European Inferno 2014 - Review

Rudds and I have this weekend been absolutely blown away…. why? You guys! 

Last weekend we took 12 teams down to Cardiff to compete in the European Inferno. A two day competition designed for athletes of all levels, CrossFitters, rugby players, footballers, and netball players alike were all invited to get involved. It turned out that mostly crossfit athletes turned up… but who cares!!! It is designed so it is inclusive for all and not featuring any movements that are too technical. It is a the perfect place for those looking to start competing to have a go in a very relaxed and friendly environment. Last year we took 6 or 7 teams but this year the level of interest rose quickly as we told everyone how good it was. As soon as registration opened HG3 took the plunge and got 12 team spots. For some this would be the first time competing and for others it’s a regular thing. However it was sure to be a hell of a weekend. 

We travelled down on the Friday, everyone registered, collected athlete bands and then settled into hotels. Once we met for dinner it was clear to see that some of the guys were a little nervous about what lay ahead of them over the weekend. As much as we tried to calm the nerves and tell them it would be no more than 1000 people watching them at any time…. they were even more nervous!! A good feed and some WOD tactic talk settled everyone down and we all went back for an early night to make sure we were on top form in the morning. 

Rudds and I had chatted over dinner about our expectations for the weekend and what we thought might happen. Little did we know that what we thought, was about to be proved wrong, by being even better than we could have ever imagined. 

Team HG3 rocked up bright and early in full team attire and looked sharp… all the gear and no idea… I think not!! Walking through the door to your first competition and seeing the arena, the crowd and vendors is always a daunting experience. Not for HG3. The guys embraced the environment straight away and were eager to get stuck in. We all sat together and listened to the judges briefing on the first few workouts for the day and then went about getting a good seat to watch the ladies start the day. 

So here we go, the first WOD. Clean complex and thrusters…. good way to start. This is the one workout that I think most were worried about. In the week running up to the Inferno we had all had a chance to practice and decide what weight we would start at.  This was crucial to make sure that everyone went in confident and knowing what they could achieve. The ladies set the event off with a bang!! Nearly every pair hitting a PB and coming away from it in shock of what they just did. Debs hit 47.5, a huge increase on her max clean at 42.5. Lizzie made a 50kg with only having 3 short months of lifting experience. Bexx and Dalby hit a solid 65kg each. You could see as soon as that was over the stress was gone and they were now enjoying the atmosphere. It’s hard not to bring the best out of yourself when nearly 1000 people are shouting at you!! 

Caroline, taking part in her first competition, and also being a late entry to the teams, gave a huge effort and was about to really see what she is capable of. This weekend for her was just about to be the start of another chapter in her training and CrossFit life! After the ladies heats had finished smiles were beaming from the faces and the weekend was well underway. All that worry was now gone! 

The lads stepped up and all eyes were on Knoxy and Josh, the hot tip from HG3 to be in the top portion of the table. The pair had been training like beasts for 3 months to make sure they did the best they could and that they did. Hitting 2 workouts a day and simulating the competition environment meant they went in confident and with all to gain. They had practiced the thrusters before the event and managed 106, on the day they crushed it and got a huge 121. This would set them up nicely for a great weekend. Rudds and I managed to stay in the game, loosely!! Whilst Ben and Tom and Ian and Ant got off to a great start, both hitting PB’s on the clean complex and pushing hard on the thrusters. 

A great start by all involved and now it’s time for a little bit of sprint work. 8 x 150m Run, *150m is 6 x 25m with a Down /Up on each 25m Shuttle. The rounds are alternating with one athlete working at any one time (4 x 150m each) . This cheeky little workout reared its ugly head last year and absolutely smoked people. Yet again it had the same effect. Hamstring and glute heavy, this meant people were waddling rather than walking by the end! Lydia, competing with a sprained ankle, pushed through the pain and the girls finished second in their heat! Tiff and Rudds are, shall we say, not built for running but absolutely crushed the workout and really pushed through. Rudds looked like Daniel Craig…. on the first 25 metres!!! 

We all tried to rest and recover between each WOD, especially the sprint one, with good food, stretching and hydrating but one person in particular kept most of us together. Team Physio Jess Large kept on going all weekend and made sure we were in good shape. Even whilst recovering herself she found time to stretch, poke, prod, tape and cause indescribable pain to many! The whole team seriously appreciated it. It was so good to see everyone taking responsibility for their own recovery and warm ups for each event. It really shows how much you guys all take care of yourself.

Dumbell snatches, wheel barrow walks and buddy carries, not something you will find at the CrossFit games but it sure was fun at the Inferno! Not many had done dumbbell snatches before but you couldn’t tell. Movement patterns were dialled in in during the warm up and the guys are ready to roll.  Tiff and Caroline owned this WOD and showed amazing grit and determination getting through. Caroline in particular really pushed hard and never let the rest of the heat get too far away. The last buddy carry home was strong and fast and they finished in good time. Clare and Louise took it slow and steady through this. Louise showed that form and fitness take a ling time to go away as she had been on holiday for a while. Grit and determination really pulled through. 

