Thursday 170824

10 Round for time:
Row 20(16) calories
Sprint 200 Meters
Rest 1 minutes between rounds

Post times to comments and BTWB

Dueling Adams on the assault bikes.

Dueling Adams on the assault bikes.

Break, I don’t need no stinking break. . . .

Anyone that has been a member of Verve for any period of time knows how class starts off every day. We meet at the whiteboard and we discuss the WOD. We address the goal of the workout, about how long do we want it to take, how many rounds roughly are we looking to get. We address how the weights should feel, unbroken, broken once, broken no more than twice, etc. What are some modifications we can do if a movement on the board is outside of our current capabilities? After spending about 5 minutes at the board our goal is to have already helped all athletes start to make their workout game plan, a plan that becomes more solidified as we go through the warm-up.

Not everything we do has to be done unbroken, although some days the workout absolutely calls for it. But I want to address the desire to do something unbroken for the sake of. . . moving without stopping. But moving for the sake of moving can turn out to be at the expense of actually doing the movement correctly. Let’s throw out an example of ring dips, because we had these in a workout recently. The workout called for 10 ring dips per round. When the workout was introduced, it was advised that these dips be broken up, from the beginning, in an effort to sustain ring dips longer. It was advised to try working in sets of 5’s. Anyone could use bands to assist with their dips, but when it came to picking bands, the same game plan was advised. 

3, 2, 1, go time, and everyone is off. As the workout continued on I began to watch people struggle with their ring dips (both assisted and unassisted). I would watch an athlete lower a portion of the way and press up a portion of the way. When I saw this struggle happen, I hoped it would mean the person doing this partial range of motion ring dip would simply stop and rest. But they did not. They continued doing more dips, with each one meeting the range of motion standards less and less and less. I actually told someone to stop and rest. When they did, I mentioned that they were no longer doing the full movement, so shake it out for a minute before trying again. 

I’ve seen this with pull-ups, ring dips, wall balls, thrusters, etc. You name it, I’ve seen a movement be shortened to something no longer that movement, all in an effort to not stop moving. I admire anyone that can settle lovingly into the pain cave and just embrace the suck. I admire anyone who’s mind will tell them to continue to move, even if their body is no longer producing the same work. Because a strong mental game is clutch in CrossFit, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. But we cannot let a strong mental game always be the guy running the show (our mental game can also identify as female, I’m not sexist). Let’s chat about wallballs for a minute. I can move up and down while pushing a ball. And I can start off getting below parallel and getting the ball above the line, but about 15 wallballs in I no longer squat low enough and the ball is no longer getting high enough. So what am I doing? Not a wallball. It makes no difference if I hold on to a ball for 50 reps, if only 15 of those reps are actually meeting the standard of a wallball. Why? We train certain ranges of motion for every movement because working to those full ranges of motion are what strengthen our joints and the muscles that surround them. If we shorten range of motion for a movement the only thing made stronger is our cardio respiratory endurance. We are not getting stronger in said movement. And that is the key to this blog. 

Whether or not you feel like you need to rest, if you are not doing the movement correctly, you need a rest. Or you need a modification or some assistance. Or we need to lighten the load. But if I want to be better at ring dips, I need to do a ring dip. If I want my wallballs to improve, I need to do wallballs. Doing more bad pull-ups will never equal to more good ones. It just equals to building a solid volume base of bad pull-ups. 

Pat Sherwood, a long term employee of CrossFit HQ, long time programmer, previous Level 1 Staff flow master, and owner of CrossFit Linchpin (your favorite provider of the Monday Monster Mash), wrote about this similarly in an article published in the CrossFit Journal titled “Break Before You’re Broken”. Click here for full article.

Our daily goal should simply be to attack the workout with as much intensity as possible, doing the movements to their standards as best as possible, whether it is with assistance or some for of modification. Mechanics, consistency, intensity, that’s the mantra that gets us our results of improved fitness. 

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