How does the five-time reigning Fittest Woman on Earth®, Tia-Clair Toomey, increase and maintain strength in training to outperform the best CrossFit athletes in the world year after year? It’s a training mystery that’s likely to perk up the senses of aspiring CrossFitters, elite athletes, and fans alike. It’s also the topic of Toomey’s April 11, 2022, YouTube video.
During a filmed training session, Toomey, alongside her husband and coach, Shane Orr, outlines what strength training looks like for her during the 2022 CrossFit season. The session was performed between the 2022 Quarterfinals and upcoming 2022 Semifinals — Toomey ranked first worldwide by a whopping 98 points in the Quarterfinals, ahead of runner-up and fellow Australian Kara Saunders.
Check out Toomey’s strength day in the video below:
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Getting Strong At The Top
The video fades up on Toomey stretching at CrossFit East Nashville in Nashville, TN. Toomey’s programming calls for the start of a new training cycle, which she explains includes getting under a barbell for some moderately heavy back squats to reinforce efficient movement patterns. As the 2022 Semifinals approach, the load of each strength day gradually increases.
You got to start somewhere right?
That’s a unique mentality for the athlete who’s stood atop the CrossFit Games podium the last five straight years, but in a way, this season is notably different from years past. Prior to the 2022 CrossFit Open, Toomey was competing as a member of the Australian National Bobsled Team and helped secure her home country a spot at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games, though she did not compete there.
Part of that process as a brakewoman in bobsled involved putting on extra body weight to help move the bobsleigh more effectively down the ice. Toomey has steadily been cutting weight during the 2022 CrossFit season while simultaneously ranking towards the very top of the leaderboard — she finished second globally in the 2022 CrossFit Open with only Mal O’Brien ranked ahead of her.
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Toomey’s strength training includes back squats, strict overhead presses, and accessory exercises with an emphasis on movement patterns. A recurring note from the winningest female CrossFitter ever was that the weight on the barbell was not more important than the efficiency of the movement. Toomey’s commitment to accessory work was also relayed several times to Toomey’s 195,000 YouTube subscribers.
Big believer in accessories — it helps keep the body healthy; isolate certain muscle groups to strengthen them individually.
While she will often take as much rest as needed between strength pieces, on this particular day, Toomey felt good and did not rest long between squats and strict presses. Prior to any overhead training work, Toomey always warms up with the barbell and can be seen in the video testing her shoulder mobility by raising her elbows with the barbell in a front rack position.
Every time, I always warm up with the barbell. Everything; I’m still doing with purpose.
Toomey will increase the weight in varying increments each strength session depending on how she feels. Being in tune with her body is part of Toomey’s process and she will adjust her workouts accordingly based on how well her body recovered from the previous day’s training session.
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Focus In the Moment
Toomey utilizes a strategy of intense focus during her lifts and balances it with staying relaxed between sets that range between 65 to 80 percent of her max output. She enjoys her time at the gym with those around her by keeping the atmosphere light. However, she will remain more zoned in to hit those numbers on heavier days when she is pushing at or over 90 percent of her max lifts.
Here are the exercises Toomey performed for her accessory work on strength training day:
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Reverse Forearm Curls
- Sandbag Holds (similar to Bear Hugs)
Toomey did four sets of each exercise as a circuit, resting one to two minutes between each piece. The intent of the accessories was for quality of movement — she does not rush through her accessory work. Toomey is also seen performing standing reverse flyes on the TRX straps, bodyweight Romanian deadlifts with a resistance band, and overhead kettlebell work.
2022 CrossFit Semifinals
The 10 in-person Semifinal events for the 2022 CrossFit season are scheduled for the three-week span from May 20 to June 12, 2022.
In 2021, Toomey won the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge. Given Toomey’s run thus far in the 2022 Open and 2022 Quarterfinals, it is likely safe to assume she will earn her way back to the Games in Madison, WI on Aug. 3-7, 2022, to attempt to become the all-time winningest individual CrossFit athlete in history.
Featured image: @tiaclair1 on Instagram