This post follows on from the previous one, so I would suggest having a read of that and follow the guidelines outlined before upping your training.
While it’s impossible to get too specific here, as we all need different training programs. there are aspects of your training that you can significantly improve in 6 weeks with a few simple changes. This sort of duration allows for some major adaptations, as long as you're smart about it, and don't overdo it.
Firstly you need to focus on your weaknesses. Once you have listed those, then work out what category they fall under in section below. For example, snatches will likely be technical movements, while butterfly chinups may be technical (if you're still learning them) or they may be more of a 'specific muscular endurance' if you can do them but fatigue quickly. Once you have established those weaknesses, use the guidelines below to plan out your next four weeks (the last two weeks will be more for recovery).
E.g. Olympic lifts, double unders, muscle ups, handstand walk. If you've been having trouble with these for a while, now is the time to do something different. Like grab a specialty coach, video yourself, or try some different drills. Don't keep trying the same thing and expect it to make a difference.
Remember though, if you do increase your volume of a specific movement, be mindful of how it affects your body. Adding 5 mins of DU every 3rd session is a fantastic idea, but keep a check on those calves. Build up gradually over the next four weeks. E.g. 3 sets of 20 DU first week and increase it by 10 reps every week. That means by week four you’re doing 3 sets of 50. Another way to improve may be to add one or two wods a week where those moves come up. For example, if you don't like squat snatches and muscle ups - do Amanda once a week.
Dedicate some quality time after your warmup, and before your WOD, to these skills. For technical loaded (i.e. use weights) skills. such as Olympic Lifts, the main thing is to do them at a weight that you can successfully lift about eight times out of ten. More than two failures every ten attempts is getting too many. You don’t learn from doing multiple failures.
I like to do these sorts of skills as singles or doubles. So if you’re working your squat snatches go 10x1 with a minute or so rest between each. Don’t do so many that you get tired. You’re after a neural adaption, so you shouldn’t get sore muscles or be puffed.
If it is something like a bar muscle up, then use a band (or a box etc) that allows you to go through the movement pattern. If you’re hitting 10/10 attempts, then make it a little harder e.g. use a thinner band or heavier load. If you’re not hitting that 8/10 success rate, then stop and change it so you are. The last thing you need to do is letting those failures become your normal movement pattern. You want to go into the competition with a heap of successes locked away in that brain!
Specific muscular endurance:
Can you only do 5 T2B before you start failing? Do you blow up after 20 wall balls? Do 10 bar facing burpees give you jelly legs? If so, then 6 weeks is more than enough time to make some nice improvements. However, this type of training needs to be planned carefully as it has the risk of burning you out very quickly.
Over the next four weeks aim for one big session per week for each movement. And don't try to improve on more than two or three movements. Also, make sure you account for your normal wods here.
For example, let’s say your weaknesses are thrusters, C2B and box jumps. You know if these movements come up in any big numbers in a wod then you're going to gas out quickly and/or your competitors will demolish you. I would program a big set of them once a week. So, you may do Thrusters on Monday, CTB on Wednesday and BJ on Friday. You could do an EMOTM for each one, starting with a number that is challenging but will not total smash you. For example, the first week you may do a 10 minute EMOTM of 5 rep/minute. If that feels okay, the next week go to 7 rep/minute, then 9, then 11. Make sure you hold your pace and your form. Work out what is the best technique for you in Week 1 and then stick with that.
The main thing is to build the numbers up gradually over the four weeks. And don’t be too ambitious. You’re trying to become more comfortable with the move, not become Games Champion.
High intensity, short duration aerobic fitness:
If short duration WODs destroy you, then rest assured, four weeks is more than enough time to develop these components as well. Anything lasting between 60s and about 5 mins calls for a combination of energy systems, however it is the anaerobic component that hurts us the most. By doing sessions that focus on 1-4 minute repetitions, and allows you to maintain a very high intensity throughout, you will improve your ability to manage those energy systems. For example, doing tabata rows or airdyne are perfect. Something like 5x150m rows with a short (less than 30 seconds) rest in between each one.
The main thing is to get (very) puffed early on - within the first minute, and then maintain that. You’re asking your body to develop a lot of energy very quickly, and then to deal with the consequences. You know if you have done this right if you are left gasping on the ground, thinking you’re going to die. Don’t do more than two of these sessions a week, as they are so demanding. And if you do a WOD that is similar to this, then drop it to one session. This type of training is very tough on your body, so don’t overdo the frequency of it.
