For most CrossFit athletes, the off-season is a time to catch up on much-needed rest and to work on any deficiencies or weaknesses that popped up during the season. It’s rare to see a veteran set new personal records (PRs) during this time, especially on a barbell lift. But that’s not true for Kelly Shirley. The 31-year-old didn’t just record a new PR during this off-season — she hit two in one week.
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For Shirley, these two PRs come at a critical point in her off-season as she chases her goal of competing at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games as an individual for the first time. And weeks like this might just get her there.
Kelly Shirley’s Performance
These PRs occurred during the week of December 18-24, just before taking time off from training for the holidays and her honeymoon. Her first PR took place on Tuesday, December 20, at her gym, CrossFit Greater Heights, when she hit a 245-pound clean & jerk. What made the lift even more impressive is that she recorded it after just flying into her home in Houston, Texas, from the east coast.
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A day later, Shirley set another PR in the push press. Going off the rack, she successfully locked out 205 pounds overhead. For good measure, she finished her lifting session by doing sets of three front squats at 235 pounds.
When BarBend reached out to Shirley, she said her previous bests in those two lifts were 240 pounds on the clean & jerk and 195 pounds on the push press back in March 2022.
Who is Kelly Shirley?
Kelly Shirley — formerly Kelly Baker before getting married in November 2022 — is a veteran in the CrossFit space and a three-time Games qualifier as a team athlete. This past season, Shirley made her second career Games appearance as a member of her affiliate’s team, CrossFit Greater Heights Ascend, after they finished fourth at the Granite Games Semifinal.
At the 2022 Games, her team — including Emmie Tanner, Jordan Cook, and Duncan Mulleady — placed 18th overall. They ended up with three top-10 finishes, including fourth place in the “Rinse ‘N’ Repeat” workout.
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She also had her best CrossFit Open performance in 2022, finishing 70th worldwide, which was the 28th-best score in the United States. Still, she decided to compete on a team in 2022.
During the 2020 season, she teamed up with Christian Harris, Dex Hopkins, and Brooke Haas on the ROMWOD Meat Squad. They were the first team to earn a Games invite after winning the Filthy 150 Sanctional; unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the team division that year.
Shirley plans on competing in the Individual division this season, and her first contest of 2023 is The Fittest Experience from January 27-29 at the Williamson County Expo Center in Taylor, Texas.
Know a Great CrossFit Athlete?
If you’d like to submit an athlete to be considered for BarBend‘s CrossFit Athlete of the Week, please email Patrick Clark at [email protected]
For athletes to be considered, it must be for accomplishments for the preceding week (Monday-Sunday) and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EST the Monday after. Please include any verifiable results, links, and a brief explanation of why that athlete should be considered.
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Featured Image: @kelbakr928 on Instagram