May 10, 2012
The Missing Snatch: Zach Forrest
By Andréa Maria Cecil

"I just need to get stronger, pound for pound."


Going into the South West Regional, Zach Forrest was the guy to beat.

He had finished 1st within the Region in the Reebok CrossFit Games Open and placed 12th at last year’s Games.

But instead of landing a podium spot, Forrest ended up in 5th place at the Regional this year.

The difference: Workout 5.

Minutes before the event, the 5’7, 174-pound former Navy SEAL nailed a 215-pound snatch three times in the warm-up area. His PR is 225-pound

When it came time for the snatch-ladder on the final day of the Regional, however, he missed the 215-pound snatch. Twice.

“That was the only thing that really held me back,” he says in the week following the three-day competition at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colo.

The failed attempt dropped him from 3rd place overall to 5th.

“His strength was exactly where he needed it to be. Had he hit a better number on his snatch, he would have been at the Games,” says John Welbourn, who did much of Forrest’s programming up until a month or so before the Regional.

“I don’t know if there was anything we could have done differently. He had an off day, he had an off workout,” adds the CrossFit Football founder.

Welbourn was a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs and in 2008 played for the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season.

Forrest also relied on a fellow gym member to provide additional programming.

“It’s very hard for me to program for myself,” he says. “And sometimes I don’t make [the workouts] hard enough and sometimes I shy away from doing certain movements — like rowing and long-distance movements.”

Since last year’s Games, Forrest had been working with Welbourn to build body mass and increase strength.

The pair was successful. Forrest gained an impressive 14 pounds in less than a year.

“I just need to get stronger, pound for pound,” Forrest says. “I’m not a big guy and I don’t have a lot of mass to put behind the movements. It doesn’t matter how strong you are unless you can apply that mass.”

For the next year, he’ll keep training with Welbourn.

“Continue to build a good strength base,” Forrest says.

The two already have started talking about what might be next in the programming.

Still, Forrest says he’s happy with his performance at the Regional, noting that the reason he made it to last year’s Games was because veterans Matt Chan and Chris Spealler weren’t required to compete in the 2011 Regional.

“We had one of the most competitive men’s regions in the world,” he says. “I was hoping that my best was better than their best. I didn’t expect anything.”