Medium and longer duration type WOD’s:
This duration demands a lot from your aerobic system. However it is still going to be high intensity. Think of something like a 20 min AMRAP. Don’t get this mixed up with specific endurance movements – that fatigue is coming from your muscles. This one is coming from your metabolic conditioning - your cardio-respiratory system.
The best way to improve this system is to do longer intervals which allow you to maintain a high intensity. Something like 5x1000m row (or run, or swim) with a minute or so rest between each. You should be able to get your heart rate up nice and high (i.e. be very puffed) but you should be able to maintain your pace. Maybe on the last one you might fade a little, but once you do I would stop the session there.
If you’re stopping due to muscle soreness, then you are hitting the wrong thing. You’re trying to put your heart under a lot of stress (i.e. get a high heart rate) and keep it there You're not trying to stress the muscles (though they will get stressed - you cant help that). Keep the sessions between 10 and 20 minutes in duration. You can also do things like light thrusters, wall balls, burpees etc as long as you are able to maintain that high heart rate and not slow down too much because of muscular fatigue.
These sessions are also very tough on the body, so keep these to one or two a week as well. And once again, consider your normal programming. If you are doing a 5km run time trial for a wod, then drop one of these sessions.
So your cardio is great, your gymnastics is awesome, but your strength sucks! With only 6 weeks to go, I would recommend something like a cycle of Wendler. This program fits in well with CrossFit training as it doesn’t require a lot of volume and it is conservatively progressive. There is an app called Wendler Log that allows you to plug in your PB’s (make sure they are recent and not some lift you did 18 months ago!) and it works out the program for you.
I would suggest selecting the following movements: Deadlift, Backsquat, Press, Front Squat and Overhead squat. If you only do 3 sessions a week you can double up and do the DL and Press together, and even the FSq and OHS together. Follow the program – it starts off quite easy but by week 4 it should be very tough.
You could also do something like a 5x5 program. Choose your main lifts and do them once a week using 5 sets of 5 reps. The weight should be as heavy as you can to get those 25 reps in. Keep a record of your lifts and get heavier every time. You should be able to that for the full four weeks - again that leaves you with two weeks recovery
The main thing is to nor overdo it. The volume you are already doing means you can’t add in too much more at this stage. Also, you may have noticed I have only been giving a four-week program. The reason for that is, it then leaves two weeks to recover, and and allows you to put the final touches to your preparation. You won’t be able to get much adaption in those last two weeks, I will repost later on to give some guidelines as to what you can do to peak at your competition.
Remember, focus on your recovery! Keep a record of what you;re doing so you don't over do it. And stay focused. These four weeks will be tough, but they will go quickly. And then you have two weeks to do all your fine tuning. And what can you do in those last two weeks...? I'll save that for my next post!
Six weeks out from a big competition... time goes very quickly at this stage. Obviously you want to be peaking for your big day, so what are some of the things you can do that will get you to your first wod firing on all 8 (or 12) cylinders....
1) Stay healthy and injury free: This sounds obvious, however, it does seem that a lot of athletes turn up to comps with a sore this, or a tight that. So here are some tips to reduce the risk:
2) When it comes to training improvements, pick the low hanging fruit! What are 2 or 3 things that you DON’T want to come up at the comp? Well, that's probably what you need to work on. And be accountable. Write down a goal for the next four weeks and stick to it. E.g. Two sets of 40 bar-facing during your warmup three times a week. Or squat snatch practice after two of your sessions per week.
3) This is part of the first two, but utilise your warmup time to really work your mobility. For us Masters this is one area that you need to do every day!
4) Try to predict if there may be anything unusual that is likely to come up at your comp. For example, at the State of Origin there's very likely to be a run and a swim. So add in one or two of those a week into your training. There’s also likely to be some crazy heavy type of OL complex cause Joe loves those. Make sure you're practicing your paused hang high pull snatch into a squat clean complexes
5) Make EVERY rep a GOOD rep! This is essential. There’s nothing worse than being in a Comp where you can't get depth or reach full extension because you never do it in training. And it's even worse if you're in a team comp! Get your coach or training buddy to keep a careful eye on you when you’re wodding (especially at the end of the WOD when you're tired) and give them specific instructions to be super harsh on you. You don't want to give your judge any question about your standards.
If you're not considering the above in your daily training, then now is the time to do so. Six weeks will fly by, so make sure you're ready!
