We get this question throughout the year, generally right before or after the Crossfit Games Open. This year was no different. With the Open well behind us now, this is good time to discuss it.
CrossFit is defined in part as ‘constantly varied functional movement performed at relatively high intensity’. The magic in the equation is high intensity. That’s why it works. Think about your first few classes – remember the burning in your lungs and muscles? Being on the edge of throwing up? For a lot of us, that’s why we kept coming back! It’s also why people see such dramatic changes in body composition, strength and endurance in relatively short time frames. Their bodies aren’t used to it so they go into an adaptation phase to adjust.
Fast forward six, nine, twelve months. The PRs stop coming every week, your Fran time doesn’t get cut in half every time you do it and new skills are harder to learn. We have also learned what types of workouts and movements we like and, more importantly, what we don’t like. We’ve all said things like ‘ that only took 10 minutes, we never do strength work any more’ – blah, blah, blah. Why is that?
We have learned what we don’t like or we think it’s too easy. That 10:00 AMRAP of thrusters and burpees becomes too short, too light or just stupid -in our minds. Because let’s face it, nobody likes thrusters and burpees! So we do the workout, but we don’t remember the intensity piece because we don’t really like it. Everybody knows that 10:00 of thrusters and burpees done at high intensity will leave you in the fetal position in the corner when you’re done. Yet look around at all the people who finish and immediately put the weights away and head for the door.
So, my answer to the original question – It depends. Do we attack each workout with high intensity? Do we do the workout to get the intended stimulus or do we go Rx because there’s no way(in our mind) we will get stronger by scaling to a lighter load? Once we can answer those questions ‘yes’ 95% of the time, then maybe some additional accessory, strength or conditioning work makes sense.
Here are three ways to challenge your intensity:
*Set a goal for each training day. Maybe it’s perfect technique on your jerk or maybe it’s 7 rounds in the AMRAP.
*Record your efforts (you know – Wodify…) and then look back on them. Are you getting better? If yes, great. If not, see the first tip.
*Hammer your weaknesses (with good technique). If your kipping pull-ups make you look like a fish flopping on the ground – learn how to do them right. Forcing yourself to move correctly will bring intensity…
As always, bring your questions to one of the coaches. We’re all here to help you get better.
If you have ideas for future posts, let us know that too!
– Coach Tim Wait