Earning Their Stripes

Andrew Killion demonstrates a squat with a specialty bar.

“There isn’t a single thing we can’t do,” Andrew Killion boasts while showing off the newest digs for District CrossFit (Districtcrossfit.com). The 10,000-square-foot gym — or “box,” in CrossFit lingo — opened last week in Southwest D.C. with just about every toy a strongman or strongwoman could imagine.

Of course, there are the bars, ropes, rings and kettlebells that are the staples of CrossFit training. But there are also the tiny blocks to grip while doing pull-ups, the axle (a type of barbell that’s so thick it’s tough to wrap your hands around) and even a few atlas stones. “They’re great awkward objects,” Killion says of the massive rocks, which weigh well more than 100 pounds each.

With this arsenal of strength and conditioning equipment, Killion plans to add power lifting and Olympic weight lifting to the schedule. Also slated to start soon: a new CrossFit Kids program for ages 6-15, which teaches exercises in the guise of games.

The most important thing this space will offer, however, is stability.

“It’s been a roller-coaster ride,” says Killion, who opened District CrossFit in 2010 in a cramped garage on New York Avenue in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood. When that building was slated for demolition, the business took over a larger spot across the street. But it was never meant to be a long-term lease, and a notice quickly came from the landlord saying it was time to go.

While getting ready to open at the newest location — 1525 Half St. SW — Killion got word that plans had changed and District CrossFit could stay put. So for the foreseeable future, he’s operating two boxes, and members can go to either for no additional charge.

Both have walls painted with red stripes as an homage to the D.C. flag — and as a target for students throwing balls. But this new space has several more frills, including locker rooms with showers. A large office has been reserved for forthcoming physical therapy, massage and chiropractic services. And the former storage facility is up against an alley, which is well suited for the CrossFit pastimes of flipping tractor tires and pushing weighted sleds.

“Some people think it’s so far away, but the minute they walk in, they say, ‘This is awesome,’ ” says Killion, who’s psyched for the location near Nationals Park.

For now, it’s one of the only fitness businesses in that part of the city. With so much development nearby, that may soon change. Vida Fitness announced it would anchor a condominium project a few blocks away in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.

To lure in the locals, Killion plans to host an open house the day after Thanksgiving. That will be good timing to put down your fork and try to lift something heavier.

Southwest Sweat

There’s another new fitness option in the quadrant — Laurent Amzallag’s Yala classes at 700 Water St. SW. The weekly dance workout kicks off at 4 p.m. this Saturday. It’s $10 to attend. For details, see Yalafitness.com.

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