3 Rounds for time of:
21 Deadlifts, 185#(125#)
9 Front squats, 185#(125#)
Post times times to comments and BTWB
That was intense. Continued musings by the one and only C-Shep, #whatsupwiththat
If you have been paying attention then you have possibly picked up on a theme for the past several Thursdays. Mechanics, Consistency, and . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . INTENSITY!! I covered the importance of mechanics, poor movement leads to injuries. Then I addressed consistency, we have to do it right a lot of times to create good muscle memory and help us achieve our goals, again, pain/ injury free. And now here we are, at the last word in a short motto used to promote the understanding behind why we do what we do, intensity. Intensity is described in the CrossFit Level 1 training guide as “the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise.” Simply put, we train hard because we want to see the results of our efforts, be it heavier lifts, improved gymnastics abilities, decreased body fat, etc. Intensity is our results. As our adaptation to exercise changes over time, our level of intensity changes. Which is why we say that CrossFit is for anyone and everyone.
I’ve had friends tell me CrossFit looks “intense”. They tell me they’ve seen it on TV and there is no way they could do that. I know immediately they are referencing the CrossFit Games, and I would agree, it definitely looks pretty intense. But that is when I am quick to the charge to tell them that CrossFit is infinitely scaleable, and it’s intensity is proportionate to their abilities. There are two kinds of intensity, relative and absolute. Absolute intensity refers to the numbers behind the work being done. Every time you perform an air squat you move your body weight a set distance. I can plug the numbers referring to your weight, your height, and the number of squats performed in a given amount of time into an equation (force x distance/ time) and come up with a number. That number represents the amount of power you produced doing air squats. Cool. So what’s that mean to me? Do I get to walk around and brag about that number, “Hey guys, check it out. I just produced 21,000 foot pounds per minute. Jealous much?” Well, actually, you can. It’s pretty cool to sit back and plug the numbers in and have that perspective, but as I feel like I’ve dazzled you enough with my giant math brain, let’s move on to relative intensity.
Relative intensity is just like it sounds, it’s relative to each individual person. Relative intensity is different from one person to the next. CrossFit HQ quoted Matt Chan in a tweet saying, “Should grandma do CrossFit? Absolutely grandma should do CrossFit.” That tweet gave a link to an article in which Matt describes how grandma doing CrossFit may not look like a twenty something year old doing CrossFit, but they will both walk away getting the fitness they needed. We do this everyday. We scale WODs, we cut reps, we decrease weight, we modify movements. All of this is to give each individual athlete their relative intensity for that given WOD. Sometimes it’s hard to do those scales, to make those modifications. We tend to think doing that will rob us of our intensity. We are only as intense as we are powerful and we are only as powerful as we are intense. We can get the results out of anything if we put power and intensity into it. Maybe one day we lighten the load too much, we cut the reps too much, we scale the WOD too much. No such thing. We simply move faster and we create a different intensity, one where we do unbroken sets of reps, we never take a break and stop moving, we hold on to the bar the whole time. And then we walk away knowing we can do more for the next time.
CrossFit is intense. But that intensity is relative to each person needs. Grandma needs to be able to sit down and stand up without help. I need to be able to front squat the equivalent of a small pony so I can be the fittest woman in the world. When a workout with front squats shows up I’m working out right next to grandma, she may be doing air squats to a box and I may be doing 125# front squats, we are both experiencing intensity and increasing our fitness relative to our needs.
So why is intensity last? Because if I don’t have good mechanics consistently then I can’t increase my intensity. I can’t increase the load or add in more reps. If I focus on intensity first then it goes back to the idea of poor mechanics over time leading to injury. Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity, it’s not just a catchy phrase, it’s a guide to getting results safely and efficiently.
*In-house Oly Meet Saturday August 2nd @ 2pm. $10/ athlete. Sign up by emailing me @ email@example.com. Never participated in an Oly meet before? No better time to give it a shot.