Case Study: Ryan Sowder

2019 CrossFit Games Individual Competitor

“He was more worried about mindset, character and the intent rather than qualifying for the Games. It’s like he knew that if I took care of the small things, the big things would take care of themselves. El is the reason I qualified for the CrossFit Games!”


With the help of Brute 1-on-1 Coach, El Senouvor’s experience, attentiveness and tailored programming, Ryan was able to qualify for the 2019 CrossFit Games as an individual after not training for 8 solid months.


Before working with El, Ryan participated in your typical CrossFit style GPP programming. This approach is effective in building a well rounded base of fitness, but is outdated in creating elite functional fitness athletes.

The results of his initial approach were poor olympic weightlifting technique, weak vertical pressing strength, mediocre aerobic power output and sub-par gymnastics skills.

With Ryan aspiring to compete at the highest level, he needed to address these weaknesses with a smart approach.

How Brute 1-on-1 Coaching Helped

Upon beginning Ryan’s Brute 1-on-1 training program, Coach El ran a 6 week assessment like he would with any of his athletes in order to assess his abilities and prepare his body for the training ahead.

Based on the initial 6 week introductory cycle, El drafted out a methodical training skeleton that would strengthen Ryan’s weaknesses.

The solution was to:

  • Improve olympic lifting technique by emphasizing third pull mechanics
  • Build vertical pressing strength using a linear periodization model
  • Increase gymnastics capacity with weekly volume based EMOM’s and intervals
  • Develop aerobic power output :30/:30 intervals and 500m row repeats

Results & Future Plans

Ryan qualified for the CrossFit Games in 2019 and is training hard to make his return trip for 2021. The following are the benchmark tests & retests conducted by Ryan and El.

  • 2K Row Test
    • Before: 6:51
    • After: 6:28
  • 1RM Front Squat Test
    • Before: 375 lbs.
    • After: 425 lbs.
  • 1 Mile Run Test
    • Before: 5:57
    • After: 5:19
  • 1RM Strict Press Test
    • Before: 190 lbs.
    • After: 205 lbs.
  • Max Ring Muscle-Up Test
    • Before: 14
    • After: 19
  • 1RM Back Squat Test
    • Before: 445 lbs.
    • After: 500 lbs.
  • 1RM Power Clean Test
    • Before: 315 lbs.
    • After: 330 lbs.
  • 1RM Deadlift Test
    • Before: 525 lbs.
    • After: 600 lbs.
  • 1RM Snatch Test
    • Before: 240 lbs.
    • After: 270 lbs.
  • 1RM Overhead Squat Test
    • Before: 285 lbs.
    • After: 325 lbs.

Not only does he attribute a personalized training program to his success as a CrossFit Games athlete, but he also accredits El to holding him accountable with his recovery, and building mental toughness as well as other skills that will carry over to living a more fulfilling life.

"Training volume has increased significantly. In my coaches words “I’m going to try to Kill you then let you recover, kill you then let you recover.” We are doing a lot of aerobic work and focusing on quality sleep and diet so I can maintain a high training volume.”

"My training on a day to day basis is very diverse so that I am prepared for any physical task thrown at me. "

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