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CrossFit adds new class

Class focuses on gymnastic skills

By Holly Gaskill

The Kesler Student Activities Center (KSAC) has expanded its CrossFit classes by adding CrossFit gymnastics.

Senior Jake Smarrella leads the Friday CrossFit class at 7 p.m.

Senior Jake Smarrella leads the Friday CrossFit class at 7 p.m.

Junior Daniel Black, who is a certified level one CrossFit trainer, teaches the class on Fridays at 8 p.m. Instead of flips and tumbling, Black focuses on the gymnastics skills of CrossFit. This includes pull-ups, handstand walks and bar movement, among other skills.

Black, who also works with regular CrossFit classes, began the class because he saw a need in the athletes for specific strength training. After the first three weeks of CrossFit gymnastics, Black has seen athletes improve in their respective areas.

“There has been not a ton of time to develop strength in itself, but there is time and repetition within those three weeks to see neuro-recruitment patterns kind of connect and they get used to the movements and they start adapting to what was not super normal to them,” Black said. “Now that they have the tools to really figure out and how to use those skills, they’ll be able to practice that and gain strength at a higher capacity over time.”

The class costs $50 for a half semester of CrossFit and meets in the KSAC. Although the fees cover half a semester, many athletes will turnover into the next session and continue training. In its first three weeks, the class has hosted eight to 15 athletes.

In addition to getting stronger physically, Black sees CrossFit gymnastics as a way for athletes to train disciplines outside of the gym as well.

“The one thing that I hope is that they can walk out of the gym more confident, not only in their athletic ability but in their ability to do anything that they want to, so they are believing in themselves a little more every day,” Black said. “I think that translates from pull-ups, yes, but also just as a life skill . . . If you’re able to really stick with something, it has a long benefit outside of just CrossFit.”

Sophomore Makenna Kregel is also a trainer for the CrossFit classes. According to Kregel, the gymnastics class fine tunes building blocks of CrossFit, which there often is not time for in the regular class.

Kregel, who was a participant before helping with the class, said she is learning how much planning and thought goes into each class.

I am constantly being challenged to find new ways to teach movements to our athletes,” Kregel said. “Each athlete is different and will respond differently to cues and instructions. This keeps me on my feet and forces me to be creative.”

In addition to the growth trainers and athletes experience, Kregel also said she loved the low pressure environment of CrossFit. With athletes at all different levels, everyone is trying to improve rather than compete, Kregel said.

Kregel and Black encourage students to jump in and try CrossFit and CrossFit gymnastics, regardless of skill level.

“People shouldn’t be afraid to try it,” Black said. “It’s a broad, general, inclusive fitness. And whatever ability you’re at, come on in.”

The next session will start after spring break. To sign up, contact Black at or visit the front desk of the KSAC.

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