Review: Entreno Cruzado CrossFit. Mallorca, Spain.
There wasn’t much hope of Entreno Cruzado being a decent CrossFit box. Not only was it in Spain – where people tend to choose beer, tapas and sunbathing over exercise – it’s also on the paradisical island of Mallorca. Mallorca might be Ibiza’s beautiful and more subdued neighbour, but the nightlife is still a huge attraction; sun-roasted, permanently-drunk 18-year-old English boys dominate the streets during summer; and locals tend to have an “island mentality”. The Entreno Cruzado box was small, had started out as an unaffiliated gym and, on top of all this, day-time temperatures were reaching 30 degrees, plus humidity. My expectations were low.
On the short bus ride to the box from Palma, Mallorca’s capital, I consoled myself that any work out would be better than none, and at least I’d be forced away from tapas for a while.
Forget about the deep-fried food, I was soon eating humble pie.
It wasn’t just the careful attention to technique that quickly had me respecting the Entreno Cruzado coaches; nor was it only their dedicated encouragement throughout WODs that had me paying attention. It was the whole approach of the Entreno Cruzado team that had me returning to the box four times in 10 days, forgoing sunbathing sessions on sparkling beaches just to learn a little more from these awesome coaches.
My coach arrived on “island time” for my first session, giving me a chance to chat with some of the Reebok-clad members. . In the box, my coach and I had a chat about my CrossFit experience and injuries, and I filled out a waiver form. As I’ve noted previously, surprisingly few CrossFit gyms use waiver and history forms, as opposed to most “normal” gyms. I still haven’t worked out why CrossFit gyms don’t do this.
Formalities over, my coach introduced me to the rest of the small class and we started gearing up for the WOD. I found the warm ups at Entreno Cruzado to be a little on the short side, although time was always invested in going over technique for the daily WOD. I quickly realised how much importance the coaches put on technique. Work out #1 was Hope – a WOD I’d heard of but had never actually done.
“Hope” – Each exercise for one min. For reps, x3.
Rest 1 min.
3-2-1-Go and…the box was quiet. All I could hear was bodies falling to the floor doing burpees, sharp in-takes of breath, then the clang of a barbell hitting the floor and the rattling of weights. Feeling braver on my second session at Entreno Cruzado I asking my burning question:
“What’s with the no music?!”
“Music?! You want music?!”
Ummmmm yes! I HATE working out without it!
Lo siento señorita but at Entreno Cruzado music is the sound of barbells, of heavy breathing, of feet landing on a box. They don’t want you distracted by actual music, preferring that you concentrate fully on what you’re doing. At this explanation I rolled my eyes, supposing that it was a good one, but still wanting that distraction from my pain!
Working up to 3x 80% of 1RM
Working up to 3x 80% of 1RM
Kettlebell swings x26
Pull ups x26
Normally I’m good with long, hard WODs – you push through, just wanting to get it done, and feeling proud of yourself when it’s over. But this one had me hating life. Pull ups are my #1 weakness and they’d programmed 26 of them. 3 times over. Together with the kettlebell swings and pull ups, my hands were killing me and I couldn’t stick another band on the pull up rack. “C’mon Josie!”, the coaches encouraged me. I withered inside. “Move Josie! Everyone’s been too soft on you in the past!”. I hated it. I wanted to scream. But resolved to finish the damn work out and master those damn pull ups in the future. I finished. Stumbled outside for air and thanked the guys for pushing me through – I was just a drop-in but the still invested their time in energy to getting me through a tough work out.
Session 3 was a long weightlifting session and I got tired, dropping reps on my push press to avoid injury. But I had time on my hands and the guys knew it. All the other athletes left but the coaches got me to stay behind and do a 9 minute WOD. Sure I was tired, but why not do a little extra? Why not push yourself just that bit harder on the odd occassion? For the first time since starting CrossFit I worked out by myself, without music and with two amazing coaches kneeling in front of me while I worked as hard as I could. They didn’t have to be there, but their interested in helping “just a drop-in” is testament to their total passion for their sport and helping other people. I walked away that day feeling proud of myself for putting all I had into a really tough session, and grateful for having met some incredible people.
(Yet another) WOD
30x squat clean (25kg)
15x strict pull ups (2x bands)
35′ time camp
After our WODs, the coaches would take us through careful stretching and mobility work, getting us to do stretches in ways I’d never seen before (and I reckon I’ve done a lot of stretching in my time!). He was ready to explain why we were doing things as we were and the benefits of the movements.
I managed to revolve my Mallorca holiday around sessions at Entreno Cruzado. It only made sense – after just one session I realised how much I was going to learn from these guys. The coaches were fastidious about technique. They demonstrated the moves clearly before the session and monitored our performance closely. If they told us to use the hook grip, they made sure we used it. No mixed-grip while doing deadlifts. Strict pull ups before kipping. Watch your heels. Your knees. If someone did a horrible clean they’d stop, teach and get you to repeat. How else do you learn? I never had a bad squat but they got me squatting lower, always watching my knees which like to cave in. The coahces were clear and firm on what they expected from weightlifting technique. Drawing on their previous experience as weightlifting coaches, they are capable of explaining their theories clearly, without simply regurgitating CrossFit Blog articles.
The friendly, positive attitude of the coaches certainly filtered down to the athletes. I, in turn, also felt relaxed, comfortable and very welcome. I met Kim, a northern European with a strong American accent, working and living in a hotel up the coast, who traversed Mallorca’s highways a few times a week on a scooter to stay on top of her CrossFit training. Then there were Morgan and Malin – two seriously tough CrossFitters on holiday from Sweden. Malin impressed me with her strength, determination and positive attitude – she took time to cheer on my clean and jerk achievements when she was lifting far more than me. I especially loved the 21-15-9 tattoo on her arm.
Staying fit while travelling is not just a desire, it’s a clear need for many people and I’d say even more so for CrossFitters who pay so much attention to their progress. Only the week prior to my session a competitor in the EU CrossFit regionals had done some excellent work outs at Entreno Cruzado. Having such a constant stream of random people filing through a box would be an interesting challenge to manage – ensuring that you dedicate sufficient time to your regular members while making the drop-ins feel welcome, but the guys at Entreno Cruzado seem to be doing a good job. They even do the classes in both English and Spanish if necessary and have excellent bus stop and travel instructions on the web.
I felt truely inspired by the genuine passion of these guys. They go to that gym every day because they absolutely love it and love helping people to get better. Improvements and PBs made by their athletes are what drives them. They’re not interested in athletes’ half-assed efforts because they’re not going to give you half-assed coaching. They draw on their background and wealth of knowledge to make their athletes better and expect 100% in return. I learnt a lot in my four sessions there and left hoping to find similar quality in the next box I would call home.
Not only were the Entreno Cruzado coaches great hosts inside the gym, but they were very generous with their time and looked after me outside the gym too. After my very first session, a few of us walked the 200m to the beach front for a coffee. Later, there was a trip to the beach, then sailing and even diving. The guys were so much fun, such great company and really made my trip that much more enjoyable.
My take-aways from this box are a no-brainer – looks aren’t everything but passion totally is.
Drop in dates: 8/07/13 to 18/07/13
More info: crossfitentrenocruzado.com
Posted on 05/01/2014, in Boxes, Spanish Boxes and tagged badger, CrossFit, drop in, entreno cruzado, hope, mallorca, palma, Spain, technique, Travel, waiver form, weightlifting, WOD. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.