Kate Hilliard – The Under Armour Turf Games
Kate Hilliard is 98’s first and only sponsored athlete. Alongside being a multiple World Record holder, Kate personifies all the character qualities we value here at 98. We are proud to have her fly the 98 flag! Last month she headed to the UK to represent Australia and 98 at the Under Armour Turf Games. Below is a diary of her experience including her favourite workouts and the team attacked them.
‘On June 14th and 15th I was privileged enough to have participated in the 2019 Under Armour Turf Games Summer Festival in London as part of the Australian team beside and against some incredibly fit individuals. The workouts were tough and showcased both individual strength and fitness whilst favouring teams who could collaborate and communicate most effectively.
The Turf Games presents itself as an truly competitive team based fitness event around with teams entering from around the globe. While fitness, athleticism and competition are at the heart of the Turf Games, the festival is a celebration of the community and fun that fitness can create. In February I was approached by the team captain Ben Seymour to see if I’d be interested in being a part of the Australian team alongside himself, Khan Porter, Haydn Wolfsbauer and Aleesha Brown. With 98 GYM and Bodyscience’s backing I was lucky enough to be able to say yes.
Arriving in London a week before the games gave the team a chance to train together, work on strategy (particularly burpee technique and row relay changeovers) and learning how we would function as a team. Being in London there were a number of gyms that we were lucky enough to be able to train at, most prominently GYMNASIUM and WIT Fitness. These sessions themselves were a huge highlight of the trip, having drop in training sessions with athletes Samantha Briggs and Zack George.
In the week leading up to Turf Games the Ashes of Fitness was held – an incredibly fun Wednesday night at WIT Fitness where we faced off with an English super team. The event had nasty three events. Going into the final it was one all – workout three would be the decider. Team Australia held the lead until the last 30 seconds where a few missed wall balls and performance anxiety took over, but as Khan said later on, it was the best time for that to happen before Turf Games, so we could make plans to minimise that kind of pressure over the weekend.
WORKOUT 1 – “Lava Island”
Buy in – 15m worm walking lunges (130kgs, all 5 team members)
- 2 athletes complete 20 calorie assault airbike, the other three athletes hold the worm off the floor
- once complete the five team members complete 15 worm thrusters
- 10 synchro burpees over worm (must face worm)
Buy out – 15m worm walking lunge (all 5 team members)
WORKOUT 2 – “By My Side”
10 minute AMRAP
Station 1: 1 pair to complete
- 15 syncho American kettlebell swings (32/20kgs)
- 10 kettlebell goblet box step over (32/20kgs, 24/20”)
- 5 rope climbs (1 team member climbs at a time, split however the pair likes)
Station 2: 1 Pair to complete
- 10 synchro dumbbell alternating snatch (22.5/15kgs)
- 15 synchro dual dumbbell shoulder to overhead (2x 22.5/15kgs)
- 20 synchro box jump over (24/20”)
Station 3: fifth team member to complete max calorie Concept2 SkiErg
Teams could rotate through stations as they wish, as long as it was synchro.
WORKOUT 3 – “Chain Gang”
3 rounds (so 1 team member needs to go through it twice)
12/10 calorie Conceopt2 row
synchro barbell (60/40kgs) complex of
- 10 deadlifts
- 8 hang cleans
- 6 shoulder to overheads
into 20 synchro wall balls (14/20#)
into 15 deadball over shoulder (60/40kgs)
The TURF GAMES
Friday Night Lights at Rosslyn Park Rugby club – we kicked off at 5pm and the energy around the field was contagious. This was one of the last workouts to be released, although leading into the night all athletes were certain it would be the longest and most aerobically demanding event. They were not wrong.
WORKOUT 1 – “Start Your Engine”
30 minute time cap
as a team, for time
75 burpee to plate
1200 metre run
2000m row (at least three athletes must be back from the run before the row can start)
1500m ski (at least three athletes must be back from the run before the ski can start)
75 burpees to plate (ALL athletes must be back before the burpees can start)
time: 23.20 (team Australia won the mixed category and also beat all the all-male teams times)
we were really happy with this event, not only to have come away with an event win but the teamwork and communication was clear and it was obvious that all team members had worked as hard as they could. Our strategy initially was to make sure the boys had rest before the run – we were very honest and both Aleesha and I knew running was not our strength. So we planned to have the girls finish the burpees and the row to ensure the boys could have a faster run. The only run where we wanted to have it the other way around was the last 400m because we all had to be back before the burpees could start, so if Aleesha and I could rest before that run we thought it would be quicker. But everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face, I ended up sprinting the last 200m of the ski before the run. But as is the nature of competition, you just get it done and I think I ran the fastest 400m of my life.
Saturday was the biggest day of competition. These workouts were all quite short but intensity was high with little room for error.
