This week’s skill is all about the squat.

Back Squat 3-3-3-3-3

followed by your choice of:
70 Burpee-Box Jumps for time
70 Burpee-Pullups for time

Post back squat loads and burpee time to comments.

Ego can mess you up. It can talk you into doing things you wouldn’t ordinarily do (like dress up for Halloween at your new school because it will be fun, only to get there and realize your new school doesn’t dress up). Ego can convince you of your invincibility, and what’s the worst thing that can happen (like riding a bicycle out of the back of your dad’s truck and landing on your face). Ego, we all know, will cause you to make bad decisions, just to prove to someone else of what you can or cannot do.

In CrossFit, there have been many times where ego got the best of me. Take injuries for example…. Injuries are innate in any sport. I’ve had my fair share in CrossFit, from small things like ripped hands to more severe sprained ankles….it’s going to happen. However, every injury I have had was not a result of the actual workout itself; each was a result of my lack of recovery, my lack of technique, or not listening to my coaches when I should have. It can be summed up easily: I let my ego get in the way. However, after years of CrossFit, I have learned a few things….

Technique is not negotiable.You MUST dial in your technique every lift, every WOD. It is not acceptable to say, “It’s OK to lose technique in a WOD if it’s heavy”, or “I have to get a good time.” No – that’s a recipe for an injury…let’s take Friday’s WOD, Fran, for example. Fran was designed to be completed in under five minutes, moving 95 pound thrusters for 45 reps. That’s 4,200 pounds, moved under five minutes. Two tons. Is technique important?? If you don’t want your back to hurt the next two days, yes. If you want to walk upright when you are 80, yes. Dialing in your technique and scaling necessary weights will protect your long-term orthopedic development, and though you may want a good Fran time now, you also want to be able to walk upright when you are 80 too.

When we say, “scale”, that does not mean you are doing any less. Scaling allows you to perfect your form and technique while having a high power output, and CrossFit, after all, is all about how much power you can produce. Read this from Again Faster and see scaling from a different perspective. Your coaches are watching your technique and advising you based on weight, form, etc. Listen to them because more often than not, they are telling you something to protect you from injury.

Recovery is a necessary evil. CrossFit can wreck your body. Over the course of a month, a typical CrossFitter (both Rx’ers and scalers) will move more than 25 tons of weight. Your body needs time to rest and recover, and every now and then (every six weeks or so), it’s a good idea to take a week off. We all have over-trained, and we all have a hard time resting. But if you have these signs of overtraining, it’s time to rest. Your body will thank you, and when you come back, more often than not, you may just hit a PR or two.

In case you were wondering, I have committed all of the over-training sins….just like I had to learn good technique, I also had to learn how to rest. I am the worst at taking time off, but the longer I CrossFit, the more I have learned I have to rest. The best advice I was ever given was, “If you don’t take time off, you can’t complain that ______ hurts” (insert your ailing joints/muscles). I have learned the more I rest, the less likely I am to get hurt (and often, the better my technique is).

Learn to check your ego at the door. Focus on technique and do not lift heavy unless you have the technique dialed in. You should not lift heavy if you don’t have the technique.

Lastly, ask questions. Our box is fortunate to have a high number of Level 1 coaches who have been around CrossFit for a long time. If you are chewing on something in your head, ask – chances are, we’ve all been there.

Post thoughts to comments.

Tuesday WOD, July 6, 2010

19 thoughts on “Tuesday WOD, July 6, 2010

  • July 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Nice write up. Can you start providing with the WOD what the goal shoud be? Using Fran as example everyone was over 11 minutes and some to almost 15 minutes (me). My goal was to do it Rx. If 5 mins is the goal then a lot of us should have been doing 45 # thrusters. Is that correct? Are we gaining more doing 45# thrusters with speed or 95# thrusters for strength, notwithstanding proper technique in both examples? thanks.

  • July 6, 2010 at 8:47 am

    David, that wasn’t regular Fran. The running alone probably took 4-6 minutes.

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Eric we talked about this yesterday though, scaling should be explained regularly with almost every wod. The “Fran” example is good for the discussion. Although a test of strength, Fran is an intense cardio wod, meant to challenge your power capacity in short time period. If it takes you 10 minutes Rx’d you are using the wrong weight. 5 minutes is good measurement. Pick a weight that will allow you to move straight through and finish (exhausted) in around 5 minutes. I think the coaches do a good job scaling for everyone, but unless you speak up, or ask a question, most likely your default will be R’xd which is probably the wrong weight. Ok, I’ll shut up now, but one more thing. If ever in doubt about what weight to use in a wod…ask yourself if you are able to go straight through without too many excessive breaks. If you are confident you can, try it r’xd. If you are positive you will be resting ALOT, then scale it back and you will get much more out of the workout by doing so.

    btw, I am looking forward to this months strength push, maybe I can join in on more classes now! I miss metcons. I did do 75 burpees in the rain last week, I will post the video later, its pretty sexy.

