My Gladiators Try Out (and Friday fun videos)

gladiators-logoI had my Gladiators try out today. It cost me a packet, due to the fact that I had to take an unpaid day off and had to pay for a London – Manchester train ticket. However, this is the sort of thing that makes life worth living. Money comes and goes but memories from once in a life time events like this last forever. So without further ado, here’s what happened:

The day started at 9:30pm at the The Armitage Sports Centre in Manchester. A good job I allowed plenty of time because GPS takes you to a place where there’s not parking and no easy way to get to the right place! There were about 90 people there and we were split into sections of 30 for the Gladiator tryouts and then further down to smaller groups of 4 each. We were told that they had seen 200 people at Glasgow and that only 30 had got through to the video interview. With further trials at Birmingham and London, I reckon they called for audition about 10% of the 5000-6000 people that applied. I was number 5109 and the numbers ranged from 1000 to 6000 that I saw.

Just to be clear (as a few people have been confused) this is a tryout to appear as a *contender * on Gladiators, not as an actual Gladiator! I may be fit and lean these days, but I’m certainly not a muscle bound hulk. Having said that, with a backsquat of nearly twice my bodyweight, Crossfit has seen fit to make me strong enough to be able to pick up and carry off any of the gladiators, male or female (I should be so lucky, lol!).

I had been tipped off by my mates at Crossfit Manchester who had been to the Series 1 Gladiator auditions, about what the exercises were for them. Further this had been confirmed by someone who went to the Glasgow gladiator trials a few days ago. Actually they had changed a bit from what I was told, but here is a list of what we had to do. They wouldn’t tell me how the points system worked but I was informed by a Series 1 contender that it works like this, I can’t verify it unfortunately:

  • 1 point for taking part
  • 5 points for doing modestly well
  • 10 points for excelling

Obviously with my constantly varied, if not randomised functional fitness regime that is Crossfit, I was quite looking forward to them all and anticipating doing better than most. Anyway, here are the tests (you start at a random station) and how I did on each one:

Test 1 – Mini assault course: jump and forward roll over a hurdle, hop scotch across some lines, round a cone, bounce a ball 5 times and replace it back on its stand, 2 footed jumps over 6 low hurdles, a duck under a bar and sprint to the end. I was trying too hard and approached the hurdles faster than I should and end up stacking it completely and wiping out the hurdles. 2 bruised knees, a bruised hip, friction burns on both knees and an elbow: and not a good start for my trouble. I think the time was fast, but I don’t know how much I got marked down for stoofing the hurdles.

Test 2 – Medicine ball throw: on your knees and throw a 5kg medicine ball (3kg for the ladies) from your chest as far away from you as possible without coming off your knees. You’re not allowed to turn round and throw it over your head behind you, which certainly would have been easier. I was the only guy from my group of 3 guys and a girl to get the ball across the second and furthest line. I also picked up a bruised palm whilst landing on it.

Test 3 – As many Burpees as you can manage in 60 seconds. These were lazy burpees in that they went like this: from a standing position, drop to a squat with your hands touching the floor, jump your legs out behind you to a push up position, jump your feet back to a squat, stand and jump in the air. (I say lazy burpees as I’m used to doing an actual push up at the bottom and clapping overhead at the top). I set a pace and maintained it throughout the minute but I confess to not counting how many I did, I’d estimate 30-35.

Certainly I maintained better form than my 2 group mates and did at least as many as them if not more. The leg burn really kicked in during the last 10 seconds so I think I paced it about right.

Test 4 – 2 footed standing Long Jump. Simply stand with feet together and leap as far as you can. Again I was the only one from my group to make it past the 2nd line.

Test 5 – The Crocodile Crawl was probably the most feared test. It goes like this: you get into a push up (plank) position, they tape up your ankles and you have to pull yourself along with your arms over roughly a 40m course for time. You have to keep your knees off the floor and get one warning only. Apart from being physically hard work (one of the guys in my group couldn’t finish it) you have to take your shoes off and dragging your feet behind you, toes pointed away, has left a cluster of nice friction burns on the roof of my right foot.

Test 6 – Shuttle Sprints: 4 x 30m for time. Simply run back and forth over a 30m track, touching the ground at each end, as fast as you can. I have no idea how I did, but I’m a good sprinter and it felt like a fast time. The guy in my group who I thought was quick said I was faster than him, but he can’t have known for sure either.