WORKOUT 1 – “Deadball Accumulator”
8 minute AMRAP
- On go a set of farmers handles loaded with 40kgs each must be lifted and remain off the floor for the duration of the workout
- The team waited behind the start line and had 40/60kg, 50/80kg and 60/100kg deadball laid out in front of them at 2 metre intervals lightest to heaviest.
- On go one athlete at a time individually attempted to lift the deadballs in ascending weight order for the required reps to accumulate points. Female 40/50/60, male 60/80/100
- Each deadball must be lifted to shoulder in order and a specific number of times to collect points as follows
- 60/40kgs – 3 lifts – 2 points
- 80/50kgs – 2 lifts – 4 points
- 100/60kgs – 1 lift – 6 points
- deadballs must be lifted in this order, athletes were not allowed to go straight to the heaviest deadball
- if an athlete failed a lift they had to return to the start line and tag in a teammate who would start the ladder again.
- Eg. If an athlete did 3 reps of the 60/40kg deadball, completed one lift of the 80/50kg but failed the second lift they received no points for that weight and had to tag a team member in, the points from that attempt was 2 for completing the 60/40kg. All reps for a weight must be completed to gain points for that weight.
- For a rep to count the deadball must be lifted to the top of the shoulder and the athlete had to remove their opposite hand out to parallel to show stability and control in that positon.
Our strategy with this workout was to have Aleesha and I take on more of the deadball work whilst the boys looked after the farmers handles. This was because both Aleesha and I do a lot of training with deadballs and we were accustomed to using heavier balls than the ones presented to us. Additionally the disparity between the male/female weights was quite high. So we ended up rotating Aleesha, myself, then any of the boys that had had a longer rest from both the deadballs and the farmers holds. This strategy worked and there were no missed reps due to fatigue, however again performance anxiety affected one of our members so a few missed reps from miscount or mishandling proved costly.
TEAM AUSTRALIA: 2nd place
WORKOUT 2 – “Worms and Ladders”
8 minute AMRAP
- On go all athletes performed 3 synchro burpees over the worm followed by 4 athletes completing by 2 worm cleans and 2 worm thrusters (worm weight 130kgs)
- They then had to complete 4 worm cleans followed by 4 worm thrusters. Reps for cleans and thrusters increased by 2 as the team progressed up the ladder for duration of the workout (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12…)
- Every 3 minutes the team (all 5 members) had to stop and perform 3 synchro burpees over worm (including minute 0)
- The team could sub in and out whenever they liked, but the worm had to be on the floor to do this (so all our subbing happened after the burpees)
- cleans were from the floor for each rep. Teams would perform one clean to their right shoulder, drop the worm to the floor, step over the worm and perform one rep to their left. Reps had to continue to be alternated.
- Teams could go straight into the thrusters following the last rep of the preceding cleans. All 4 athletes had to perform a full depth squat, then stand to full hip extension passing the worm to the opposite shoulder. Full extension of the arms was not required at the tip of the thruster.
- Synchro for burpees means that all athletes chest and hips were on the floor at the same time and used a two footed jump over the worm.
Our plan for this workout was mainly to keep Aleesha out of it as much as was possible as she was suffering a shoulder injury that limited her overhead movement. This worked mildlh well but she still had to jump in when some teammates would fatigue. This workout showcased our communication and willingness to stay in and hurt with each other.
Team Australia: 1st place
WORKOUT 3 – “GYMBOX”
AMRAP of three 5 minute workouts with 3 minute break between
GYMBOX Set 1 – pick your poison
There were 3 stations. Athletes were not able to leave their chosen station for the whole 5 minutes.
Station A) 2 athletes assemble a barbell with whatever weight they chose, weight is on and clipped in place before the start and cannot be changed.
Station B) 2 athletes assemble a barbell with whatever weight they chose, weight is on and clipped in place before the start and cannot be changed.
Station C) 1 athlete had an empty half trap bar on a rubber platform 10m away from another rubber platform with 8x 25kg bumper plates
Station A + B) Athletes performed an ascending ladder of front squats, with the first rep being cleaned from the floor (a squat clean counted as the first rep). Athlete 1 performed odd reps, athlete 2 performed even reps.
Score: the last completed round x barbell weight
Station C) Athlete had to pick up the trap bar and run to the other platform where they would load up as much weight as they wanted, then transfer back to the platform they started on and unload. All 8 plates had to be moved to one side before they could be taken back. Points were awarded for every plate unloaded.
SCORE: (A + B) x C
THE BREAK: every rep in an incomplete round for stations A + B were given as 0.01 points. Eg. 11 rounds and 6 reps of 12 were given as 11.06 x barbell weight
STANDARD: front squat – bar had to be held in front rack with both hands on the bar. Athlete would perform a full depth squat (hip crease below knee) then stand up fully with open hips.
