CrossFit Jääkarhu – Austin

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CrossFit Jääkarhu

Austin.  Admittedly, I struggled with how to say the name, and finding the place was a bit tricky. That said, once you walk into the gym, the place so amazing that it makes up for wanting to kill Google Maps and the wild goose chase it sends you on.

This was another situation where I had to reach out to the owner at last minute as boxes closer to my hotel just didn’t have love for The WC. I dropped Mike an email earlier that day with a request to do my remote programming, as the recommendation of my coach Marco. Turns out they had worked some of the Outlaw Way stuff together, and Mike knew how our gym threw down. Again, the reputation of my gym mattered when traveling.  He too, like David at Cedar Park, was complimentary of our coaching and athletes.  He let me have the run of the place and what a place it is…easily one of the best looking boxes I’ve been to in my travels…handily in the top 5 to 10.

All I can say is that these guys did the place right. Probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing boxes I’ve been to. Also, the only one with plexiglass wall ball targets suspended from the ceiling. That was a sweet touch.  They did something similar for the pull up bars and it opened up the floor space quite a bit.  They used squat racks to handle any of the squat/bench work they would program…and just move those in an out of their dance space as needed.

This is one of the few indoor facilities that had plenty of open space, a huge turf area, Oly area, and high end fixtures and equipment. They definitely seemed to spare no expense. The other thing that was impressive is that it was well taken care of and clean…which some places tend to overlook.  CFJ even had their wall balls piled up right.  That attention to detail lets you know you’re in a place where folks put their heart and soul into everything…even the little things.

As for the workout:  I was on a Pendlay bar, with competition weights, in a matter of minutes.  The sheer volume of weights was incredible –  Three stacks, that I can recall.  Each individual stack had the same amount of weights that most gyms have for their entire box. They had plenty of platforms, and I enjoyed the extra boost they gave when I was hammering through some “snatch pulls to power snatch” work at the end.  Since I’ve been on a bit of a soft weight cut, I’ve struggled to master how the cut impacts the amount of weight I can pull.  It was nice to get back up near my PR levels for once.  

Throughout the evening, I bounced around from rower, to Airdyne, to handstand work, to my WOD, to the Snatch work afterwards without getting in anyone’s way. They even ran a 7:30 to 8:30pm class for the late nighters…which was the first time I’ve seen someone run a class that late.

As a former Outlaw guy, I can only surmise that Mike’s programming is legit.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see it on a board anywhere. What I did see from the L1 and L2 classes was solid form, lots of movement, and good technique on the more technical moves. The coaches took those lifts seriously and explained each portion thoroughly to ensure proper execution by the class.  This explanation time wasn’t just a cursory, “what to do” session…but a real, legitimate breakdown of the move and techniques to make the lift more successful during each repeated rep, not just the first. 

Just like Cedar Park, I really enjoyed this place and would definitely go back anytime I’m in town.  I drove 45 minutes to get there, bought a pack of SFH Recovery…and got in a great workout.  I’d certainly do the 45 minute drive again, and might even stay closer to that part of town during my next trip to cut down the commute time. Highly recommended by the WC!

Right when you walk into the box…Plexiglass to the top left and Platforms past turf
Looking to the left, Rowers and tons more space…
Thankfully no sled drags for the WC
More weights than your box...
More weights than your box…
Deadlifts and Box Jump AMRAP for the WC
Front view at Night…

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