Owning Your Fitness
There is a common misconception that what is written on the whiteboard is set in stone. We read it with tunnel-vision and think that we must perform the workout exactly as written with the “prescribed” weights. And, what’s worse, we think that if we don’t perform the workout as written, then we “suck” or we have “failed.”
We are unintentionally, and even unknowingly, self-destructive athletes.
Okay, so, this is my attempt at breaking the habit…
The workout on the whiteboard is simply the framework for the day. While we want everyone to have the same intensity and intention for that day, HOW that is achieved may be different for each and every one of you.
Let’s take tomorrow’s WOD for Monday, Feb 11:
20 min to establish a 1 RM Power Clean
3 min AMRAP:
Burpee Box Overs @ 24/20
90 sec Rest
3 min AMRAP:
Back Squat @ 115/80
90 sec Rest
30 Power Snatch @ 115/80
Okay, so let’s get one thing straight right now - “Rx” is completely arbitrary and only means something to those who want to compete in local competitions, and those who have pipe dreams of making it to the Games. For the rest of us, which is the other 99.9% of us that do CrossFit for daily life, we should be focusing more on our individual levels of fitness and strength - Meaning - YOU DO YOU! Fo’ shizzle!
For the 20-min Strength set to establish a 1RM, that may or may not be appropriate for you today. You may be recovering from a rough weekend, or maybe coming back from an injury or surgery, or maybe you are new to CF and this is only your second time trying out Power Cleans. Sooo… Maybe you’re going to work up to a heavy single while focusing more on technique and speed. Or, maybe since you’re new, you’re going to work on Hang Power Cleans and do 5-5-5-5-5, only adding weight as the coach sees fit.
Maybe, you have a current injury preventing you from doing Cleans. So, we may need to completely modify those 20 minutes for you. Maybe we make it a Front Squat strength set day, then, for you. We might as well increase your Front Squat in preparation for a Full Clean someday down the road, right?! ;-)
JUST BECAUSE THE WHITEBOARD SAYS 1 RM POWER CLEAN, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IS YOUR ONLY OPTION, OTHERWISE YOU FAIL AT LIFE AND CAN’T PLAY WITH US.
“Where there’s a will, there’s always a way!”
Alright, now for the 3-min AMRAP for Burpeee Box Overs. While “Rx” suggest 24 and 20 inches, you should be picking a height that you can confidently work hard on for 3 minutes. This is NOT the time to use the big box and then use it as an excuse, “Oh, yeah, I only got 10 reps in the first 3-min AMRAP because I went Rx. I totally coulda gotten more reps if I scaled it, though.” Yeah, no.
USE THE BEST HEIGHT FOR YOU THAT ALLOWS INTENSITY! Quality over quantity, folks.
For the 3-min AMRAP Back Squats, the prescribed weights are 115 and 80. Can you tell me what those weights mean?? What kind of intensity are we looking for with those weights?? Do you know?
80 pounds for me is a very different beast than it is for Jane, Kelly, and Miss Mary Mack. My 80# back squat AMRAP will not be the same as Jane’s 80# back squat, because we are very different people on very different paths, experiences, strengths, and abilities.
So, the better way to look at this is WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR 1 RM SHOULD YOU BE WORKING WITH IN TODAY’S WORKOUT?
Maybe for this workout, since it’s only 3-min, and 80# for a competitive athlete would be “easy,” then working @ about 35-40% of your 1RM Back Squat would be best. Now, you may look at that percentage and think, “Whaaaaa?! Only 35% of my 1 RM?! But, that is soooo light. I could do like 100 reps in 3-min!” Well, first of all, show me then that you can do 100 reps at your 35% in 3 minutes. Secondly, that’s the kind of intensity we want for this workout. We want reps today!
Doing the workout at 40% of your 1 RM and nailing 50-60 reps, versus doing it “Rx” at 80 and only getting 20 reps in 3 minutes are two very different workouts.
Now… Maybe, though, that’s what you and your coach want for today. Maybe because of your personal goals and specific focus, maybe it IS appropriate to do it “Rx” and only get 20 reps, but make them high quality reps. Maybe you and your coach have agreed that because you want to focus a lot more on strength, then you’re going to make your workouts heavier. THAT is where personalized programming, coaching, and goals come into play, and we can definitely help you with that - Just ask us! :-)
Now, if you are newer to CrossFit, and maybe to fitness in general, then maybe it would be more appropriate for you to do the Back Squats with just an empty barbell. Or, it may be even be necessary to just do air squats, because maybe your mobility and body awareness are just not quite there yet. This scenario may be applicable to those of you coming back from an injury or surgery, too.
Alrighty, now let’s look at the last mini WOD for tomorrow - 30 Power Snatch For Time @ 115/80. Ideally, we want a sub 3 minute time for this, but definitely under 5 minutes for everyone. Suggested percentage could be @ 50-55% of your 1RM Snatch. If you are newer to the Snatch movement, then maybe do Hang Power Snatch @ a lightweight the coach deems appropriate for you. Or, maybe, depending on the athlete and situation, it may be more appropriate to do Single Arm DB Snatch.
Or, like I said earlier, maybe due to your special situation, you and your coach decide to make this one a strength-bias piece, and instead you do your Power Snatch @ “Rx” or 70-75% of your 1RM, but the coach makes it a 3-min AMRAP.
BOTTOM LINE: The workout on the whiteboard is just the framework. We need to scale and modify as needed for each of us. We need to collaborate, yo!
Scaling goes up and down, my friends, and applies to everyone!
Modifying requires creativity and adaptability when an athlete cannot perform the prescribed movement for whatever reason. Ideally, we’ll hit the same muscle groups and intensity level, just in another way.
So, let’s work together, my friends! Help me help you! ;-)
Let’s make these WODs our own!