FRONT SQUAT LADDER: Athlete 1 performed 1 front squat, cleaned from the floor then drop the bar. Athlete 2 cleaned their first rep then performed their second rep as a traditional front squat, then drop the bar. Athlete 1 would clean their first rep, then perform 2 traditional front squats, and so on. Each time an athlete completed the full amount of reps was a complete “round”. SCORE: last completed round x weight
TEAM AUSTRALIA: 1st place
This workout took a little bit to wrap our head around, in that it was far more beneficial for us points-wise to use very light weight but move through the reps quicker. Aleesha and I shared a bar of only 40kgs, Khan and Haydn using 70kgs. Benny was a man on a mission flying through the trap bar carries.
GYMBOX Set 2 – the snatch grind (5 minutes)
There were four stations. Athletes were able to move through A and B as they pleased, then later on the same with C and D.
Station A) Athletes started by a pair of standard weight dumbbells (22.5/15kgs)
Station B) Athletes started by a SkiErg set to 60 calories
Station C) a single heavy dumbbell (30/20kg)
Station D) a pull up bar with two weighted belts (12/8kgs). Once set at the start of the workout these weights could not be changed.
ON GO, BUY IN
Station A) two athletes performed 50 synchro dumbbell hang snatches, meeting at the top of the movement. The snatches must be taken from the hang (below the hips and above the floor) with no requirement to alternate. Athletes could be swapped out throught these 50 as the team decides (Aleesha and I completed all 50)
Station B) remaining athletes complete 60 calories on the SkiErg. Once the 60 calories are complete the Ski continued for the remainder of the 5 minutes (see scoring below). Athletes could rotate through this as desired.
Once both stations A and B were completed stations C and D were unlocked, with the SkiErg continuing.
Station C) Athletes would perform an AMRAP of heavy dumbbell snatches. The snatches had to be taken from the hang with no requirement to alternate arms between reps. Only one dumbbell was to be working at a time.
1 rep = 1 point
Station D) Athletes had to perform an AMRAP of strict weighted pull ups. There was no limit to the number of pull ups a single athlete could do. Each pull up had to start from a dead hang with a pronated grip and to complete the rep the athlete’s chin had to get completely over the bar.
Score: (Station C + Station D) x Ski Calories (not including the 60 calorie buy in)
Team Australia: 2nd place
This workout knocked us around a bit, with dumbbell snatches being a movement that we were all competent with but apart from Khan never spent a huge amount of time on, and it showed. There was another Team (Team BlackBox) that moved through this so much smoother. Our ski calories were the same but their snatch numbers demolished ours.
GYMBOX Set 3 – sprint to climb
There were two lanes with the boxes set to one male and one female height (meaning every round had to be a mixed gender pair). Each lane had an assault bike and a plyo box (24/20”).
At the end of the lanes there was a 12” rope and a pair of kettlebells (24/16kgs).
Two athletes mounted the bikes and completed 10/7 calories. Both bikes needed to be complete before either athlete could move on. Both athletes then had to complete 5 burpee box facing jump overs. Once both athletes were finished they had one rope between them to complete 3 rope climbs. Contact with the rope was not permitted until one athlete had both kettlebells in an overhead hold.
After performing three climbs the pair had to sprint back and tag the next pair in.
Score: total number sections completed (Eg. Assault bike calories complete = 1 point)
Team Australia: 2nd place
This workout was so fun but hurt our legs much more than expected making the burpee box jumps slower than anticipated. We worked out that the boys were faster up the rope so Aleesha and I would hold the kettlebells every rounds so whichever boy we were partnered with could fly through the rope climbs.
WORKOUT 4 – “Hand Off”
This workout had two parts. Part A ran from 0-6 minutes. Minute 6-7 was a forced rest. Part B ran from minutes 7-21.
PART A) each team had one Concept2 BikeErg and one multigrip bar loaded with 60/35kgs. It was the team’s responsibility to change the weight from male to female of vice versa during the workout at their discretion.
Indian file each team member would complete 1 minute on the BikeErg for max calories followed immediately by 1 minute max reps ground to overhead on the multigrip bar.
- Athletes were able to stop before their minute was complete however they were not able to start the ground to overhead until their minute started (Eg. An athlete couldn’t do 30 seconds on the BikeErg and 90 seconds on the bar)
- The ground to overhead reps started with the bar on the floor before being taken to an overhead position with knees, hips and arms fully extended and head through for the reps to count.
- Throughout this part of the workout the clock never stopped so transitions were important
Score: BikeErg calories x ground to overhead reps
This workout we did really well in, although it was the one we anticipated we would struggle the most with. After our team’s 5 minutes on the BikeErg we collected 150 calories and 64 ground to shoulder repetitions. The ground to shoulders proved really challenging because of the style of bar it was much harder to clean and impossible to snatch without taking out a tooth.
