Dan Bailey: Put In Work

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Photo By: Ali Samieivafa: @ali_sv

This weekend Dan Bailey will be competing in his 5th Regional competition. Dan is a mainstay at the CrossFit games, having made 4 straight appearances since 2011. If you know Dan, and his work ethic, it’s easy to understand why he’s been able to get to, and maintain, such a high level for so long. The guy is relentless.

As the California Regional approaches we thought it might be a good idea to dive into Dan’s numbers a bit. How has he been preparing for a run at a 5th consecutive CrossFit Games? Is he biasing anything in particular?  Either way, the numbers don’t lie…he’s been putting in some serious work.

Inside The Numbers

Since January 2015, Dan Bailey has logged 338 results in about 140 days. That works it’s way out to about 2.5 sessions/workouts per day. A typical week over that time period looks a little something like the image below. Recent weeks look very similar, but instead he’s been “focusing much more on training the movements and events [he’ll] have to do for regionals.”

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What kinds of things has Dan been working on? Lots of weightlifting (how else do you think he got those biceps?). His 3 month breakdown of movements is shown below. During that time 53% of the movements Dan has performed have been weightlifting movements. Gymnastics and monostructural cardio movements are getting equal attention at about 22%.

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As we dive into the individual movements per category we start to see a Regional-esque image appear. Sitting at the top of his most often performed Monostructural Cardio movements are Rowing, Double Unders, and a Calorie Row, all of which make appearances at this year’s Regionals. Of special note is Handstand Walk’s placement near the bottom of the Monostructural list. Dan’s only performed workouts containing Handstand Walks 3 times in the last 3 months. Apparently, Event 4 isn’t phasing Dan Bailey. After reviewing last year’s Regional leaderboard we begin to understand why. In 2014 Dan was able to walk 300 ft unbroken in 3 minutes. His score was good enough for a tie for third. That might make me confident in my Handstand Walking ability, too.

Dan’s Gymnastics movements play out similarly to his Monostructural ones. Muscle-ups, Rope Climbs, and GHD Sit-ups sit atop the list of most often performed movements. Each plays in integral part 3 of the 7 Regional workouts. If we combine his Strict Handstand Push-ups number (4) with his Parallette Handstand Push-up number (3), we see that HSPU have also been a top priority in recent weeks. Curiously, Dan has practiced his HSPU more than his Handstand Walks. Dan is well known for his Handstand Push-up ability, especially the strict variations (again, have you seen his arms?). Why he feels the need to address those more than the Handstand Walks is interesting. It’ll be fun to see how it all plays out.

If there is one weakness for Dan, it might just be his snatching. In last year’s Regional Event 1 (max hang squat snatch), he was able to put up a score of 255 lbs. It earned him a tie for 10th place for the event. Surely, he’ll want to improve upon that this year, especially in a stacked “super” region. The numbers show a similar story. When accounting for each of the snatch variations, 25 of Dan’s workouts have involved snatch related movements. If we include Overhead Squat (for obvious reason), that number balloons to 34. That’s a far-cry from the next most often performed weightlifting movement (Deadlift, 12).

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The heat map of Dan’s programming indicates more of the same. Timed, and Lifting workouts have taken priority over the last couple of months and their has been a heavy weightlifting emphasis.

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Has all of the hard work paid off? That remains to be seen. What we do know is that Dan has some pretty monster numbers to show for all of his training. Below is a list of his personal best lifts since he began logging his fitness journey with BTWB. The numbers are especially impressive given Dan’s crazy travel schedule. In fact, the past year has been the most he’s every traveled before. The “combination of time changes, sitting in an airplane or a car for an extended period, and not being close to a gym [he’s] familiar with” have all been major obstacles, but he still feels prepared and more fit than a year ago. If you are an athlete competing in the California Regional May 22-24, that should be a very scary notion.

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Last year Dan made the switch to the So. Cal Region. At first glance, you might have thought he did himself a favor by getting away from the likes of Rich Froning, Scott Panchik, Marcus Hendren, Graham Holmberg, and Nick Urankar. The Southern California Region is no slouch though. Now that it’s combined with Northern California, Dan must navigate his way past several top-notch Games athletes if he wants to keep his Games streak alive. Those athletes include:

  • Kenny Leverich (3 Games appearances)
  • Josh Bridges (3 Games appearances)
  • Rasmus Wisbech Andersen (2014 Team Invictus Champion, 1st place in California Open)
  • Jon Pera (2 Games appearances)
  • Wes Piatt (1 Games appearance)
  • Neal Maddox (5 Games appearances)

Dan’s had a history of showing up when it counts though. In addition, all indicators point to a healthy and strong Dan Bailey this weekend. He’s managed to shake off “some minor injuries, a week of being sick, and another week on antibiotics”. Even more scary than a healthy Dan Bailey, though, is a motivated Dan Bailey. To this day he claims to still gets nervous for any competition. For him, while the feeling has become routine, it also serves as a reminder of how badly he wants to do well.

“I am always nervous for any competition. It’s become normal over the years, and just means I care about how I perform.”

The fire is still strong. Can he do it again?

Regional History

Year Placing
2015 Edit(HE GOT FIRST)
2014 3rd
2013 3rd
2012 2nd
2011 1st


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A lot of people ask me about my training. If you watch a hand-full of videos online you might think it’s madness. However, there is a method to the “madness” that I have been tweaking for years. This Games season I have decided to add another layer to my training, YOU! I’ve teamed up with btwb to offer my programming to up to 200 athletes. You will do what I do. Subscribers will receive everything I do, literally, from metcons, to intervals, to strength work, etc. Week by week. I’ve broken my programming down into GPP and Competitors. GPP will be the main workout I do each day while Competitors will be my main workout plus any accessory and/or other fun stuff I do. I am capping the number of athletes at 200 because I’m going to be looking at the leaderboard just like you will. I want to be able to interact with everyone from time to time. Give you guys updates on how things are with me. From nutrition tips to random happenings of living on a boat. I want this to be a community and, as of right now, I don’t think I could handle more than 200. There are three simple rules. 1) Do the work but have fun. 2) No egos. Only positivity allowed. 3) Must understand terminology like “Clang N’ Bang”, “Bro Reps” – Dan

Train with Dan this year. Learn More.