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:19 am

    David-great question….and in fact, Ryan and I were talking about that same thing just the other day. Yes, we will start providing goals in addition to the WOD.

    To answer your other questions, the answer is it really kind of depends. Using Fran as an example, it’s a whole different workout to complete under five minutes (and scale) vs. doing the Rx’d weight and finish in say 9 minutes. Power output is the key, and the only way to generate high power is to have a faster time (power = distance/time). If your goal is a high power output, scale the weight. Some days you may want a high power output (and therefore scale) and some days you may want to do Rx’d to challenge yourself (as long as you have the technique to support the weight). One is not more right than the other, it just depends on what your goals are.

    IMO, I think it is better to scale and have a higher power output. For every WOD, I like to get a goal in mind prior to starting the WOD to get a certain time, a certain number of rounds or a certain weight. If I need to scale to get that goal, I do. I have found for me, if I get in my “goal time” consistently over WODs, then I meet my long term goals for times/weights/ etc. more consistently too.

    How do you pick a goal? Find someone who is similar in age, build, CrossFit time put in, etc., and use them as a guide. I follow the main site, and my rule of thumb is to find Speal’s time and add five minutes to it – if I can stay in that time frame, I’m doing pretty good. 🙂

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Todays Metcon is about a 5-10 WOD, so really push yourself on the back squat. Almost everyone has a Total, so you should know your Max. Do 5×3 of at LEAST 80 percent of your max. Don’t slack.

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Angie I would love to see someone do 70 burpee box jumps / pullups in 5 minutes. If anyone is under 6 I will be impressed.

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Ya I understand Andrew. I just didn’t want David to be confused. Even with 45# on thursters one would need to haul ass to get under 5 minutes on “Running Fran.”

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Thats true! You doing todays wod Eric? This is great programming, you should get on it.

  • July 6, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Thanks. This helps. My confusion has been whether i should be doing Rx or say 10#s less than Rx when in reality for a Fran i should be 30 – 40#s less to meet time goals. Help has always been given when asked but i think if given the goal then that will help greatly. All the WODs are a beast whether Rx or scaled so if i can finish faster than before you won’t hear me bitching.

  • July 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Amie, outstanding post. Ryan and I had that very conversation about recovery last night – I took last week as an active rest / technique week, and felt great in yesterday’s workout.

    That power article you linked is awesome. The Zatsiorski book he discusses is on my shelf at home – I’ve studied it many times and never considered the power relation to crossfit. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on the science of strength, but it never occurred to me to apply it to our wod’s.

    How enlightening that article is, especially if you guys give us newer guys target times. Thinking about yesterday’s wod, Ryan said he wanted us sub-15 mins. I used a weight that was 10lbs too heavy relative to 50% of my 1rm for that exercise, and finished 15:59. Made me too slow. 10 lbs doesn’t seem like a lot, but over 36 reps . . .

    Keep up the awesome work.

  • July 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Andrew, if you get more than 5 minutes, I will be disappointed. Took me 9ish and Im twice as tall as you.. and lazy.

  • July 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    70 Burpees 3:27 (This weekend)

    100 burpee pullups 9:40 (a few months ago)

    But lifting today…again.

  • July 6, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    If I get bored at work I’ll do the metcon, but most likely I’ll rest.

    On the Again Faster article less than 50% of 1RM seems a bit extreme.

  • July 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    What’s the again faster article?

  • July 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Squat – 225, 255, 255, 255, 255 (all x3)

    Press – 45X10, 95X5, 105X5, 115X5, 135X5, 135X5

  • July 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Eric, to your point, the study pegs the max power output at 50% 1rm, not under. After I read the article this afternoon from Amie’s link, I found the study in the book he referred to. It was a scientific study on power output of elite athletes. The result of the study the author is referring to is explained: “Since [max force] and [max velocity] are inversely related, the power is maximal when the magnitudes of force and velocity are optimal – about 1/3 of max velocity and about 1/2 of max force.” The max force the study refers to is the athlete’s 1rm.

    So if we’re looking for max force output over time, especially for people like me who have only been doing this a few months and are still trying to get a feel for how we should scale the wod’s, using 50% max seems to be a real good idea.

  • July 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I like you man but your crazy.

  • July 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Not suggesting half effort there big man, but rather using max lift in an exercise to help us newer folks scale.

    The example from the article is a good one – how to scale Fran. Rx is 95 lb thruster, so people like you, Ryan, Lucas, Andrew who can thruster 190+ have no problem with max power on the Rx. I can’t, so my guidance for scaling Fran is 50% of my 1rm thruster, which would be more like 85 lbs. When I hit a decent time or raise my 1rm thruster, then I can push towards Rx.

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