Work Capacity Week 4


I’ll be at the CrossFit Games this week trying to get in whatever work I can between exhausting days of watching Eric work his ass off. I will miss training with everyone. I stumbled upon this link that is worth a read, The Any Asshole Workout. One thing I try to protect us from when I program is the Any Asshole Workout, although I do sometimes feel pressure to include more long grinders. Many of us began CrossFit by grinding away at conditioning workouts for up to an hour just trying to complete it. This gives you a great sense of accomplishment, and certainly bestows benefits in the beginning. But as you progress and become stronger and faster, you are able to pack an almost dangerous amount of work into 30+ minutes if you really push yourself there. This is particularly damaging to connective tissue like tendons. Once, long ago, I was at a CrossFit competition and a friend from Tennessee told me she had developed “the old CrossFit shoulder.” I remember thinking, “It is really fucked up that I know exactly what she means.”

So I try to keep things fun by throwing in longer pieces like the Viking Raid, 1-hour row, and Thunderdome Saturday. But I program them in ways that are less prone to break us down and make us devote three days to recovering from a single workout. Here’s some tactics I use to keep our long pieces from destroying us

  • Monostructural movements that lack eccentric motion, like rowing
  • Low skill movements like loaded carries that load your skeleton without repeated reps
  • Defined rest intervals to extend the total time you’re under metabolic stress, while keeping reps lower than if you were working constantly

I also steal some pieces (like this week’s Thunderdome Saturday) from places like CrossFit Invictus that have an excellent reputation. Of course, I don’t steal it blindly. I analyze it myself and ensure it fits well within our week. But the odds of a proven coach like C.J. Martin programming crap is essentially zero.

So if you find yourself asking, “Why don’t we do more long, ass-kicking hero WODs?” Well, that’s part of the answer. The other part is that when you throw all kinds of shit together in a single workout and do it for a long time, the effects become less predictable. Predictability is a good thing in training. I want to know that what I program on Monday doesn’t prevent you from completing Tuesday or Wednesday. I’ve found that really long workouts with multiple high-rep barbell movements are simply less predictable. If we’re trying to accomplish something important to your fitness like a squat cycle or deadlift program, then I want that predictability. That’s enough thoughts for today. Take care, and I’ll see you next week.

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