In the next post I will outline some specific things you can add to your training to improve your weaknesses, We all have those, but by changing your training slightly you can definitely make some nice improvements.
This is a great time of year to start putting together a training program for yourself. For most of us, the Opens or Qualifiers are what we strive for every year. So with only 10 months until they come around again, it's definitely time to start planning.
I'm assuming that most athletes are training at an affiliate, so what you can do in regards to your 'own thing' may be limited. However, even if you can make small changes, over 10 months, you could be a totally new athlete! Small changes done every day = a NEW YOU for 18.1
Here's what I would do first:
1) Put together a list of your OUTCOME GOALS. Your first goals need to be Big and Bold! For example, making the Qualifiers next year. Or doing all Opens Rx. They also need to be realistic. So making the Qualifiers when you came 3573 in your age group might be a 3 year plan, not something for 2018. They also need to be specific. So saying 'I want to do better in the Opens next year' means that if you go up one place then you should be happy! So it should be 'How much better do you want to be? Do you want to make the Top 100 in your region? Do you want to make the top 20 percentile? Have a specific and measurable goal.
You can also have other outcome goals here. E.g. Deadlift 180kg by July 1st., Do 10 RMU unbroken by Xmas, lose 10kg of fat in 6 months.
2) Once you have your Big and Bold goals, work out what you need to do to achieve them. I would suggest talking to your coach about this. Some things you may need to discuss:
- What are your current strengths and weaknesses? What wods did you do really well in and really bad in? What movements held you back?
- How many times do you need to train to achieve your goals? Again, be realistic. Don't have ambitious goals if you can't back them up!
- Do you need to improve your lifestyle factors such as sleep, nutrition, stressors (e.g. work). How will you do this?
- What other competition skills do you need to develop? For example, were you physically prepared but then crashed out due to nerves? Did you train too hard the week before the Opens started? Did you carry an injury into the Opens? All these factors need to be accounted for early on.
3) Put together a list of PROCESS GOALS. This list is what is going to get you to your Big and Bold goals! Your process goals are not 'WHAT' you want to achieve (you already have those), but are more the 'how,' of your training. For example, some of your process goals may be:
- Do a 12 week block of strength training. Three sessions a week you will do strength training prior to your WOD
- Twice a week you will do a ROMWOD or trigger/mobilise for 30mins. This can be done in the evening, or weekends etc.
- Stay back 10 mins after each training session and work one weakness. E.g. go through muscle up drills.
- Refine your diet: Get a DEXA, then record your eating for 7 days. Plan your macros out and stick to that for 6 weeks. Reassess with another DEXA.
- Record your sleep and get an average of 7- 8 hours every night.
- Practise some strategies to reduce your nerves. E.g. block breathing. awareness strategies
Notice that all these goals are 100% doable. There are no outcomes. So if you do manage to do a 12 week strength block, you're very likely to improve your strength and lift your 180kg deadlift. If you do get a DEXA and then follow a sensible nutritional plan, you will very likely lose 10kg in 6 months.
SO YOUR PROCESS GOALS GET YOU TO YOUR OUTCOME GOALS. Your outcome goals provide the big picture motivation to keep YOU going with your process goals.
For example, one of my process goals may be to do my Wendler strength program for 12 week. My outcome goal is to do a PB in King Kong at the end of those 12 weeks. Every day i do my Wendler. Sometimes I do well in it, sometimes I don't. However over 12 weeks I should see some improvement. That King Kong goal keeps me focused! Your 'King Kong' may be a competition, it may be a bet with someone, it may be an event (lose 10kg for your wedding). Once you have established that outcome goal, then it is your process goals that will get you there.
Your coach is likely to be your best resource when planning your process goals out. Talk to them and work out how you are going to achieve your outcome goals. What is it that need to do every day? If you have a good list of process goals, then your training plan will be built on a strong foundation.
Next post I'll give some tips to how create your 10 month plan (based on those goals) and how to develop those weaknesses. Because in CrossFit, it's your weaknesses that define your results, not your strengths.
Well it's been a busy last five days. My poor wife has had to shift houses (almost solo) while I have been chipping away at the Masters Qualifying WODs with Cherise.
And with the leaderboard dust finally settling, it looks like I've come in equal 21st - one point away from the Top 20. There may be some more shifting as validation isnt for another 12 hours and then video's will need to be assessed. However, no matter what happens, these leaderboards are proof of two things:
1) You become a good CrossFitter by strengthening your weaknesses - not by strengthening your strengths (which is what we tend to do).
