pull up rack to bash out the toes to bar and burpees.  Thank God rest time was scheduled as surely it would have been impossible otherwise.

The whole WOD was very long and tiring, but an excellent endurance WOD.  I wouldn’t want to do something like this every day as I think it would be both mentally and physically exhausting, but it certainly is beneficial to push yourself like this now and again.

Despite the long session the coach still managed to find time to take us through a good cool down which I always appreciate.  The coach came for the warm up jog with us and gave good encouragement throughout the WOD, although there wasn’t much comment on form.  Slowing us down was a newbie, who needed to be taught all of the moves.  This was good on the coaches part, although I don’t know why he hadn’t learnt the moves on an on-ramp course.

The guys at Urban Box CrossFit responded quickly to my drop-in request, were very welcoming and showed me around when I arrived.  Like I found at CrossFit ALC in Alicante, very few females appeared to attend the gym, apparently the result of the Spanish females aversion to working out.  Potentially due to the large class size I didn’t find the athletes overly friendly, although I did manage a chat with some, and loved it when one of the guys looked me up and down and said “New Zealand?  Don’t people go to the supermarket in bare feet over there??”.  Ahhh the reputation that preceeds us.  At least he didn’t mention Lord of the Rings.

The Urban Box CrossFit box itself is awesome – it’s huge, open, light with nice additions including a reception area, desk and nice toilets and showers (apparently a novelty in most CrossFit gyms).  It appears well cared-for and maintained.

I actually walked back to my hostel following all of this work.  Madness, but I didn’t get lost on the way back so it didn’t take quite as long. And besides, all this work was a good excuse to skip the birthday WOD I had planned for the following day.

Drop-in date: 07/05/13

More info:


About Josinta

I am passionate about travel, CrossFit and writing and have combined all three in my blog - boxjumping. A Level 1 certified CrossFit trainer, I am visiting as many CrossFit boxes as I can during my travels. This has opened many doors - I´ve been to random parts of cities, met awesome people and seen the myriad of ways a CrossFit box can be run. I also CouchSurf - another awesome way to meet locals and end up in areas you never expected. I like hidden corners, local flavours, sitting in a cosy café with my journal, lying on a hot beach with a book. I like flexibility. I like freedom. I like learning about myself, other people, about the world. Life is a journey, they say, but it is also short and full of the unexpected. I am making the most of mine.

Posted on 23/11/2013, in Boxes, Spanish Boxes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the review and virtual visit to the box I trained in for five months when I lived in Madrid. Nice to see all those familiar faces and remember the exhausting wods, haha. As a fellow travel and CrossFit enthusiast, I will definitely keep following your blog. Greetings from Finland 🙂

    • Hey, I’m glad you liked it and that you had such a good time working out there. How did you find the constant long WODs? They weren’t too taxing?

      • I guess the long wods would have been a bit too much had I trained as much as I do now (basically following 3 days on, 1 day off schedule). However, back then I went there only max. 3 times a week and included some slow paced jogs and swimming instead, so it was ok. But I know some of the guys went almost every day and I don’t know how they survived 🙂

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