One of my favorite people to follow on social media is Pat Sherwood. If you don’t know who Pat Sherwood is, he is as OG as it gets. He was on Seminar Staff for a LONG time. He started doing CrossFit back in 2005, and he’s a former Navy SEAL. He’s just an all around good guy though. He posts some thought-provoking stuff on social media, and since we went with our “what 3 workouts would best make a great athlete if they could only do those 3?” last week; I’m going to somewhat continue the theme this week.
Pat posted this question on social media the other day. If you had to pick just ONE of these athletes to take part in a physical challenge as your partner and you had NO IDEA what the challenge was going to be, which athlete would you pick?
Athlete A: Can perform a 275lb squat snatch
Athlete B: Can perform a sub-7:00 minute 2k on a Concept 2 rower
Athlete C: Can perform 30 strict pull-ups unbroken
This is the ONLY fact you get to know about the athletes. You know NOTHING else about them. Again, you have NO IDEA what the challenge is going to be.
I gave this a quick thought when I originally saw the post and thought, “I would go with athlete A,” but that might just be me projecting. I know I’m nowhere close to doing a 275-pound snatch, so I would pick that person to offset my deficiencies. However, what if the challenge is a partner 10k? There’s no guarantee that the athlete who can do that 275-pound snatch isn’t severely overweight and maybe can’t run further than 400m without stopping. I would be guaranteed almost a certain loss if it’s a traditional weightlifter whose running stamina is less than stellar.
Athlete C would almost certainly not be capable of moving any large loads. I can do almost 30 strict pull-ups and I know that if something with heavy weight comes up, I’m in for a world of hurt. So, that leaves Athlete B.
We know for sure that Athlete B has the cardio to handle anything long or short. If you can row a sub-7:00 minute 2K, you have some LUNGS on you. We also know that it’s probably likely this person is pretty strong. I have some lungs on me, but I cannot generate enough force on the rower to allow me to sustain the effort with only my lungs. Strength is a major factor when it comes to being a good rower OR the person might just be really tall. I think it’s safe to assume though that they’re capable of moving load. The only problem with Athlete B is we have no idea if they’re capable of what’s going on between the ears. What I mean by that is if the challenge is to clean and jerk a moderate or even light load, there’s a chance this athlete would do it in a highly inefficient manner. They might perform like a stiff legged deadlift and press. I think it would be worth the risk though, because we know this person has to have some kind of strength capacity.
I would go with Athlete B. We know enough about their ability to handle cardio and can be fairly certain that they’re strong. Ultimately, this is what fitness — or being ready for any physical challenge — comes down to. Are you strong enough to move load, but in shape enough to handle getting out of breath? If you can do those two things you can figure out the rest. Who would you pick?