March 6, 2012
Building Strength: Kelley Jackson
By Sam Schrader

"I have spent the majority of the offseason with a bias toward strength training." 


Kelley Jackson is going into the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games season with a year of competitive CrossFit experience behind her. Last year, Jackson took 3rd in North Central in the Open and tied Libby Dibiase for 6th at the North Central Regional.

Over the last year, Jackson has worked hard to become stronger.

"I have spent the majority of the offseason with a bias toward strength training, specifically on the Olympic lifts," Jackson says.

The shift in her training is in response to the 2011 North Central Regional. Her worst performances involved relatively heavy lifting. She got 13th place on the thruster ladder, successfully thrustering 135 pounds (30 pounds less than the North Central thruster ladder winner Kathy Slowinski). Jackson also fell to 11th place on the deadlift/box jump workout (1:31 behind winner Elisabeth Akinwale) and “Amanda” (8:09 behind winner Stacie Tovar).

"I knew my weaknesses would be apparent in the thruster ladder and in ‘Amanda.’ where 95 pounds was my one-rep max,” Jackson says. “While I still don't love either of those, I wouldn't mind seeing them again in 2012. Competing at Regionals last year was so humbling, and it reinforced why I fell in love with CrossFit.”

She learned that the specialist won’t succeed in CrossFit competitions, but the person who has the fewest chinks in their armor—and no gaping holes—will.  

“I needed to be strong and fast, not the strongest or fastest," Jackson says.

By training her weakness, she’s hoping to become a true generalist. So far so good, she has added strength “without sacrificing gymnastics skills or my endurance.”

Several 1st-place finishes at local throwdown events between October 2011 and January 2012 gave her confidence that her training was working, and allowed her and her coach to further refine her training.  

This year, she’s sticking to her programming throughout the Open.

"Last year, I wasted valuable training days redoing Open workouts because I was caught up in 'Leaderboarding,'" Jackson admits. "Of course, I want to kick ass on all of the workouts, but my goal is to do each Open workout once.“

Jackson has had two solid performances. She got 129 burpees on 12.1 and 90 snatches on 12.2, thereby earning 3rd place overall in the North Central Region.