2) In competitions, every rep and every second counts!
Point number 1 I will go over in detail in my next series of blogs, as this is what your program (as an athlete) should be based on. This is different to the original CrossFit programming methodology of randomness, which I think works brilliantly for the general population and beginner athletes. But not if you want to keep improving as a CrossFit athlete.
Point number 2 is what I personally think about during each and every WOD, especially online WODS where you don't know what your competitor is doing. For throwdown type comps, as long as you stay ahead of the other athletes, you're going to do pretty well. However for an online comp, every WOD is a make or break situation.
For example, we (Cherise and myself) stuffed up videoing WOD 1 - that horrible chipper that started with 100 Db snatches. We did it straight after the WODs were announced, and we didn't put in the perpendicular burpee line! Which meant we had to do it again.
My sister did it the next day (I wasnt so brave) and had the same score but a better tie-breaker. I did it 2 days after and got a better tie-breaker and one more MU. However.... if I had gotten two more muscle ups I would be off to Madison. If you had told me that before the WOD, I still don't believe I could have done it!
Why do I believe that? Because I only think of two things when I'm actually competing. The number one thing is process. I'm always thinking..."How can I do what I am doing easier, or how can I do it faster without working harder. For example, this WOD started with the 100 snatches. I know from the first time I did it I get about 20 a minute in with no breaks. So as I'm doing them I try to subtly change the way I snatch. I use my back more and I use my legs less. This hurts my back more but makes me less puffed and saves my legs. Which means I go into the row with a tighter back (so what?) but less puffed and better legs.
Similarly with the burpees, I changed my technique to a jump up, small step and jump over the bar (I stepped up last time) and then a very small jump back and a fall onto my chest. This was faster and saved my shoulders slightly for the MU.
So my process is slightly different. Remember, THE PROCESS IS 'THE HOW'. My best tip for you to be more efficient is to always be thinking of the how.
How can you do a particular movement better? How can you make it faster, or less puffy, or less stressful on a certain body part? Always be assessing as you are moving. Dont focus on the crowd, or the music, or the other athletes. Be focussed on you.
The second thing I am always thinking about (for online WODs) is THAT EVERY SECOND COUNTS. Don't walk to the next movement if you can jog. Don't rest for 12 seconds if you only need to rest for 10. Don't chalk up or have a drink if you don't need to. You HAVE to constantly be aware of your seconds.
Watch the top athletes. With the number of reps they get you would think they would be in fast forward. But they still look to be moving silky smooth - almost gracefully. They are calm, they may rest often, but they get through those reps faster than anyone else. And it's because they don't waste seconds. And it may only be one or two seconds a round or movement change, but over 10 rounds or 20 movement changes that adds up.
So my challenge to you now is, 1) do your movements better and 2) think in terms of seconds when you're competing.
That way, when you miss out on going to Madison by 1 point over 9 WOD;s you wont have any regrets. And while the outcome definitely sucks, you'll know that for every WOD, you gave it your best. And in the end, that's all we can ever do.
Firstly, my apologies for not blogging during the Opens. Things got a little busy and I just couldn't get the time for them.
Secondly, if you did the Opens - Well Done! No Opens WODS are ever easy, so whether you completed them all Rx, all scaled, or anything in between, you should be proud of your achievement. Remember, when you look at the scoreboard, you're comparing yourself to other CrossFitters. Not the general population.
So what now? It's difficult not to get an Open's Hangover and feel a little lost! Here are some ideas and strategies to get you back on track and feeling motivated again:
If you did get into the next round, the best advice I can give is don't overtrain. With 10 days left before they're announced you may have another 3 or 4 days of hard training. I would suggest you then back off and not do anything that will hurt you too much. Any training you do is not likely to have any effect within a week. The physiological changes take a lot longer than that. Here is what I will be doing:
Don't let the post-Open blues get you down. Assess your performances, set your goals and write them down. Then start to design a plan.
You have 12 months to create a better you!
3, 2, 1, GO!
By now most people will have given 17.1 a crack, and found it pretty tough. As far as an Opens 20min grinder couplet goes, it wasn't too bad. In the past Dave has always had burpees, thrusters, row combinations etc for this WOD, so the snatch is a bit nicer.
