A "RAW" Experience

Single arm snatch (due to a broken scapula) at 70kg was what Rob Downton (founder of “Raw Strength and Conditioning”) was doing when I first met him in December 2011 during my week of training at CrossFit Gold Coast. His out of control ginger beard actually seemed to suit the man in a caveman style.

It wasn’t till later on that I realised the stature of this man. 1st in Australia in the CrossFit games Open of 2011 and 9th in the world! A nice accolade that topped his extensive list of CrossFit achievements more of which can be found at

“Red Bull” as he is known to his friends   clearly had an approach that worked having delivered so many great results and achievements.


Upon subscribing to the Raw program the message that transpired through Robs training programs was that if you want to be good at CrossFit then one of the key ingredients is strength. Yes the gymnastics movements are specialized and yes you need gas in the tank but the underlying success factor is strength and lots of it. The Raw program delivers 5 days of training which is split 2 days on 1 day off 3 days on 1 day off sequence. There are some double days, some single days that feel like double days and a lot of creativity in the programs that give you the feeling that you are covering all bases and a bit more…….but of course in CrossFit style there are probably still some things missing…… but not many thats for sure.
On Saturday I paid Rob a visit at the new home of Raw Strength and Conditioning on the Gold Coast for a session. Set a few kilometers back from the Ocean there is plenty of space for just about anything you would want to do fitness related. The huge bonus of being on more rural land is that nothing is flat so the 800m run prescribed on the program was a nice undulating 800m with a 10% gradient just to get from the gym to the main road up a nicely rain washed drive.
The session kicked off with a Tabata row and on completion came the 800m run with everything you have got. Quite a nice sensation in the legs when the track went uphill!!! Of course starting and finishing at the same point means that for all the up there is an equal amount of downward gradient which always delivers some solace.
After a ten minute rest the medicine was 5 squat snatch into 5 toes to bar on the minute for 6 minutes. As is often the case when you do a metcon or interval set that you haven’t done before you have no idea of how testing its going to be. It plays into the Iron-man saying that “often your first is the best as you have no idea what the pain feels like” 
To finish the session off….. enter the “Prowler” (below)
The picture maybe doesn’t do the rain fall of 200ml the previous night justice!!! The pond I managed to find between the start and the tyre 20 meters away confirmed the summer monsoons of Queensland however!! The prescription was 90 seconds on then 90 seconds rest, drop 50% of the weight and go at it for another 45 seconds. Jess who I was training with was keen to go first and get her work for the morning out of the way!!! “The total burn” that she described when it was all over provided much comfort!!! A little damp with quads on fire would be the best way to describe the feelings at the end of the session!!!
If you are unsure what is going to make the difference to your training for CrossFit or for life in general then the Raw program is something that is well worth a test drive. Rob’s programming worked for him in 2011 and has a solid foundation and scientific approach that could possibly give you the tools you need to be your best!!!

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