Patriot Crossfit — As a Drop-In

Wednesday June 6, 2012

Patriot Crossfit

2130 N. Glebe Rd.  Arlington, VA 22207

Patriot/Potomac Crossfit is, to my knowledge, the biggest, oldest Crossfit box in Arlington.  Potomac Crossfit opened in Clarendon in 2008 and was so successful, they opened a sister gym, Patriot Crossfit, on Glebe Rd in March 2011.  The Potomac location had to close when their building was sold to a developer, but plans are afoot to reopen Potomac in their new space summer, 2012.   In the meantime, both gyms are operating out of Patriot’s space.

WOD Schedule and Additional Offerings

Patriot’s schedule offers lots of class times on weekdays and weekends.   They also provide childcare for some morning/noon-time WODs.  In addition to daily WODs, PCF offers: Crossfit Kids, a Barbell Club, Crossfit Endurance, a Working Wounded program, occasional Paleo Challenges, and a free class on Sundays.


The Patriot facility is very nice.   The building differs from your typical box — it’s located on the back half of a credit union, so it has more of a commercial feel than an industrial vibe.  It is large and roomy (much bigger than the cramped Potomac facility) and is clean, well lit and well-equipped.  I especially appreciated the pristine bathrooms with showers.   They are high tech operation — members scan their keychain pass on arrival and the WOD is projected on the wall.  I registered to drop in using their online reservation system.

Class Size

The class size is LARGE.  I attended a 5:30am WOD and there were over thirty people in the class, with two coaches.  I’ve been told this will change when Potomac gets its new space, but I couldn’t get over how many people were there, especially at Oh Dark Thirty in the morning.


The warm-up was done as a group and differed from my experience at Rubicon — it was a series of plyometric exercises (high knees, grapevines, etc.) and stretching, but no cardio.   The format seemed driven by how to best move a large group of people through the space.


During the strength/skills segment, we worked on Snatch Balance, in a 2-2-2-2-2 format.   The coach talked through technique and demonstrated with PVC pipe and then we paired up and got to work.  I worked up to 85#, which is below my PR, but felt heavy.   We used moveable J-Cup stands, which I don’t like as much as the rack mounted system we use at Rubicon.

WOD / Met Con

The WOD was called “Fast Christine”:

3 Rounds
Row 250m
12 Deadlifts (Bodyweight)
21 Box Jumps (24/20)

I was unfamiliar with this specific workout, but had experience with all of the elements involved.

Patriot uses a “level” system to provide scaling recommendations.  The proscribed (or “Rx’d”) workout is listed first, then a Level II option, which is slightly scaled (in this case, lighter deadlift weight and lower box jump height), and then a Level I option, which is further scaled.

I did the workout Rx’d; the deadlifts were heavy and my box jumps were slow, but I got it done.  My time was an unimpressive 10:55.   I thought it was a good workout and similar to workouts I’ve done at my home box.

Post WOD / Cool Down

After the workout, the next class was getting ready to start.   Some folks opted to stretch, but there was no instruction or encouragement to do so from the coaches.  I thought about doing some foam rolling, but the rollers were on the far side of the gym where the next class was getting started and I didn’t want to intrude so I skipped it.

Coaching / Instruction

I introduced myself to the two coaches and thought they both seemed friendly enough.  One led the class and the other operated as wingman, or a second set of eyes.   When the snatch balance was being explained, I thought the description and demonstration he provided was good.  However, as we worked on the movement, I never received any specific instruction regarding my own form or technique.  I could see they were watching class members, including me, but I never got feedback.  This was true of the Met Con as well.

Social / Vibe

Everyone I interacted with was friendly, but no one was outgoing or introduced themselves to me.  Possibly because it was early in the morning, but I’m guessing with a large class size, people don’t make an effort to get to know all of their fellow wod-mates.

The only person I had a real conversation with was the gal I partnered up with on the skills session (and she was very nice and friendly).  At the end of the workout, I did hear a few people who finished first cheering on those still working, which I appreciated.

My Bottom Line Impression

I had a good experience.  The facility is first rate and I thought the workout was well run.  However, I really did not care for the large class size — I felt like it negatively impacted individualized instruction, and makes it hard to foster community.  Perhaps this will change when they get their new space, but I missed that social connection, which is a big part of the Crossfit experience for me.

Next up:  Ballston Crossfit!

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