“It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it. From Day 1 starting CrossFit, it made sense to my body. I love that it allows your body to move and perform in a way that is natural.”
Cody Anderson is once again bringing his body-weight expertise to Kent, Wash., to compete at the 2014 North West Regional.
But this time the Central Oregon CrossFit athlete and coach will be packing some serious strength, too.
Since he started CrossFit in 2010, all of Anderson’s lifts—especially his favorites, the snatch and clean—have increased. His snatch has jumped from 135 lb. to 235 lb., and his clean has almost doubled, going from 155 lb. to 305 lb.
“My goal is to clean and jerk twice my body weight,” said the 160-lb. athlete from Redmond, Ore. “My technique on all the more complicated and technical movements, and the Olympic lifts in particular, have been developed out of necessity.”
Using perfect form in those heavy lifts allows him to compete toe-to-toe with the big guys, Anderson said.
“Being a smaller athlete, making sure my form is as perfect and efficient as I can get it is the only way I can really keep up with people that are bigger and/or stronger than I am,” he said.
Sitting in 46th place in the North West, Anderson is headed to regionals after a solid performance in the five Open workouts—most notably his third-place finish in 14.2, the overhead squat and chest-to-bar pull-up couplet, and his 10th-place finish in 14.4, the 14-minute AMRAP chipper consisting of a 60-calorie row, 50 toes-to-bars, 40 wall-ball shots, 30 cleans and 20 muscle-ups.
Building on Expertise
Anderson, 21, started CrossFit after graduating from high school four years ago. Though he didn’t do much in the way of fitness during high school, he did have a strong gymnastics background.
“Having a background in gymnastics has been really helpful for me,” he said. “The body awareness you develop while doing that sport carries over into almost any other form of physical activity you can do.”
From age 8 to 12, Anderson practiced all the men’s gymnastics events, including floor exercises, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar. The body-weight movements he practiced as a child transitioned well into CrossFit as an adult.
It’s no surprise then, that Fran and Amanda are two of his favorite workouts, as they both involve considerable body-weight work.
“I did Fran for the first time more than a year after beginning CrossFit,” Anderson recalled. “It took me 2:44 and I felt like garbage for a long time afterward. The last time I did it, it took me 2:10 but I felt fine. I just PR’d Amanda at the Oregon Winter Games (4:03).”
Anderson did more than just PR at the annual statewide competition, which was hosted by Oregon CrossFit in Bend in January. He won the Rx division.
“That competition draws a lot of pretty great athletes, so it was a good way to test myself and see where I was at,” he said. “It’s also just a lot of fun. I love the atmosphere of competition, especially when you don’t know what workout you will be doing until minutes before.”
Staying Injury Free
Anderson has struggled with staying injury free, but he said he’s healthy and strong going into this year’s regional.
“I’ve hurt my lower back about five times,” he said. “I have to be really careful when I deadlift, but it seems to be getting better. The last time I hurt it was at regionals (last year), and I’ve been smart in my training and it hasn’t been a problem since.”
He used that smart strategy during 14.3’s deadlift and box jump couplet, holding back a bit and placing 221st despite having a one-rep-max deadlift of 405 lb.
While preparing for regionals, Anderson said he’s not doing anything specific with his training regimen other than what is programmed for the day at Central Oregon CrossFit, but he does add extra strength and interval work.
“For any competition, I’m not worrying about how I perform,” he said. “In 2013, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I really wanted to make it to the Games and I ended up doing pretty poorly. It’s been a journey getting to this point, but I’ve come to the realization that the more I let go and give it up to God, the better I do.”
In the long term, Anderson said he wants to stay injury free and keep improving.
“It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it,” he said. “From Day 1 starting CrossFit, it made sense to my body. I love that it allows your body to move and perform in a way that is natural.”
As a coach and athlete, Anderson said his box has become a second home—and its members an extended family.
“If you stick with it, not only will you get in better shape, but you’ll gain a second family of sorts,” he said. “Everybody talks about it, but the camaraderie that is formed in the box is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s awesome.”
Anderson said he enjoys helping people and celebrating their gains with them as well as encouraging them emotionally. The Open workouts gave him the opportunity to encourage his fellow athletes to “do things they didn’t think they were capable of,” he said.
“We programmed the Open workout (at Central Oregon CrossFit) as our (workout) on Friday each week,” he said. “It was helpful to observe others doing the workout before I did and before I gave advice or thoughts on strategy to our athletes who were actually signed up for the Open.”
Anderson’s desire to encourage others goes beyond the gym’s walls. He began Bible College in February and would eventually like to be involved in ministry of some kind. More than anything, he said he wants to “help people and be an instrument of change in their lives.”
“All I am doing right now is saying yes to the opportunities that God is putting before me,” Anderson said. “I’m trusting that He has a better plan than anything I could come up with!”