I did it as soon as it came out, so about 1pm Friday (and went 18:20). I was getting a cold so I wanted to get it done in case that got bad. But I usually do the WODs at least twice. A lot of people don't, but here is why I do:
So to do better the 2nd time here is what I do:
Of course you have to weigh up whether you have been able to recover enough to give it a good go. In the past, there have only been two wods that I haven't gone better in when I repeated them. So the fact that the second time I know my pacing etc etc seems to outweigh the fact that I'm still a little fatigued.
Don't forget, if you're the type of person who gets stressed about the leaderboard, get hold of some strategies to reduce that stress and start to develop them now! This can really wreck the fun of competition, and can be totally avoided. Check out my post on stress and if that doesnt work research the web - there's a ton of good stuff out there.
I hope 17.1 goes well for you. Focus on effort, not outcome. And if you give it another go, your goal is to beat yourself! That doesnt sound too hard, does it??
Soooo... 17.1 comes out in 4 days and most of us will be doing it within the week. What can you do in one week to improve your performance?
Let's make some assumptions before I suggest some guidelines:
The good (and bad) thing about crossfit is that we don't know what the freek Castro is going to announce... or do we? We do know that it is generally pretty basic crossfit stuff. We shouldn't see rope climbs, sled pushes, dead ball etc. So let's prepare for that. We will see box jumps, push press, deadlifts, burpees etc
We also know that it's going to go for 5 weeks, and if you're like me you'll do the wods at least twice. So we need to keep up our training for that whole period as one of the main principles of training is:
USE IT OR LOSE IT!
How long you take to lose something (e.g. fitness, strength etc) will depend on how 'fit' you are at the moment. I try to get everything done weekly - so every basic crossfit movement gets done at least once a week.
If we look back at the recovery post, we see that some fitness components take longer to recover from than others. Recall muscular endurance will stimulate a physiological change in your muscles - the wod breaks it down, then the body rebuilds it. This is not something you want going on in your body going into a comp.
Which means, DON"T do any high reps muscular sets that leave you sore. Examples are sets of 50 or higher (again this will depend on your state of 'fitness') of HSPU, chinups, deadlifts, pushups - really anything that leaves you with DOMS. This is vital to a good preparation! The muscles should be in a healthy and recovered state.
I would still do small sets to maintain that movement. So a WOD like 5 RFT of 3 HSPU, 5 DL, 5 CTB. 5 pushups is a nice little WOD that shouldn't hurt you, but will be enough to let the body know you still need those specific muscles!
High intensity cardio, for example 4x500 row at 100% on 5:00 is also having the same muscular effect on the heart. So don't be doing any of those types of WODs. Sure, you can get breathless and get the HR to max, but keep it short - again, just enough to let the body know it still needs the muscle (the heart). I would hit these little lung burners maybe twice or three times in the week prior (the same as my normal week) but keep them short - maybe 2mins in length.
A good way to do this is to throw a finisher at the end of your WOD. A 500m row max for example. The way I like to do it is to finish off my normal WOD's very intensely - so save a little in the tank. For example, my last minute of my 12 min AMRAP, I'll put on the burners and give it everything I have - which will always leave me breathless. Exactly what you want.
The other components such as Power and Strength you don't need to change too much. The only thing I would do is reduce the sets/reps, and don't go for any PB's. PB's can leave you neurally drained, especially something heavy like a Deadlift which uses a lot of muscle (and nerves). Things like snatches and MU should be fine. As long as it doesn't turn into a muscular WOD. So if your MU's leaves your muscles sore, back off on the reps. You only need to stimulate the system - not wreck it.
Some other things to consider:
And lastly, one guideline all good coaches go by.....
IF IN DOUBT.......REST
Have a great week training and stay focused AND calm! And know that whatever Castro announces, you'll have empathy from 300 000 other people!
With the Opens less than two weeks away, and as I have been asked to write something on 'how do you stay relaxed for a competition', I thought I would tackle that issue today.
Staying calm and focused is your biggest ally at a competition. For one thing, you won't be able to carry out your wod plan if you're too stressed. Secondly, stressing uses a lot of energy and releases a lot of stress hormones. Which is great if it's seconds before the WOD (when you need to be stressed), but at any other time it's just eating into your recovery.
Let's break it up a little on a time line...
Week/Days out from the competition: I know people who literally stress themselves out of a competition days and even weeks before it starts. They can't stop thinking about it, talking about it, planning/strategising it, doing it! By the time they get close to the competition they're over it! The body has been through that WOD soooo many times, it just doesn't want to keep doing it.
