Two weeks ago commenced the 2015 CrossFit Open, a fitness competition open to anyone who wants to sign up online. Participants compete in five workouts over five weeks in hopes of making the CrossFit Regionals or just to see where they stand amongst other CrossFit athletes. Last year, the Open reached more than 209,000 athletes from around the World. It’s sort of a big deal at CrossFit gyms. The entire gym membership (community) comes together to test out the workouts. In my opinion, it’s a good example of a fun opportunity that can actually impede your training.
At the gym the last week, I was peppered with questions from some of our athletes on how to balance the Open with their endurance goals. Loved it because it shows me how much they care. I’ve got a great group of people in this respect. For me, it’s been a question that has crossed for consecutive years. Should I do the workout? When should I do the workout? How is this going to affect my training?
Athletes who really care (or have an end goal) ask this question because opportunities to workout come up all the time. Working out is sexy. It’s fun to run tons of miles, lift heavy weights, and crank out pull-ups. Working out is the easy part. The difficult part is establishing why you want to workout and why that workout is important to you. How does the workout actually make you better? How much closer will you get to your goal?
Right now, I’m training for IM New Orleans and I want to go faster than 4:45 because I enjoy pushing myself to my full potential. I like working towards something for a given period of time and being able to tell myself I put in the hard work and achieved my goal. I enjoy testing my own program carefully developed with the guidance of Craig. I have a ton of autonomy with my program. That said; what’s it to me if I’m able to do 100+ reps of overhead squats and chest to bar pull-ups? Last time I checked there wasn’t a barbell on the bike course of Ironman or a pull-up rig when you get to the run course.
Having a goal is one thing, but knowing why you have a goal and caring about what affects that goal is whole different animal. I was listening to a podcast recently where a strength and conditioning coach said he hated the word “workout” because it has no meaning. He went on to say that he refers to workouts as programs because when you’re on a program is has purpose.
All and all, I continue to put my program before the CrossFit Open workouts. Heck yeah it’s a crap ton of fun competing with everyone at the gym, but nothing will sacrifice my end goal. I’m already limited by time!
At the end of a cycle, I’m typically burnt out by this focus, but that’s just because I care so much and have fun caring. Get attached to your goals and take breaks. Mess around in between training programs and turn it all off. However when it’s on and your goals challenging – you have to stick to the program or redefine your goals.
AM: Speed Strength Day
Power Cleans. 3 Reps OTM for 10 minutes at 145#. Complete
Front Squat. 5-5-5. :02 pause at the bottom of each rep. Keep these light to medium in weight and FAST in execution #125
AW: 3×35 GHD situps
Purpose: Strength. Speed. Power. Posture. Pull.
When done correctly, power cleans are a great way to build explosive strength with endurance athletes. They’re very technical to learn, but teach hip extension, a movement pattern that translates directly over to sport. Also, both of the above movements are designed to be fast in order to tax the phospagen system (an energy pathway) rarely used in endurance sport that calls on fast twitch muscle fibers. Taxing all energy systems builds aerobic conditioning and is the best way to develop a strong well rounded athlete. Oh and the GHD Situps? Don’t even think about doing too many if you haven’t executed them before. Pretty viscous on the hip flexors, glutes, and abdomen yet a great exercise to improve strength in posture for my sport.