March 21, 2013
David Charbonneau Goes Team
By Keka Schermerhorn

“My prediction is a trip to California this year. Our team is stacked ... I have no doubt that we can snag a top-three spot at the Regional this year. I also predict mind-numbing, crowd-pleasing, intensity."


After two consecutive fourth-place finishes at the 2011 and 2012 North East Regional, David Charbonneau is determined to reach the CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif.

So determined, in fact, he’s setting aside his dream of competing as an Individual, and will compete with CrossFit Dynamix this year.  

It’s been a tough three years for Charbonneau. A few months after he narrowly missed qualification for the second time, he partially tore his quadricep tendon. That injury proved to be a turning point for the once unaffiliated athlete.

A month after the injury, Charbonneau walked through the doors of CrossFit Dynamix in Astoria, N.Y., and accepted the help of owner and head coach, Justin Cotler. For the last six months, Charbonneau has been rehabilitating and connecting to the team.

“Usually, the idea of being on a team would not have been very appealing at all,” Charbonneau says. “But considering the strength of the other athletes on this team, and the fact that I had been really struggling with a major injury, made this a bit of a no-brainer.”

This year, Cotler is handing off the reigns to Charbonneau and co-captain, Kylee Claxton.

“I knew this year I would focus strictly on running the business, coaching and programming,” Cotler says. “What I was looking for was a competitor, a game changer.”  

Charbonneau is tasked with the role of team firebreather, and his job is to set everyone alight.

“I've never met a great athlete who didn't want to win at everything. CrossFit, bowling, checkers ... it doesn't matter. If you have that fire, it transfers over into everything you do and it's contagious,” Cotler explains. “You meld athleticism with a ferocious will to win and you have something very special — that's Dave.”

He adds: “He is truly a gifted athlete and everyone pushes a little harder working out next to him. Now, don't get me wrong, he's a handful. The toughest thing for me is making him realize you can't lift max effort every day.”

Charbonneau credits Cotler with aiding his recovery, among other improvements.

“Justin is definitely helping me handle more volume. We work hard here. His attention to detail is also quite impressive,” Charbonneau says. “Most importantly though, Justin helped me get through an injury that sidelined me for three months, and he did so without a great loss in strength. In fact, I am actually way stronger than I was before the injury.”

The team gets together for mandatory practice on the weekends.

“During the week, people's schedules are different with 9 to 5 jobs and coaching jobs, but we generally have a group that will work out together in the early afternoon, and then a group that trains together at night. So everyone is constantly at the box, but not always at the same time,” Cotler says.

While Charbonneau trains at CrossFit Dynamix, he coaches at CrossFit Greenpoint. Splitting his time between the affiliates, he says he gets something different from each.

At Greenpoint, Charbonneau works on his weightlifting. Ron Yellin, of CrossFit Greenpoint, is an exceptional weightlifting coach, he says.

“I will say this: Training with Ron is a pleasure. The man is an unbelievably talented Olympic lifting coach. My numbers have really soared since working more in depth with him. The increase in my Oly numbers from a year ago is unbelievable. I couldn't be happier,” Charbonneau says.

Charbonneau’s time with the barbell is paying off. At a recent training session with the team, he hit a snatch PR of 280 lb., up 45 lb. from his 235 lb. at the 2012 North East Regional.

“Heavy Single Saturday is my favorite team day,” Charbonneau says. “The team we have here is awesome. Awesome athletes, awesome personalities, just an awesome training environment. So much energy. I love it.”

He is confident his choice to go team will pay off.

“My prediction is a trip to California this year,” Charbonneau says. “Our team is stacked. I know there are other great teams out there, but I have no doubt that we can snag a top-three spot at the Regional this year. I also predict mind-numbing, crowd-pleasing, intensity. You will know when Team Dynamix is on the field.”