March 5, 2013
Taylor Drescher's Podium Dreams
By Josh Bunch

“Give me a barbell and I’m good to go.”


“I am extremely goal driven,” Taylor Drescher says. “Whenever I want something, I make these charts and put them up all over my house. When I was in eighth grade, I said I wanted to be a national champion on the University of Louisville’s cheer team.”

Four years later, she accomplished that goal. During her time on the cheer team, Drescher and her crew won three national championships.

Now, she has a new goal. After taking 13th place at the 2012 Central East Regional, she decided she wanted to make it to the podium. She printed out a photo of Julie Foucher, Lindsey Smith and Heather Welsh on the podium at the Regional and pasted the words “Games 2013” over the top.

“I train everyday like I’m gonna make it,” Drescher says.

Drescher started CrossFit two years ago. Her first box, Derby City CrossFit in Louisville, Ky., often put her through strength work before a short met-con.

Quickly, Drescher realized she had an advantage over many other women.

“I was strong when I started CrossFit,” she explains. “And not just strong for a girl.”

At 5-foot-10, Drescher played one of the main support roles on the cheer team. She tossed the girls into the air for their acrobatic stunts, and caught them as they plummeted back to earth. The years of training developed her strength and gave her a good base for CrossFit.

Before CrossFit, she was able to deadlift 300 lb., bench press 155 lb., and clean and jerk 155 lb.

This year, she has been capitalizing on her strength by training with CrossFit Powerlifting Seminar Staff members, Shane and Laura Sweatt. Their affiliate, CrossFit Conjugate, is within a larger powerlifting gym, Sweatt Shop. Westside Barbell training is king at CrossFit Conjugate.

She splits her time between following Louie Simmons’ method and CrossFit.

She spends two days a week on max effort, centering around compound movements like deadlifts, cleans, jerks and squats. On two opposing days, she trains dynamically using percentages that generally increase in a wave format from 50 to 70 percent.

After that, she focuses on the little things.

“Eighty percent of my training is accessory work like rear delts or triceps,” she says. “We strengthen the little, tiny muscles that get neglected.”

This is important because some athletes have muscular imbalances, she says. For instance, overdeveloped shoulders come from too much pushing and not enough pulling.

To make sure she’s symmetrical, she’s fast to include incline dumbbell presses, banded good mornings, reverse dumbbell flys, glute-ham raises and more into her programming. She also pulls a 90- to 135-lb. sled a couple times a week while wearing ankle weights and a weighted vest.

In addition, Drescher hits eight met-cons each week.

She is happy with the results. She has added six pounds of muscle mass and reduced her body fat by four percent.

“In four months, my deadlift has gone up 100 lb.,” she says.

These days, Drescher can pull 425 lb. off the floor. Her numbers aren’t solely increasing on powerlifting movements.

“It’s carried over very well into my Olympic lifts,” she says.

Her clean and jerk is at 225 lb., up from 210, and she has added 10 lb. to her snatch. She can regularly snatch 170 lb., and get 175 lb. on a good day.

The question remains whether these gains will cost her on workouts with a heavy gymnastics or endurance bent. Admittedly, she hates burpees and pull-ups. Given the history of the Open Workouts, she may face her least favorite movements on the regular in just a few days.

Thanks to new PRs in benchmarks like Diane, she’s confident about her new training. Diane, a workout she failed to complete at the 2012 Central East Regional, is now manageable in 5:31. Karen, a vicious part of Open Workout 12.4 took her nearly eight minutes in 2012; now, she has it down to 5:28.

She has also recently set PRs in workouts that demand exceptional strength, including Queen Kong. She finished the three rounds of 315-lb. deadlifts, muscle-ups, 165-lb. squat cleans and handstand push-ups in just 3:08. That’s nearly three minutes off her time from last year.

If she makes it into the top 48 in the Central East in the Open, she’s confident she’ll be able to toss around the heaviest weights at Regionals with ease.

The Games aren’t her only focus this year. Raised in a military family, Drescher is continuing the tradition set by her father and grandfather by joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

At basic training, Drescher breezed through the fitness tests.

“Physically, it was cake,” she says, crediting CrossFit.

She was one of 52 women who entered basic training, and one of 32 who graduated.

To prepare for the rigors of the military and the CrossFit Games season, she has cleaned up her diet. Early on, she ate three low-carb paleo meals per day throughout the week, and cheated on the weekend. These days, she eats six meals per day and has given up paleo.

“I workout so much that I found I needed more fuel,” she explains.

Her first three meals have the most carbs — rice, sweet potatoes or oats — and are balanced with some kind of protein and fat. Her second three meals have protein and fat, but few carbs.

“The way I do it today has helped me gain muscle mass and fuel my long days and workouts without fatiguing as quickly,” she says.

As the Open and her military career draw near, she is focused on gaining confidence. For her, that means doggedly drilling her weakest movements.

She also keeps sight of her strengths.

“Give me a barbell and I’m good to go.”