Top-10 Wodapalooza Finish Puts Estonia’s Andra Moistus on the Map

January 21, 2024 by
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When Andra Moistus found CrossFit in Estonia in 2018, most people in her country had never heard of it before.

  • In fact, even she wasn’t really sure what CrossFit was all about. She had seen a video on Instagram that a coach at her Globo gym had posted of people doing pull-ups and toes-to-bar at a CrossFit competition and assumed that was CrossFit.

Because Moistus had a pole-vaulting background, she was skilled at gymnastics and had good upper-body strength, so she decided to sign up for a local competition. She expected pull-ups and toes-to-bar but was surprised when she was asked to do box jump-overs, lift sandbags, and push a sled.

Still, she placed second and finished fourth in Estonia in the CrossFit Open (15,550th in the world).

That was six years ago. 

Today, Moistus, who lives and trains in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is a seasoned CrossFit athlete, which she proved last week when she placed an impressive sixth overall at the 2024 TYR Wodapalooza in Miami, FL. Here, the 27-year-old beat out a number of highly ranked CrossFit Games athletes, including Dani Speegle, Olivia Kerstetter, Emily Rolfe, and Sydney Wells.

Moistus admitted her finish in Miami was “a big surprise,” saying she hadn’t dreamed she would even be in the top 10. 

The Coaching Difference

Before last season, Moistus mostly followed online programming, but often “cherry-picked” workouts and added pieces to her training sessions because she’s one of those athletes who always wants to do more volume.

  • “I was adding a lot of stuff, whatever I felt like doing. It was mostly a lot of EMOMs with burpees or cardio stuff,” said Moistus, whose strengths are long conditioning workouts, thanks to a childhood filled with running, biking, cross-country skiing, and gymnastics.

Fourteen months ago, though, she traveled to Norway to work with coach Silje Tonnesen on her ring muscle-ups. She connected with Tonnesen and decided she would trust her to become her coach.

Under Tonnesen’s tutelage, Moistus’ training changed right away. Much more emphasis was put on strength and power training, Moistus’ weaknesses. This meant not only working on pure strength work a lot more but also using heavy dumbbells and kettlebells during condoning workouts.

  • “The amount of stuff that I was doing was smaller, but the intensity was higher,” Moistus said.

Further, Tonnesen started building in actual rest days, something Moistus had always been reluctant to do when she was in charge of her own training. Tonnesen even convinced her to replace her pedal bike with an electric bike, as she also rides 12k to and from the gym every day.

With Tonnesen as her coach, Moistus’ training became a lot more focused and was more about quality than quantity as it had been in the past. 

It paid off quickly. 

After just a few months of training with Tonnesson, Moistus qualified for her first European Semifinals last season, where she placed 35th overall.

Looking to 2024

Moistus is a different athlete than she was a year ago. Not only has she added 15 kilograms (33 pounds) to both her back squat and deadlift, and 10 kilograms (22 pounds) to her clean and jerk and snatch, but her sixth-place finish at Wodapalooza last week has vaulted her confidence to a new level.

Competing with the fittest women in Europe at Semifinals last year “was amazing,” Moistus said, but she also admitted she spent a lot of the time feeling very nervous. So before Wodapalooza last week, her goal was just to qualify to Semifinals again this season. But now, “the hopes have gotten a bit higher,” she said.

“To make it to the CrossFit Games. This has been the dream and the goal for the last two years,” she said. “If the programming is good for me, why not make it to the Games this year?”

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