Day one was in the bag and it was smiles and some sleepy eyes all round! A good feed and rest were needed. Some of us were lucky enough to sneak in to David Lloyds and hit the pool, sauna steam room and Jacuzzi, cooling down in the outdoor pool and even hitting the couch stretch in the Jacuzzi. Bonus! Great night with the team and some good chat all round set us up nicely for a last push on day two. 

Bright eyed and surprisingly still mobile, we all came down to the arena to get day 2 off to a good start. Josh and Knoxy were sat in 23rd and hoping for a big day to get them into the top 10 for the final. Time for a bit of rowing and running, up step the 6 foot monsters - The Henderson brothers!! Off like a shot Ant pulled a great 1.28 500m row and set off on the run to give Ian a good lead! Ian then pulled a 1.36 500m and they both left the WOD happy as this was right in their wheelhouse. Ben and Tom were in heat 6 for this one and really pushed hard. Tom coming back from illness was a hero all weekend and found another gear in himself and really pushed Ben hard. Team Astronauts was amazing to watch!! 


One more to go and the weekend for many is done and dusted and the long drive home was becoming a bit more real! Deadlifts, down ups and a little run was the finisher for the day before the top 10 cut! 100kg’s for the guys and 60kg’s for the ladies. This was a heavy weight for some of the ladies and some nerves set in. A good chat from Rudds on form over intensity set them all up for a hell of a finish. We really try and dial form in as much we can and it was great to see the guys staying true to this. Taking breaks when needed when they knew form was about to go. From a coaching point of view it was amazing to see. Shaz pushed hard all weekend and let out the ‘Shaz scream’ in he first round, we knew she was pushing hard and continued to push Charlotte all the way through to the end. Strong Mums are a force to be reckoned with and Shaz proved this all weekend. Jane and Teri, being two of our smaller athletes, showed that weight doesn’t matter, form and strength got them through right to the end! Caroline let all her emotions out on this WOD and rightly so. She had been an absolute inspiration all weekend. Coming in last minute and getting involved she really found another level. She was a privilege to watch all weekend with such heart and determination to push herself. 

Knoxy and Josh pushed so hard all weekend but couldn’t quite make the top 10. An amazing first competition for them both as pair saw them finish 33 out of 180 male teams! Amazing to watch on both the weekend and in all the training I saw them do before, alongside their partners in crime Lizzie and Lydia who also put in a huge amount of training for the event. Well done guys. A success all round for all involved and so so many smiling faces coming away from a tough weekend. 


Rudds and I sat back and watched over the weekend with smiles beaming from our faces, sometimes nearly tears (more me than Rudds). The reason being is that we were both so so proud of the way everyone represented themselves and the gym in such an incredible fashion. You are all a product of hard work and determination and you should sit back and be proud of yourselves. Rudds and I can coach all we can but you do the work, you put in the time, the effort and the focus to get the results so you greatly deserve. The whole gym has been part of this weekend and the atmosphere has been incredible to be part of. You all filled the weekend with tears, pain, smiles and laughter and came away from it as stronger people, not just in your training. 

Lets get some rest and hit the training hard once again with continued focus. Next year is going to be another level! 

#strengthisachoice #teamhg3

The teams and final placings.

Bexx and Dalby - 69 

Lizzie and Lydia - 56

Lizzy and Debs - 88

Shaz and Charlotte - 86

Sam and Jess - 79

Tiff and Caroline - 78

Clare and Louise - 87

Jane and Teri - 73

Pete and Rudds - 153

Knoxy and Josh- 33

Ant and Ian - 123

Ben and Tom - 146

The WoDs -

Workout 1

5 Mins to establish a combined Max. Total Clean Complex.

Clean Complex - 1 Clean + 1 Hang Clean (above knee)

60 sec transition into

Workout 2

4 mins Max. Rep Thrusters 40/25kg

Workout 3……….it's BACK with a twist!!

For Time:

8 x 150m Run

*150m is 6 x 25m with a Down /Up on each 25 m Shuttle.

The rounds are alternating with one athlete working at any one time (4 x 150m each)

Workout 4

For Time -


One Arm DB snatches 20/15kg

Partner Wheel Barrow Walk (meters)

Partner Carry (meters)

Workout 5

For Time

Partner 1 must complete a

500 m Row into 600 m indoor run

then tags

Partner 2 who must complete a

500 m row into 600 m indoor run 

Workout 6

For Time

6 Alternating Rounds (3 Each)

10 synchronised Down/Up
50m Plate carry 20/10kg
10 Deadlifts 100/60kg 

Andy Ruddick

Rudds is Co-owner of director of training at CrossFit HG3. He is a Level 2 Olympic Weightlifting Coach, Crossfit Trainer and Personal Trainer. He also runs HG3 Kids programme from their Strength and Conditioning facility in Pannal, Harrogate.