Test 7 – Pull ups (chin ups if you prefer) for time. As many as you can do in 60 seconds with palms facing away from you and straight arm down to chin over the bar. The pull up station was a standalone piece of gym equipment with a back rest. This was bad news for me as we were doing it facing into the frame and the “back” rest was right in front, about 10 inches away from my belly. This made kipping pull ups impossible. As a result, I managed a modest 9 dead hang pull ups in 60 seconds. For the women, who couldn’t do a single pull up, simply hanging from the bar for the full 60 seconds scored some points.

Compared to my small group of peers I feel I acquitted myself well. I’d be surprised if I didn’t have the most points out of them and I was certainly less out of breath and less sweaty than any of them. If there were “winners” for each exercise, I reckon I won 4, came 2nd in 2 (pull ups and crocodile walk) and probably last in the assault course. Trying to be objective, if the points system above is accurate, I reckon I got about 46 points out of a potential total of 70. What I didn’t have was a comparison overall and there were some very big guys in the other groups.

So it came down to a simple matter of points mean prizes. The prize in this instance being a Gladiators video audition. Of the 30 in my section 3 lads and 3 girls were chosen and I’m sorry to say I was not one of them. 2 of the 3 guys chosen could have been Gladiators themselves judging by the size of them and simply on appearance they certainly deserved to go through. No one from my group was selected.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable morning , despite my failure to progress and my bumps and grazes. I discovered a few hours later that I’ve sprained (or is that strained?) my wrist and also my ankle, I’m a right wreck this week. However I’d certainly do it again given a chance and that is indeed a viable option. One of the guys who did get through from my section, had already got beyond this to the 2nd stage fitness tests for the series 1 trials, only to be disqualified for failing the drugs test (he claimed a trip to Amsterdam the month before was the reason!). The point is that it seems subsequent series trials are a clean slate.

Series 3 anyone? 😉

And now for a topic pair of Friday fun videos, the first was Fash’s “oops” moment and the second of the gladiators doing the eliminator from the last series. Is it just me or was that eliminator better?

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Steve J 25 September 2008, 8:56 pm

    Doh! Gutted you didn’t get through THIS TIME!

    I was halfway through reading your post today and imagining taking my son down to watch you with a banner saying ‘I read your blog!!”

    The trials sounded pretty mean actually, cool stuff I might do some for a WOD.

  • Koing 25 September 2008, 9:41 pm

    good write up!

    Unlucky but it is a really fun experience!

  • Franz29 26 September 2008, 7:15 am

    Unlucky not to be selected; seems you acquitted yourself really well out there. As you say, there’s always series 3.

  • Davie 26 September 2008, 9:56 am

    hard luck this time Colin, do you plan on going for it again in season 3?

  • M 26 September 2008, 9:17 pm

    Great Blog – good heads up – I go to London on Monday.

    I’m 42 in a week – will I be the oldest… Damn kids …”Dad why don’t you do Gladiators”

    Sound simple doesn’t it LOL

    All the best

    M

  • DaZzA 27 September 2008, 11:50 pm

    Colin!
    awesome right up my man, I have my tryout in cardiff on friday , fortunately i got an idea from a contender on series one for the fitness, and have been training for the same stuff you did at the audtion,, and incase anyone has not tried it, 40 meters crocodile style is not for the faint hardy, must wrist kill from the training,,,

    P.s I felt sick just reading your blog,

    hope you get over your bruises and goodluck for S3 my friend,,,

    D

  • Colin McNulty 28 September 2008, 2:09 pm

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I certainly think it was the assault course which was my downfall, will defo be up for series 3 trials.

  • Colin McNulty 30 September 2008, 8:58 pm

    Sorry I just noticed your post M, that’s great news. At 42 you are definitely in the upper end. I thought I was near the upper limit at 36. Do come back and let us know what is in the 2nd stage test please.

  • Colin McNulty 1 October 2008, 7:36 am

    Scott Jenkins over on the Crossfit.com forum reports these qualifying numbers:

    15 pull ups in 60 seconds = 10 points.
    35 burpees in 60 seconds = 10 points.

    He’s not sure if those are the thresholds, but he saw those scores being ticked.

  • stu 26 January 2009, 5:36 pm

    when are he next try outs- for gladiators competitors, or to be a gladiator

  • stu 26 January 2009, 5:36 pm

    please e-mail me someone if you know…

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