As we come in the third week of the CrossFit Open, we can look back to 18.2, and 18.2A, and use it as an opportunity to learn. Just like we did with 18.1, let’s break last week’s workout and see where we could’ve improved. The second Open workout consisted of two parts: Ascending ladder of DB squats and bar-facing burpees (1 through 10) and a 1RM clean. Both parts were to be done in one time cap of 12 minutes. The workout was promised to be a burner, and it didn’t disappoint. The soreness could be felt days after completing the challenging task.
As soon as the workout was announced the majority of athletes were thinking “Should I go fast on the first part and lighter on the cleans? Or slow first then heavy?”. Naturally, we thought that by going faster we would smoke our legs right away, therefore not being able to clean that heavy afterward. If we saved our legs by slowing down the first part we would be able to lift more weight. Both parts were scored separately, so most people thought of it as a compromise between weight, and time.
There Are No Shortcuts
It turns out there was a third option: faster and heavier. As always, CrossFit tends to reward those who work the hardest. Think about it: the faster you go, the longer you have to rest, the more attempts you get at the barbell, the less worried you have to be during the second part of the workout. People that wanted to have rested legs for the cleans usually: 1. Didn’t get a good time on 18.2, and 2. Didn’t have enough time to work up to a heavy clean.
On the other hand, athletes that went all out right away were able to spare some time on the floor resting before moving on to 18.2. The logic, that the legs would be burning, wasn’t incorrect. Obviously, those that went harder in the beginning were more tired than those who didn’t. But there is one key component athletes were leaving out of the question when they contemplated “fast vs heavy”: the competition. It doesn’t matter if you worked out during Friday Night Lights, or Sunday morning, there were fellow athletes and coaches cheering you on the whole time. There is also the competition going on and the team aspect of it. This is motivation enough for most athletes to dig deep and pull out a top-notch performance. This was shown by the astounding amount of PR’s that happened this past week.
Short And Painful
If you look at the leader-board, you will see that what separated athletes was the first workout. This goes for in-gym competition and world-wide. Many of our own athletes tied in weight number, but the tie-breaker was their time. If you look and the total leader-board you can tell who is a world-class CrossFitter by their time, not their weight. So what does that mean?
CrossFit is based on short and challenging workouts. High intensity interval training. Overtime it has become about lifting heavy and doing workouts with 100 pull-ups, a mile and 200 double-unders. No doubt, those two aspects of fitness are very important, but more important yet are those 3-4-7 minutes AMRAPs of box jumps and burpees. Build your engine. Adapt to be able to keep moving under fatigue. You can get a great workout by pushing yourself on those types of workouts.
Every Second Counts
Specially on these shorter workouts, like 18.2, every second counts. What could you have done with an extra 15 seconds? Maybe finish 18.2, maybe get another clean in. If you polished your burpees or had a better transition between movements you probably could’ve shaved off a few seconds. But most importantly, ‘no reps’ are very costly. On complex movements like bar-facing burpees, one no rep could take 15 seconds off your time alone. If you had just 3 ‘no reps’, that would have cut down your working time considerably.
Knowing that, use the class times (metcon’s) to work on transitions and movement standards. Before each workout, think about how can you make each movement more efficient and still make sure you meet the requirements for a ‘good rep’. That way, when competition comes around, you can make every second count.
The second week of the CrossFit Open didn’t really teach us anything new. Instead, it reassured us of important things we might’ve forgot about. Keep working hard, efficiently and make it burn. 18.3 is a few days away.
by Coach Matt