My number one tip here is DON'T! Don't talk about it, don't think about it!
Try this - lie down and measure your HR, then think about your competition/WOD and redo your HR. I guarantee those stress hormones have pushed you into a training zone!
How do you stop thinking about it? My best strategy is when you do find yourself thinking of the competition, replace it with something else. Something that doesn't get your heart racing. For example, I think about a computer game I'm playing at the moment. Or you could think about your favourite movie, or bring back memories from your last holiday... The thing is, YOU NEED TO REPLACE IT. You can't just stop thinking about it, as it will (very quickly) creep back into your thoughts. The mind needs to be distracted!
When I used to take swimmers away for big meets, we would go to the movies, do day trips, play games etc - anything to distract them from their swims. And if you have someone who keeps mentioning the competition (as the parents of the swimmers always did!) let them know that you don't want to talk about it. Be nice, but be form!
The only exception here would be to allow yourself a specific time of the day to actually think about the comp. A good time is when you're training. Talk about it, plan it (don't keep doing it though), break it down - whatever you want. But when you walk out the gym you leave it all behind!
The Day of the Competition: You still don't want to be thinking or stressing about the competition or WOD. Some strategies here are:
Right before the WOD and during the WOD: If you've done all of the above you should know you're ready! At this stage all you're thinking about is your first rep. Elite, successful athletes get into the 'zone' - which just means they are in the 'now'. They aren't thinking about 5 mins ago (cause they didn't have time to pee), or two minutes ahead (can you even lift that frikking weight?). Your entire focus is on the next few seconds. And should always be. It's all about the best, most efficient, rep you can do!
If you do find yourself starting to get too excited/stressed then try these:
If you are the type to get too stressed out, then there is a lot you can do. It's just another skill to work on - like a muscle up. You need to work out what strategy is good for you, develop it, and rehearse it until it becomes part of your routine.
It's worth putting time and effort into. Like I said, staying focused and calm is your single best ally in a competition. Just watch those who are successful!
I don't feel pressure in a negative way. I like pressure.
I feel excitement and calm at the same time.
No pressure, no diamonds. I want pressure:
pressure creates drama, creates emotion.
It's been a busy week at the shed., and unfortunately I've missed my mid-week blog. I hope everyone's training is going well in the lead-up to the Opens. Seems like we will need some 22.5kg DB's hey. If anyone close has any spares - let me know!
Last post covered the fitness components Cardio/aerobic and muscular endurance. They're the big ones for most of us in terms of recovery. below are a few more that you will have to consider from time to time:
The real art/science now comes in planning your weekly cycle so that you get the right amount of recovery for each type of fatigue. Muscular endurance that promotes a lot of muscle damage will need the most rest. However, it doesn't mean you take the days off in between. You could easily work different muscle groups. Or do strength/power/skill work (which is neural stress) - best also to use different muscle groups. So if I have been doing a big set if CTB i wont do rope climbs the next few days - they both work the lats/teres major. But I could definitely train my legs with some squats.
I would also make sure you're not doing too many of the very high intensity HR WODs mentioned last week. The one where you are left lying on the floor with your heart racing, struggling to get a breath in. Limit these to two or three sessions a week - allow the heart to recover! Or you will pay for it.
So as you can see, it's quite easy to train every day! As long as you don't get bored or frustrated or sick of it. Assuming you're not, then cycle through those types of sessions. Generally, I take a day off once every two months. I have way too much to work on to take a day off - a recovery day means I'm doing something that doesnt stress the thing that needs recovering - does that make sense?
But I hear you say how tired you feel if you train every day. Well then, I would reply you're not cycling through your fitness components efficiently. That is, you're hitting the same one too soon.
For example, you do Fran on Monday, then on Tuesday you do 4x400m run max on 3:00, then on Wednesday you do Fight Gone Bad. Well all of those stress your heart in a BIG way. Your muscles feel fine. But if you did another of those max HR WODs then you're risking burnout in that area.
I also hear people saying they get injured if they dont have rest days. Again, you're probably working the same muscle group/fitness components too often. Use your warm-up to listen to your body - does one hamstring feel tighter than the other? Well then don't do any posterior chain stuff until you fix it up (i.e. trigger).
Your shoulder is niggly - well don't do anything that makes it worse! Sounds easy but how many people will push through a wod just because it is up on the whiteboard? If your shoulder is niggly do some rear squats...
