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Rogue Q&A with Josh Bridges

Longtime Rogue athlete Josh Bridges has been one of CrossFit’s most accomplished performers and most popular ambassadors over the past decade. The St. Louis native–instantly recognizable for his trademark stache and goatee– finished in the Top 5 at the CrossFit Games three times (2011, 2013, 2014), and won four West Coast Regional titles (2011, 2013, 2016, 2017) during his time living and training in San Diego. Now, the 39 year-old Bridges is beginning a new chapter of his fitness career, as he recently moved to a suburb of Boulder, Colorado. Rogue caught up with Bridges to check out his new home gym, see how he’s adapted to the mountain air, and find out whether a return to competition might still be in the cards.

Rogue: It’s been a while since you’ve been a full-time CrossFit competitor. How have you adjusted your training without the demands of the usual CrossFit season dictating things?

Josh Bridges: Yeah, it’s been interesting. I’m not saying I’ll never compete again, but as of now, yeah, it’s been a while now, since 2018. I still have some nagging injuries that are kinda keeping me from going back and competing again. The main thing is that it’s been hard to adjust to a different volume, knowing that I don’t need to do the volume that I used to do. Because that’s just what I did for upwards of eight years; I went outside and beat myself down for six hours a day and then tried to recover from it. Now it’s like, at least for now, I don’t need to do that, and I don’t want my body to feel like that anymore. So the adjustment is telling myself, ‘okay, I’m gonna go out and do one conditioning piece, I’m gonna do some strength, and I’m gonna do some accessory.’

It was difficult at first to make that adjustment. I’d still go outside and hammer myself and be ruined for three or four days. But now I’ve realized that that’s not necessary. I can adjust the weight and the reps sometimes, because I don’t need to be sore and unable to walk for days at a time.

You struggle with it at moments, because you think, ‘I’m not in the shape I used to be in.’ But you also don’t need to be, because I’m not trying to be the Fittest Person on Earth. Now I just want to be fit for life, and fit to take my kids to do cool stuff and to play sports with them.

Rogue: As part of adjusting your regimen, is there any equipment you’re using now more than you used to?

JB: Yeah, I got a Jacob’s Ladder, which is a cool piece of equipment. I’m also using the Echo Bike almost every day, because I just love it. People always ask, if you could only use one piece of equipment, what would it be? For me, it’d be the Echo Bike. It’s so versatile, and you can do so many different things with it: use it for aerobic, anaerobic, long, short, sprints. You can add it into other workouts. When you need to get something done quick and fast, it’s my go-to.

I use dumbbells a lot more now, too, when it comes to squatting or dumbbell bench press. I’m actually doing a lot more bench press, which you don’t need to do for CrossFit that often, but I’m probably doing it 2-3 times a week now. Aside from that, I do like the odd-object stuff; the Strongman stuff. I think it’s fun and it keeps me wanting to come back. It can be boring just using a barbell over and over again sometimes, so for me I’ve always loved the Strongman implementations, and the sleds and the sandbags and dumbbells. Keeps it interesting.

Rogue: Looking at your garage set-up, your weights are pretty massive compared to a normal CrossFit gym. Any emerging Strongman aspirations?

JBs: [laughs] I don’t aspire to be in Strongman at all, no. I don’t know, maybe it’s something from when I was a kid; you always want to play with bigger stuff or do what the bigger kids were doing. So I think it’s still that side of me where it’s like, I want to use the bigger sandbags, I want to use the bigger kettlebells, I want to use the bigger dumbbells . . . even though you can do a lot of great stuff with the smaller versions. I guess, being a smaller athlete in CrossFit, everyone assumed I would just be good at the bodyweight stuff or whatever. There’s something inside me where I’m like, I can play with the big stuff, too.