Elite Athletes Who Do CrossFit

One of the most common myths about CrossFit is that no elite athletes use it. That’s completely false.

Here are some top athletes who do CrossFit. It’s not a full list. There are 10,000 CrossFit gyms, and we can’t possibly know every elite athlete who trains at them, or who does CrossFit on their own. Also, these athletes use CrossFit as part of their training – it doesn’t replace their specific training. No strength and conditioning program could.


Christie Rampone image via FRS, her sponsor.

Christie Rampone: captain of the gold-medal winning 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team.

Robert Oberst at the 2013 World's Strongest Man competition.

Robert Oberst at the 2014 World’s Strongest Man competition.

Robert Oberst:  strongman competitor. 9th place at the 2013 World’s Strongest Man, 2nd place at the 2013 America’s Strongest Man. American record holder in the log press.

Danica Patrick: according to Wikipedia, “the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing—her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only women’s victory in an IndyCar Series race and her third place in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 the highest finish ever there by a woman.”

Brady Aiken: started CrossFit at age 10 at CrossFit East County. At 17 he became the top pick in the MLB draft and signed to the Houston Astros as a pitcher.

Robert Guerrero recently beat Yoshiro Kamegai by decision after adding CrossFit as his strength and conditioning program.

Robert Guerrero recently beat Yoshiro Kamegai by decision after adding CrossFit as his strength and conditioning program.

Robert Guerrero: boxer. 32-2.

Erin Cafaro: two-time Olympic gold medalist in rowing.

The entire New Orleans Saints team revamped their off-season strength and conditioning program after head coach Sean Payton discovered CrossFit.

Bismack Biyombo, center, Charlotte Hornets. He also did every workout in the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.

Tim Kennedy (R) trains at Trauma CrossFit and represents the affiliate on his shorts at each UFC fight.

Tim Kennedy (R) trains at Trauma CrossFit and represents the affiliate on his shorts at each UFC fight.

Tim Kennedy: UFC fighter and US Army Special Forces combat veteran. 22-4 MMA record. Trains at Trauma CrossFit.

Dean Karnazes: ultramarathon runner. Once ran 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes.

Ilya Ilyin: two-time Olympic gold medalist in weightlifting. Holds the world record in the clean and jerk and total for the 94-kilogram weight class.

As more athletes train CrossFit seriously, at a younger age, it will be fascinating to see how fit it is possible to be while achieving elite specific performance. If Lauren Fisher and Brady Aiken are any indication, the future is bright for CrossFit as GPP.


  1. Pingback: Elite Athletes Who Do CrossFit » North East CrossFit

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  3. Brad Jones

    Can you provide evidence for some of these? From Dean Karnazes’ website: “Since early 2010, Dean has been cross-training…………………. on the ElliptiGO, the world’s first outdoor elliptical bicycle.” Is that Crossfit?

  4. Robert McClenney

    Vere is proof for Ilya, one of the best goddamn weightlifters of are generation doing CF?

    Pretty sure doing one WOD doesn’t really count or you could claim Kendrick Ferris CrossFitt’n.

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  6. Justin

    It’s interesting to note that while Robert Guerrero (32-2) did indeed use CrossFit to prepare for his latest bout (that he won), he was 31-2 before it. So did CF help him win? Who knows. But he was certainly doing ok before it. Not making any judgements just an observation. By posting records of pro athletes who have used CF for a limited time, it can give a false impression of its value.

  7. JC

    i often try to explain to friends who aren’t familiar with crossfit the difference between the brand and the fitness protocol, similar to what is being highlighted and discussed with the ESPN OTL article from last Sunday morning. i assume that is also a major emphasis of this blog (but correct me if i’m wrong there).

    one of the things i often tell people is that, “you can’t DO crossfit.” you can do CVFM at HI which has been popularized by crossfit, inc., and you can do that at home, in the park, at a CF affiliate, or a globo gym but none of those things are necessarily crossfit since crossfit is a brand and not a sport.

    but then when i see an article like this that highlights professional athletes in sports other than fitness who “do crossfit”, it sounds contrary to what i try and communicate with people and what the recent post responding to the OTL video is trying to clear up.

    question for the russells, am i explaining things wrong to my friends? or is the title of this article in a bit of conflict with the message that crossfit isn’t a sport, it’s a brand? or can it accurately be stated that someone, “does crossfit” by doing CVFM at HI at either a licensed affiliate or an event licensed by CFHQ even though CF isn’t a sport?

    thanks for the insight. any suggestions on boilerplate language or analogies you have for these types of nuances to share with others would be helpful too.

  8. Pingback: Elite Athletes Who Do CrossFit | THE RUSSELLS - CrossFit Fire of the Gods

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  10. Troy

    Yea, talk about junk science…Brady Aiken didn’t sign with the Astros and improved GPP doesn’t make you throw a baseball harder….but only throwing 1 inning compared to 5+ might

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