PART B) all athletes had to start behind the start line. There we lines marked out at 5, 22 and 40 metres. There was a 25kg and 15kg sandbag and a tractor tyre behind the start line.
- On the 7 minute mark athlete 1 would pick up their gender appropriate weight sandbag and run shuttles between the start line and the 5, 22, and 40m lines. The athletes foot had to touch every line for the shuttle to count. Once athlete 1 is done they dropped the sandbag and moved to the tyre. Athlete 2 could then start their shuttles.
- This would continue Indian file until there were three athletes at the tractor tyre. The three athletes had to clean the tractor tyre from the floor and begin accumulating as many shoulder to overheads as they could in the remaining time. All athletes had to press the tyre from the front rack position to a full lockout overhead.
- When a team member had to sub out because of fatigue the tyre had to be put on the floor. The team member subbing out had to complete another full set of shuttle runs before returning to the tyre
- There was only ever to be three athletes on the tyre at a time
Score: total tyre shoulder to overhead reps
Team Australia: 1st place
Again this workout ended up being one of our better ones as it proved to be one that tested how much we were willing to hurt being very simple, grunt work. We had the boys run through first so they could begin the overhead reps then the girls follow. Again, we tried to help Aleesha limit her time on the tyre because of her shoulder injury. Having a team of all similar heights was very advantageous as there was no dispute of when our team reached their full lockout, an issue with ended up affecting teams more than we anticipated.
WINNER TAKES ALL
Working down the field in Indian file the team had to individually complete
- 500m Concet2 BikeErg
- Barbell complex of 10 deadlifts, 8 front squats and 6 shoulder to overheads (60/35kgs)
- 10 burpee box jump overs (24/20”)
the bike, the barbell and the box were set up at 25m intervals down the field. As soon as an athlete moved onto the following station the next athlete could begin.
- Once the first athlete had completed their box jumps they would begin a 1500m Concet2 Ski, another 25m down the field. As the following athletes completed their burpee box jump overs they could help complete the ski.
- When the team had completed the ski 4 athletes would pick up the worm (130kgs) next to the ski and synchro lunge walk to the 50m line.
- The fifth athlete had to pick up two farmers handles loaded with 40kgs each and walk alongside the worm. The farmers carry was not to move faster than the worm.
- Teams could rotate between the worm and the farmers carry but the worm had to be placed on the floor to do this and the handles were not to touch the floor.
- As soon as the team reached the 50m mark the handles and worm were to be put down
- Four team members then had to pick up the worm and walk it another 50m down the field. The fifth athlete would then begin flipping the PIG FLIP. The worm was not to move faster than the Pig Flip. Again, the teams could rotate between athletes but the worm had to be placed in the floor to do this.
- Once the worm and the Pig Flip got to the end both could be put down and a 1000m row relay would begin.
- Every 200m completed one team member had to leave the rower and run across the finish line.
Team Australia: 2nd place
This final was pretty devastating for us to lose, given our fairly dominant performance over the weekend. We held a fairly solid lead until the row where we made one too many transitions which cost us valuable seconds.
We began this workout by putting all three boys first – Khan, Haydn, then Benny. I followed with Aleesha bringing up the rear. We did this because we figured that having three strong boys reach the ski first would help us get through it faster. Once I got to the ski we had just under 400m to go and we were rotating through 20 strokes at a time. I got the sprint finish then straight onto the worm. Khan kept up his role as strategy captain leading the worm, then Aleesha, myself and Haydn at the back with Benny marching through the farmers walks.
At the halfway mark we subbed Khan onto the Pig and Benny to the front of the worm. We were lucky that Khan had used with a Pig flip before so had a good idea of how to handle it. After the worm lunges my legs were totally blown, so Khan’s effort on the Pig was incredible.
Straight onto the row was Haydn – we though that his legs would be fresher than Khan’s or Benny’s and we wanted to get a fast start. We initially planned to have each of the boys complete 300m each and I pick up the slack wherever it was, although it didn’t end up quite that long. Khan was the last on the row, with his splits running under 1.17/500m (at the end of a weekend of competition!) then having to jump up off the rower and running to the line. The finish was absolutely spectacular – Team Blackbox (an Irish CrossFit team) crossed the line with less than 6 inches to spare.
Turf Games (and the Ashes of Fitness) was such a fun, professionally executed event. The workouts were well programmed (lead by Head Programmer Lee Phillips) and the event itself brought to life by Andy Manteit. With over 1000 athletes across several categories and 2000 paying spectators, the events ran to time, with no equipment shortages or breaks. It was so fun to test ourselves against some very fit international teams and it lit the fire to wat to continue competing. Turf Games visits Sydney in November and the team is psyched to have another run.’