Mat Fraser Kicks Off Dubai Fitness Championship Programming with Iconic Burj Khalifa Challenge

Photo Credit:Burj Khalifa (@ burjkhalifa)

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The 10th anniversary of the Dubai Fitness Championship kicked off this morning with a historical first event. The athletes climbed 160 stories wearing a weighted vest, grinding their way up the Burj Khalifa, which is known for being the tallest building in the world. This event was for completion, with no time cap to save anyone from what’s expected to be the longest event of the weekend.

HWPO and DFC collaboration: This year, the Dubai crew teamed up with five-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser and HWPO to assemble what looks to be eight devastating workouts.  

  • Mat Fraser has publicly shared his love for weight vest workouts on the Stairmaster, and apparently the Burj Khalifa workout is something he’s wanted to program for a long time. 
  • The HWPO crew tested the first workout on Wednesday, and HWPO coach Jake Marconi described his experience to the Morning Chalk Up: “I got, not exaggerating, 10 floors in, I thought this is going to be a really difficult workout. Then I got 20 floors in and I thought, I might not get through this. 30 floors in, I genuinely… genuinely thought ‘how can I get out? I’ve never played more mind games to get a workout done.” 
  • Programming DFC was a collective effort, as Marconi explained  “We would draft a workout, and then he (Saud) would say ‘Can we do this with it?’ and it just gave it that Dubai style.” 

The other workouts: The DFC team has released four additional workouts, two that will be done on Saturday and the other two being saved for Sunday. 

What’s missing? Three workouts still remain a mystery, but based on what’s been released and looking at programming from the previous years, we can speculate as to what formats and movements may show up by the end of the competition. 

  • Time domains: Fraser spent years working with endurance expert, Chris Hinshaw and is well versed in the importance of having different fitness “gears” to be well-rounded. We haven’t seen workouts programmed in the five-to-eight, eight-to-12, or 12-20 minute time ranges. Thus far, we have a long endurance event, long chipper, sprint intervals, sprint execution-style barbell complex, and the heavy strength event. Expect to see more of the mid-range time domains released in the final three workouts.  
  • Couplets: Every workout up to this point is either a single modality workout or triplet. Expect to see some classic couplets and be on the lookout for multiple couplets being performed back-to-back as one giant workout. 
  • Movements: There are movements that are unique to Dubai that haven’t been released yet. Some of these are A-Jumps, Flying Push-ups, Goblet Deck Squats and the Devil Press. Since the programming was a collaboration, expect to see some of these movements to honor the history of DFC on its 10th anniversary. Fraser is also well-known for programming torturous workouts on the machines (ski and bike ergs, or echo bike), so don’t be surprised if rowing isn’t the only machine you see worked into the programming.  
  • Movement patterns: Expect to see more upper body pulling, which may show up in the form of a rope climb variation and/or a form of muscle ups. 

The bottom line: With the long endurance event in the books, athletes still have seven opportunities to grab as many points as possible. One of the mystery workouts will be released at 2:00pm on Saturday, and the final two workouts will be announced at 2:00pm Sunday. To stay up-to-date, visit our Event Hub and Instagram throughout the weekend.

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