How the GridLeague works
Training for GridLeague consists of the same movements as CrossFit; however, the core foundation is the opposite. The idea of GridLeague is to get your team from the starting line to the finish line, which consists of 4 quadrants, as fast as possible. On the grid there really is only one speed, and that is extremely fast. If you stop or slow down you lose. Unlike CrossFit, in the Grid you can substitute athletes, which makes this concept easier. This way you can sustain an abnormal speed for 30 repetitions (give or take some), and then substitute a person in your place. As long as you have someone working as fast as possible, and also as efficiently as possible, the team will finish the race in a good time. Training for Grid consists of sprints. How long can you go before you slow down? While also placing athletes in their better skill positions, there is a lot of strategy behind grid. Strategy is the fun part -what will work and what won’t?
Being a part of a team vs. individual athlete
After competing as an individual CrossFit athlete for years, being part of a team is something hard to explain. In this circumstance, twenty athletes spent three weeks in a house together. We shared one kitchen, four baths, a swimming pool, and grew from friends to becoming a family. I would never take any of these times together back. My team was by far the most fun. We worked hard and played even harder. There were so many memories that you create together, that you don’t get when you are competing as an individual. You share wins and losses. When you are competing on the Grid with your team, you understand that when you need to be substituted out, your team will support you but the momentum will keep building. GRID -It is all about team and speed.
Choosing the right gear for the Grid
I have worn inov8’s for five years now, so it seems natural as to what shoe I am going to wear and when; however, there are some times when I doubt myself. The rule of thumb I always use is to dress for your weakest skill. For example, during the semi-finals one race included weighted pistols and weighted double unders. I choose to wear my f-lite 219s (now f-lite 192) because the double unders were going to be much harder for me than the pistols. On another race, my event was to perform 15 clean and jerks, 20 handstand push-ups, and 15 front squats. I wore the fastlift 335s to provide more stability on the lifts than I would have justified for handstand pushups. Because Grid is all about cycle time, and the speed it takes to get from the starting line to the finish line, inov-8 is the perfect shoe for this sport. The brand provides a lightweight shoe yet durable for the impact of sprints, Olympic lifts, plyometrics, and gymnastics movements involved in Grid.
Competing in a GridLeague match
Grid is really special because it will highlight your strengths. The idea is for each athlete to perform the skills and movements in which they excel. If we know every match consists of ideally the same number of races, and the setup of the 11 races are the same in each match then you can strategize based off of this.
There are six different match variations in the 2014 season, all named after mountains. Each match has 11 races in two hours. The general rules of the 11 races are the same for each match, with the specific race elements changing between the different match variations.
The starting lineup will be based off the team’s active roster, which consists of 14 athletes. Ten athletes play, including a female masters athlete and a male masters athlete. Based off of the match variation, the starting roster will be chosen based on best ability and fit for each match. Substitutions can be made at any time, as long as they fit the rules. There is an unlimited amount of substitutions you can have during a race.
The key is to get your team to the finish line as fast as possible while performing full repetitions. Each team will decide its own substitutions; the main factor is when an athlete starts slowing down then substitute out. In practice, you can play around with how many repetitions that is based on each athlete. Most athletes and teams know what that level is. However, sometimes things do not go as planned during a match. On my team we always said “be ready no matter what”. This was in case someone needed to clean up another athlete’s repetitions, etc.
Your nutrition that day -and during the match
During match day, I try to keep my nutrition as normal as possible. You would not want to change anything the day of the match that you normally would not do. During the match I do drink Gatorade to get some simple sugars in. Because you are at a high intensity for the two hour period, your insulin levels drop. Some teammates ate cereal, or drank Pedialyte ideally for the same reasons.