And check your resting heart. If it is up for a few days then back off! If you're feeling terrible then back off or rest. Listen to your body - it will let you know. Never do something you shouldn't just because it was in the plan or on the whiteboard. be flexible.
I very rarely program anything for myself. I couldn't tell you what I'm doing tomorrow until I start to warm-up. I see what feels good, what feels bad and then work around that. This is a little trickier if you're at the shed, however if any of my clients want to do something besides the WOD I always accommodate them.
So my best tips on recovery:
Do this and you may be able to increase your training - and get to that next level.
“Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in;
every time you miss a training session;
every time you don’t give 100%…
you make it that much easier for another athlete to beat you.”
Im talking about recovery days here in regards to your training schedule. This is a complex and tricky subject as everyone will differ in what they need. However, your recovery days (when and how many) will depend on the following:
So here are a two fitness components that we hit a lot in crossfit - how they fatigue your body and how it's best to recover from them. There is a lot of information here, but if you want to plan your program you'll need to have some understanding of them anyway:
Cardiovascular or aerobic fitness. That is, how much oxygen your body can use to make energy.The way to stress your body here is to get your HR up. One of the adaptations your body makes is to then build a more powerful heart. The heart is a muscle so it's like doing strength training for your heart.
Be careful with this high intensity, very puffing, lungs burning, 6x500m row hard on 4:00 type of training. This type of training will leave you gulping in air and get your HR above 85% max. Now the heart is a muscle, so like a muscle you only need to train this once (for a beginner) to three times (for advanced athletes) a week.
If you keep doing this type of training without enough recover days between, then after a couple of weeks your performance for these wods will plateau or start to drop off. You won't feel sore (you can't feel your heart) or tired. You will probably just blow out early in the wod or just can't get the intensity you're used to.
Intensity is much more important than duration. For example a 1000m row at 100% is much better than 3x1000m at 90% with rest between each. Keep thinking of it like a muscle. Want bigger legs - you need to walk out the gym knowing you've done a leg set!
Really, you can do any type of training as your recovery days if it doesn’t stress your heart too much. So you might do a high intensity cardio set Mon, Wed, Sat and in the off days do your strength, power etc WODS.
Muscular endurance: WODS that make you lift a force for lots of reps. One that came up in the Masters Qualifiers was 100 chins followed by 100 WB's. This type of WOD leaves your muscles SORE. You're mainly hitting your slow twitch fibers here. There are two types of muscle fibers - sort of - fast and slow. Fast are used when you need to generate a lot of force, Slow are used when you need to generate less force. However, once you deplete or fatigue your slow twitch you then start using your fast twitch. After such a set your muscle cells have been damaged. What happens is that (in your recovery) it then rebuilds itself. However, it will rebuild itself stronger (bigger). It's been known for a while that your slow twitch fibers can definitely hypertrophy (get bigger), however if the set is big enough your fast twitch will also be stressed and will also likely hypertrophy too.
Recovery here needs to be specific (for the muscles groups used). So if you have been doing a big pulling exercise (e.g. chinups, CTB, MU, rope climb) then you may need to rest that movement for 2-4 days afterwards. You will likely get some DOMS anyway (delayed onset of muscle soreness) 24-48 hours afterwards, which generally makes training that muscle group very unpleasant anyway.
It will also depend greatly on your training age. If you have been doing crossfit for more than 2-3 years then maybe only two days between these sorts of sets will be enough. If you're just starting out (less than 6 months) then 4-6 days will be needed.
If you're doing lots of these types of WODS, make sure your protein levels are sufficient. I put my clients on around 2gram/kg of body weight.
Next post I'll look at a few more components, then I'll put it together into a weekly schedule.
The main thing for all this recovery is are you following a program-centered or athlete-centered recovery schedule?
The former means you recover when the shed does. If your shed is doing 3 days hard and one day easy, followed by 2 days hard and one day easy then you're following the program.
If you recover when you think you need to (or your coach thinks you need to), then you're following an athlete-centered schedule.
Personally, I believe, for an athlete, you need to do an athlete-centered schedule. You're training and recovery needs are different to everyone else's so why follow everyone else's plan?
If you got this far, you're doing well. I'll finish this one of during the week.
Hope the Opens training is going well! 3 weeks to go....
Dion Walmsley, Head Coach at CrossFit Kanga, Richlands