Crossfit South Arlington
Crossfit South Arlington (CFSA) is located in northern corner of Crystal City, right by the new Long Bridge Park. They have a nice website with a lot of information, except for two big things.
One — they do not post their daily WODs online, so I could not get any sense of what their training program is like. Two — there is no information about the coaches or owner(s). Their About Us page talks about being there for the members, which is great, but I was looking for a little more detail about who they are and what kind of experience/background they have.
When I drove over to drop in on their evening WOD, I had no idea what to expect, other than the gal I spoke to on the phone was super friendly.
WOD Schedule and Additional Offerings
CFSA schedules 3 WODs a day on weekdays, and 3 over the weekend. Additionally, CFSA offers: two free classes for prospective members (one midweek, one weekend), weekly yoga, strongman training, personal self-defense training, occasional seminars, and nutrition programming.
CFSA is in a rundown old building that looks from the outside like it should be condemned. The contrast between this old building and the shiny new condo buildings that surround it is almost laughable.
I walked in the front door and found myself in an open, carpeted room with cubbies for storing gear and a typical office space ceiling height. There was a water fountain and bathroom but no shower. There was enough floor space for several members to stretch and foam roll pre and post workout. The space was by no means upscale or fancy, but was perfectly serviceable for what it is.
When I walked through the front room to the back, I found myself in a cavernous warehouse space. There was a pull-up rig on one side and lots of open floor space. Two bay garage doors stood open and a couple of large fans were on to keep the air flowing. There was even more space further back, that I think housed equipment, but I didn’t take a good look.
CFSA has a some parking spots in the lot that runs the length of their building, as well as un-zoned street parking along South Ball St. Long Bridge Park is at the end of their block and there is metered parking along it (on S. 6th St.) as well. They are also Metro accessible and bike-friendly.
There were ~ 15 people at the 6:30pm WOD I attended. There was one coach instructing the group, and a couple of other people on hand who seemed to be CFSA coaches but were not actively instructing the class.
Our warm-up was a 400m run (around the building) and then 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, and 20 air squats. I was impressed that hand-release seemed to be the default mode of doing push-ups.
The strength and skills portion was focused on cleans. The coach spent several minutes drilling proper technique for initiating a clean, first with just hands/body movement, then with PVC pipe, then finally, with the barbell and light weights. After several minutes of technique work, we added weight and worked up towards the weight we would use for the WOD.
WOD / Met Con
The WOD was an AMRAP called “The Chief“:
Max rounds in 3 minutes of:
3 Power cleans 135/95#
6 Push-ups (hand release)
Rest 1 minute. Repeat for a total of 5 cycles.
It took 19 minutes to complete (including the rest between rounds) and was a challenging workout. I was able to do it Rx’d but it definitely left me winded. The push-ups were the worst for me. I got 17 rds + 6. When I looked at the board, I think I was the only woman who did it Rx’d, but I definitely didn’t feel out of place, I felt surrounded by athletes with a variety of fitness/Crossfit experience.
Post WOD / Cool Down
After the WOD, most people took the initiative to do some kind of stretching. There was another class gearing up to go at 7:30, so my class transitioned out of the workout space and back into the front room.
Coaching / Instruction
The was the first box I visited where I was truly impressed with the coaching. Kerry, who ran my class, was very specific and detailed as she explained technique in the skills portion. She also walked through the class and watched each individual and provided specific feedback. I found her her instruction to be helpful in improving my form on my cleans. During the WOD, I was also aware of her monitoring the class and offering encouragement and instruction.
Although I thought 15:1 was a little high for a coach to athlete ratio, she did an excellent job running the class and managed the size well. If more coaches were needed, I had the impression others would have stepped in to help. In addition to being an effective communicator, she was also super friendly and exuded warmth and personality.
Social / Vibe
When I first walked in, a gal greeted me and introduced herself. When I explained I was dropping in, she pointed me to the waiver and connected me with the coach. The place was busy with activity, with a 5:30 class underway, the 6:30 class about to begin, and an olympic lifting seminar going on as well. Several people introduced themselves to me during the time I was there and were friendly and engaging.
The box had a good social vibe, with nice people who were welcoming to an outsider. It also felt like there was a good level of intensity from the athletes and coaches where members are challenged to push themselves and improve.
My Bottom Line Impression
I really liked this box! I was surprised how easy it was to get to from North Arlington. I thought it would be more of a pain but really only took me about 15 minutes, even in the evening rush hour.
Their class times are a little limited, and I still think it’s a little strange that they don’t post WODs or any real details about themselves on their website, but my in-person experience was overwhelmingly positive. If I didn’t already have a box I loved, I would definitely consider training here.
Next up: Crossfit Adaptation!