Wednesday 150930

“Tabata mash-up”
:20 of work followed by :10 of rest, alternating between stations, x 8 rounds:
Ring support
Chin over bar hold
Squat hold (perfect form)

Post results to comments and BTWB

Who's excited for the next round of the #Teamseries?? It starts next week, Anna and Nate are ready to rock.

Who’s excited for the next round of the #Teamseries?? It starts next week, Anna and Nate are ready to rock.


Volume vs. Intensity vs. Over Training By Courtney “more is not always equal to better” Shepherd and Adrian Conway of Brute Strength

Let’s chat about the concept of over training. We have posted several blog posts over the past few months about over training. These blogs come about because we take notice to trends arising involving Verve’s members actually over training. I’m not going to repeat these blogs posts in their entirety but rather highlight a few main points about the detrimental effects of over training. This can include, but are not limited to, increased risk of injury, what I have lovingly referred to in the past as “cock blocking” your progress and gains, and the eventual need to be forced to take a lengthy period of time off to actually recover from the systemic bodily effects of over training. When it comes to over training I think there are really 2 issues to deal with: 1) The idea that increased volume automatically leads to increased/ improved performance, and 2) that actually taking a day off/ rest day will instantly make you weaker/ less fit. And ain’t nobody got time for that, right? Wrong. Before I dive any further, EVERYONE has time for a rest day, period.

Well let’s look at this from a Volume vs. Intensity stand point for a moment. Adrian Conway, member of Hacks Pack Ute CrossFit Affiliate Cup champs 2 years in a row and individual Regional competitor, wrote a blog at the beginning of the year addressing these two concepts. Here the list of the big questions most athletes ask themselves:

As a training athlete should you be doing more workouts? More skill work? Learning to play new sports…more often? More metcons in a day? OR should you be doing less better? Should you instead do 1 workout a day and attack it like there is no tomorrow? Maybe have 1 skill per day you focus on with all your heart in order to maximize the results? How about instead of always building to a heavy snatch/clean and jerk followed by some accessory front squats, overhead squats, snatch grip deficit dead lifts, banded clean pulls and then a metcon followed by some intervals……you simply warm up, do skill work for the metcon and hit it, no holding back, no pre fatigue. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

The Volume Approach

There are advantages to working out more often than others, period. Increased work capacity, increased ability to recover. You will be able to finish 3-4 day competitions better than your lesser-trained competitor. You will have had more exposure to unique combinations of movements, modalities, time domains, you name it.

But how hard are you really able to train during your 5th hour of the day? Do you ever find yourself saving just a touch of energy because you know something is coming next? How about on your AM1 strength session for your Olympic lifts – do you leave out 1 or 2 more attempts on your clean and jerk that may be your breakthrough reps in order to save up for the AM2 session of front squats? Does all the volume actually slow your body’s ability to respond to proper strength training, therefore slowing/blunting potential GAINZ? An even more applicable question is, in your PM1 session at the track, do you let off the gas just a touch in order to save yourself for your evening metcon because that is more “important?” Maybe you don’t even make the standards for your run paces due to the fatigue from your earlier strength session. In that case tell me, what was the purpose of the track anyways?

Just to do more because “more is better,” right? Well of course, the fittest man on earth 4 years in a row trains each day hours on end, so that is what you must do to become great.


The Intensity Approach

Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing the rate of return of favorable adaptation. In short, intensity gets you what you want. It’s where the magic happens!

Let’s look at what it may look like to train for 1-2 hours a day as a Games competitor. You walk into the gym, your warm up lasts 15-20 minutes, and the next 10-15 minutes are spent doing skill work for the movements that will be included in the conditioning session, along with some gymnastics static holds and positional work. You then spend the next 35 minutes hitting a few heavy clean and jerks and then getting through a series of heavy front squats. Following that, you begin the metcon that lasts 6-10 minutes, followed by a cool down of 10 minutes. A lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time, right? And your ability to get it done in such a short window allows for a long recovery between sessions from day to day. The primary advantage is that time spent in the gym is short and you can leave everything you have right there in that specific session. You visit the dark place in those 6-10 minutes of your metcon knowing that you are there to maximize effort, mental toughness, and physiological thresholds to the point of muscle failure. No breaks, no saving energy – what you have, you expend it.

What else do you get? Speed! Something that competitors in our sport generally overlook is the value of going extremely fast for 3-6 minutes. Why? Because it hurts, really, really bad, but a workout that comes up like that at a competition or the Games is worth just as much as the 12-15 minute chipper, is it not? What else do you avoid by getting in, training and getting out? Less mental fatigue. You hear about it all the time from competitors: “Oh I’m just feeling burnt out, I don’t even know if I want to compete this year, it is so stressful/ time consuming.” Well chill out bro, maybe workout a bit less, enjoy what you do. Others manage just fine with only 1-2 hours a day as stated above.

Fact is, there is more than one way to skin a cat. With this “Sport of Fitness” there are a bajillion and one ways (literally, and yes I said that). Do you want Intensity? Yes. Do you want volume? Yes. How do you balance it? That is going to be up to you and how you can fit your training into your life. I would also encourage taking an even deeper look into your athletic history, your age, your current strengths and weaknesses, your durability, how well you recover, your current stress levels, how well and how much you sleep, your nutrition…and the list goes on. All of these things should influence how you train day to day, cycle to cycle and year to year. If you need work on how you perform in the open, focus on INTENSITY like it is your job. If you are a Games athlete that looks around on day 4 and sees yourself getting passed or left behind by lesser athletes, then maybe you need to look at your training volume and make some increases at certain times. If you have no idea where to start, if you don’t know if you are training too much, or not enough, assess if you are improving. If the answer is yes, you are doing good things.”

This post is being brought to you today because I literally saw an athlete do the Verve weightlifting class (where heavy lifting occurred), followed immediately by the skilz class, followed immediately by joining the main WOD for another session of heavy lifting. During the main WOD this person missed the same lift 3 times and said out loud “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.” I do. This person had been working out for 3 hours in a row, their central nervous system is completely shot. That last hour in the main WOD was time wasted, it would have been better spent recovering/ mobilizing/ eating/ resting, and then coming back the next day to tackle that heavy lift. The negative effects of that wasted hour may not show up right away, but they will several weeks down the road, especially if this behavior continues. There will be no gains, no new PRs, there will be fatigue, and there may be injury. When fatigue and injury set in there are 2 ways to address it: 1) rest and rehab/ recover, 2) push through it. Option #2 means right about the time of the Open this athlete is going to be forced to take an extended, unplanned, and obviously unwanted period of time off to really truly recover from the damage done. MORE VOLUME DOES NOT EQUAL MORE PROGRESS. 

And again, if you are unsure as to whether or not you are over training, it’s simple. . . if you take a heavy lifting class and consistently miss a weight that you know you should get, causing you to ask yourself, “what’s wrong with me?”, and this is following a 3 hour training session. . . . you my friend are over training. A lack of progress should be your guide. 

Click here for full article.

*Details about Andy’s memorial WOD on Saturday will be in tomorrow’s blog post.

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