Increased work capacity over broad time and modal domains.
The above definition or goal of CrossFit is what we’ve been deciphering over the past two weeks. This week, we arrive at our last installment, where we will discuss the concept of “broad…modal domains.” While we’ve eluded to this concept a few times in the past two posts (read them here and here), today we will dive deep into what this might mean for us.
Remember as you read, that the purpose of these posts is to give you context that will allow you to frame your view of training and how it applies to your life. Ask yourself why you train and then if the approach highlighted in these posts resonates with your “why.” Understand that this is part of the framework that we, as your coaches, use to construct our programs and services. It’s the context through which we approach how we coach you - understanding that might help us help you better.
Broad Modal Domains
Two weeks ago, we unearthed a well-known quote from Greg Glassman, co-founder and CEO of CrossFit, that went like this:
“Develop the capacity of a novice 800m track athlete, gymnast
and weightlifter and you’ll be fitter than any world class runner,
gymnast or weightlifter.”
Controversial? Yes. Logical? Actually, yeah. If we’re after fitness and health, which we defined previously, then extending our capacity for a wide variety of skills and abilities makes a lot of sense. Another foundational idea behind CrossFit is that of being prepared for the unknown and the unknowable. The easiest way to define this is: that’s life.
Life throws curve balls at us all the time: have a five-story walk-up and a righteous grocery haul? Either you have the fitness to carry it all up in one go OR you have the fitness to make multiple trips. Car breaks down on a county road in the middle of nowhere? Grab your bags and walk to the nearest gas station. Moving? Skip the moving crew, call up your buddies from the gym and have them help move the furniture and boxes. Dog gets off the leash and makes a break for freedom (true story in the Tripp household)? Sprint around the neighborhood until you corner her and carry her home. The point is we can’t predict what we will need to be fit for so instead, our goal is to be fit for everything.
So how do we train this? It seems a bit daunting to pursue training everything. Of course it is! But remember from last week that we’ve go time to do it. So let’s discuss the typical timeline of a novice to experienced CrossFit athlete. I’m sure many of you will be able to relate.
First, you start. It’s all new (or relatively new) and you feel challenged: physically, psychologically, emotionally. Every workout leaves you sore but feeling accomplished. You keep showing up for snatch days and gymnastics skill days in an effort to master them because you feel challenged. You feel like you’re building something, learning something new and that feels exciting! I often tell people that one of the reasons I find CrossFit so appealing is the ability to learn new movement. We do that all the time as infants and kids, even into our teenage years. But then we go to college, get jobs and stop. CrossFit allows us to learn again, through movement.
Next, you start to grasp these drills and skills and everything starts to feel amazing. You set personal records (PRs) every time you’re in the gym. You get your first pull-up, handstand push-up, double under, muscle up, you name it. Your on the upward swing and your capacity is growing exponentially. The bubble is expanding.
Then, after 6-12 months, it starts to get hard. PRs are hard to come by. You can’t break through the pull-up plateau you find yourself on. You are starting to get sore again and maybe not attending as often because it feels more defeating than empowering. You wonder why it’s not coming as easily as it once did and you start to wonder if you need a change.
You do! But not from CrossFit. CrossFit is still going to get you fit and keep you fit. However, if you want to increase your work capacity and therefore your fitness and therefore improve your health, what you need to change is how you approach your training. Your learning curve initially is so sharp! It feels awesome but we’ve reached the extend of our adaptation without deliberate practice on these skills. So we must shift gears. We must direct our focus at one or two things at a time. So we set aside a few weeks or months to get stronger or get better at bodyweight movements or get faster. We don’t abandon our base - CrossFit - but we take the time to improve our capacity for toes-to-bar because we know that being able to do more of those will increase our fitness gains in a WOD with toes-to-bar.
If CrossFit workouts are the litmus test for measuring our fitness, then it behooves us to improve the variety of things that we might see. Remember too that these “things” are meant to be unknown and unknowable. The ultimate goal would be to walk into the gym on any given day for any given task and complete it without knowing what that task is ahead of time.
In general, to be fit, we want to be good a lot of things, not just great at one thing. However, at a certain point, it is beneficial focus on individual elements to expand your capacity them. Just don’t get stuck on anyone thing and try to avoid biasing your focus towards things you’re good at. The things you see in workouts that you hate, that you have a visceral reaction to when you see them, are exactly the things you should be training. They are likely where your capacity can be expanded the most!
Last week, we discussed the new three-track system we’ll be introducing into our class programming in the new year. By discussing this idea of increased work capacity over broad time and modal domains, we now can see how allowing for seasonality in our training can benefit us for a long time to come. Over the coming weeks, we’ll discuss more about how you might look to structure your year at Kingfield in 2019 and beyond.
20 minutes to work on sets of 4 @ RPE 8
The focus of today is position under load. Athletes will work for 20 minutes building + completing 3 to 4 working sets of 4 at RPE 8. Athletes should focus on technique as we will be build over the next two months
50 Alternating DB snatches @ moderate **
20 Alternating DB snatches @ moderate **
14 minute time cap!!
** Our recommendation for the DB weight is 50/35#. Athletes may increase the weight if their coach agrees.
Emphasis today is on high intensity with perfect set up form!