Leading the World with Jamie Greene

After 16.1, Jamie Greene's coach Andy Edwards (owner of Dragon CrossFit in Cardiff, UK) received a text from Greene's boyfriend:

"You have created a cyborg," it said. 

Greene's score of 347 reps certainly suggested she might be part machine. At the end of 16.1, her score was the third best score in the world. While incredibly impressive, what's even more impressive is that she has maintained top scores in 16.2 and 16.3 and currently leads the entire world. 

While the name Jamie Greene—a 5'3" former rugby player and elite gymnast from New Zealand—might be a bit foreign to the CrossFit community, she is not exactly an overnight sensation. 

The 24-year-old, who currently lives and coaches at CrossFit Yas in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has slowly been honing her skills since she was 21, and has competed at two Regionals competitions. She was 21st as an individual at the Australian Regional in 2014 and was second with her team at last year’s Meridian Regional—a team who was later disqualified because one of the team’s member moved to Abu Dahbi after the January 1st cut-off.

Unlike many high-level CrossFit athletes, Greene insists the Open doesn't stress her out.

I caught up with Greene and her coach Edwards this week to learn about Jamie's no stress attitude and being labelled NewZealand's answer to Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.

Jamie Greene

Emily Beers (EB): Are you surprised to see yourself at the top of the worldwide leaderboard, ahead of the likes of Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Sam Briggs?

Jamie Greene (JG): First in the world…No, definitely didn’t think I’d be in that spot. Pretty crazy!

EB: What has contributed to your obviously huge gains from last year to this year?

JG: The last year I have pretty much focused on strength and strength only. And also (I) changed my nutrition. I started eating a lot more good food as Buff Box put me onto a strength meal plan, which supplemented my strength programming. I took focus off conditioning and gymnastics, keeping them minimal but maintainable, and in the end increased my lifts and squats.

 EB: What were your strength numbers like last year compared to this year?

 JG: In the clean and jerk, last year I got 185 lb. Now I can clean and jerk 225 lb. My snatch has gone from about 145 lb. to 175 lb. and my squat numbers have increased a lot. Can’t remember (how much) though.

Greene's strength gains were put to the test in 16.2, and she delivered with the 11th best performance in the world and a time of 17:47.

EB: What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an athlete?

JG: My strength as an athlete probably is that I don’t get too stressed over things. So there’s never a lot of pressure. Weaknesses most probably avoiding things I don’t like to do, or am not good at, which is not good at all in CrossFit, as it will show up big time. So this year, I’ve been listening to those around me and trusting them on what I need to work on. 

EB: What are your goals this year? I read on the Games website you’re going team again?

JG: My goal this year is to get to the Games as a team. Then begin training a bit differently for individual (competition) and start competing in some bigger competitions more often. I want to do individual next year. Looks heaps of fun and I want to give it a go. 

 EB: Does the Open stress you out?

JG: No. It doesn’t stress me as we have zero pressure. We (will) comfortably qualify (to Regionals) as a team, so there’s no pressure. I feel maybe a bit more pressure now that I and at the top, but I’m not too stressed if I drop down hugely, as long as I give each workout all I have got.

EB: What movements would you love to see, and which ones would you not want to see come up?

JG: (A great workout would be) Handstand push-ups. Strict handstand push-ups and box jumps in 10 minutes. A nightmare workout (for me) is just rowing.

 EB: How about a 5 km row?

 JG: That would be absolutely awful.

 Andy Edwards

EB: What is your coaching relationship like with Jamie? I'm assuming you coach her virtually, as you live in the UK and she in Abu Dahbi?

AE: I’m not (totally) sold on the online coaching thing. With coaching, you need to be hands-on in order to directly effect change. She has that with Elliot Simmonds (her boyfriend, who also coaches her). I'd consider myself more of a programmer (than a coach). I have programmed for Jamie virtually for about 18 months. It started as I used to train with and coach Elliot when he lived in the UK. When he moved to Abu Dahbi and they met, he asked me to program for Team Yas for the 2015 season, and after (that) I continued to program for Jamie. I basically give her the blueprint to follow based on what we have targeted as areas (needing more) work and (based on) her goals. I (send her) a weekly schedule and she reports back and adjusts if needed. Jamie can handle a lot of volume! 

EB: What's she like to work with?

AE: She is a model athlete (to work with). Humble, yet confident in her ability. She's a typical kiwi: Laid back, but works hard. It's fairly easy for me.

Easy for Edwards to coach, and even easier to cheer for!

EB: What has contributed most to her huge gains this year?

EA: The improvements have come from an accumulation of hard work, and a great team and environment. I think the disappointment of Team Yas being disqualified (last year) made her hungry. That desire fuels good training. I would liken CrossFit Yas to CrossFit Mayhem, or Invictus. When you’ve got a bunch of firebreathers training hard together and bouncing off one another, big things happen. (And) from a programming perspective, it has been absolute strength that has been the focus. Jamie is New Zealand's answer to Camille Leblanc-Bazinet—a pocket rocket. Jamie has had to work hard (on her strength) in order to compete with the bigger ladies. Her gymnastics is what will set her apart, (and her) strength is (now) competitive, but her stature will always mean she has to work hard to keep those (strength) gains. She needs to take confidence in these early performances and believe she can go shoulder-to-shoulder with Briggs, CLB and the Icelandic Queens. 

 

 

 

 

 

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