As February 22nd approaches, those of you in CrossFit land will be pushing hard down the final stretch in order to do well in the CrossFit Open. The key to getting the best score in the region and a top score in the world is to do 3 workouts a day every day for 6 days in a row and then go on a long run on Sunday to work on endurance, right? In the words of Charlie Murphy “Wrong, WRONG”.
The knee jerk reaction in CrossFit competition is to work on weaknesses and hone strengths until the cats come home; but what about rest? What about pairing high intensity workouts with low intensity flexibility or strength work? The key to program design is to make sure that our bodies are functioning optimally in order to get the most out of a training session.
The main bone I have to pick in this post is with the Metcon addicts of the world. I will admit there is no better feeling than PR’ing on Fran and getting your name up on the board, but is that really the best thing for you? When Roy Halladay (one of the top pitchers in baseball) throws a bullpen session, there is no umpire, there is no batter in the box. He doesnt throw his hardest fastball or his sharpest curve. Instead he tinkers with his mechanics and leaves something in the tank knowing that when his next start in the rotation comes he will be that much better due to the added practice. I’m pretty certain that he has a rest day that involves little to no throwing and mostly stretching, icing and recovery. I’m also sure were he given the choice he would much rather pitch in a game situation, but he would not be the best pitcher he could be without a planned program of practice and rest leading up to the season and up to gameday. I know the parrallel isnt exact, but some of the ideas can be applied to a training regimen.
As CrossFit athletes, we get the best results from approaching training at a high intensity and going for a max effort. I have no gripes with training hard when you are in the gym. What I do have a problem with is training hard doing the wrong things. Unlike Roy Halladay, or most if not all pro athletes, most CrossFitters have way too many game days and not enough practice sessions. Damn right games are more fun and there is no Hall of Fame for practice players, but make no mistake about it: pitching 162 games out of the year will catch up to you. Same thing here. Doing Fran in the morning, then Cindy in the afternoon, then having a night cap of double Fran with 10 rounds of Cindy between the two is not going to make you better in the long run. I know this is kind of a stretch but not by much from what I’ve seen in the community.
The reasons for having not just a plan, but a quality well thought out training program are many:
1. Being rested and fresh in order to give a full effort on days you do train.
2. Better adaptations due to giving the muscles and nervous system a chance to recover.
3. Longevity in your training program due to not being injured and achey.
4. Not feeling singled out by reading this blog post.
So… As the CrossFit games season approaches, I am all for dialing up the intensity and aspiring to be the best darn board short-skinz-beanie-lululemon wearing CrossFitter you can be. Sometimes it is fun to come up with a cluster fuck of a workout just to see what you can endure. But don’t think it’s safe or effective to metabolically condition your face off for 3 sessions a day just because it makes you feel like a bad ass who can walk around with a faux-hawk and no shirt in the middle of December. You know what’s more bad ass than that? Taking the time to get stronger, less prone to injury, and rested. How about dedicating one session a week to strengthening your pulls, presses or squats… Maybe another one to work on your hip mobility or rack positioning? Or how about dedicating 2 days a week to active recovery, if not resting completely? Or you can just be a metcon addict, and see what Charlie Murphy has to say about it: