OPEN SERIES – WEEK 3: Workout and Tips

In week three of our Open Workout Series, on Friday, 1/20, during all classes at Kingfield we will be tackling:

Open Workout 13.2

10 minute AMRAP

5 Shoulder to overhead (115/75)
10 Deadlifts
15 Box jumps (24/20)

After last week, we decided on a very straight-forward workout for this week. This week, we’re going to introduce a new concept as it pertains to classifying these Open workouts. Those of you who joined us for last Saturday’s session, where we did 14.3, have a heard a bit about this concept already. The hope is that you learn to classify your workouts to better know what you need to improve on once the Open is past.

CrossFit workouts, and Open workouts in particular, challenge us in three different ways: Strength, Skill and Suffering. It can be just one of these, some combination or all three that keep us from achieving the performance that we want. In week 1, we had double unders and light snatches. For most of us, the hold up from performing this workout as prescribed is skill-orientated (double unders). For those proficient at double unders, the limiting factor becomes suffering – how long can you keep going despite fatigue? Despite your lungs being on fire? In week 2, we saw the limiter slide more towards strength. The heavier the barbell got, even if it was a weight we could handle on its own, the harder it got to perform the snatches. This workout, if we really dissect it, was a pretty perfect cross-section of all three. You had to be strong enough to lift the weight, skilled enough to lift well under fatigue and you had to be willing to suffer (high volume and longer workouts almost always tend to induce this).

So what do you think about this week? We would consider the barbell load moderately light, so strength is a smaller factor (still certainly a factor, though). The reps are lower and the workout is shorter. This falls right in our “suffering” category. How long can you maintain the same pace through the same three movements? Can you go right from the box jumps, pick up the barbell and go into your next round? Where are you going to catch your breath?

You may also be wondering why we might consider suffering a good way to classify a workout. Alliteration aside, suffering is capacity. It is our ability to handle a certain workload for a certain amount of time. The longer we can maintain that effort, the fitter we are. Ultimately, you ARE here to get fitter, right? Another way we can use these classifiers are modes of fitness: we can dedicate our training to each individual part, one at a time, or use them in combination.

However, if you truly want to get stronger, you must focus on strength. If you truly want to get a handstand push-up or a bar muscle-up or a double under, you must focus on developing those skills. If you truly want to do workouts faster, you must focus on increasing your work capacity and your breath control (primarily cardiovascular; strength does factor here but that’s another post).

Your focus in these must include the mundane, the not-so-sexy isometrics and positional drills and core work. This might mean taking a break from heavy squats and deadlifts to focus on kipping drills and handstand holds. This might mean dropping your conditioning and jumping into Coach Tony’s strength class. This might mean going slower in a metcon in class to focus on your breathing every rep you perform. Or this might mean showing up to class and budgeting a little extra time either before or after class to practice double unders or run a few intervals on the treadmill.

Let me be clear: we are NOT advocating more and more and more training. Remember from a past post, we always are looking to train smarter, not harder. Notice above it says “dropping your conditioning and joining strength class.” To improve in one of these individual areas – strength, skill, suffering – dedicate your whole self to it for a month. See what progress you have made and then reassess. But commit to it and see where it takes you. And as you continue through Open Prep and the 2017 Open, take note of where you excel and where you get hung up. Chances are you should direct your post-Open training focus on the category that you struggled with.

-Coach Caitlin

Saturday Noon Open Prep WOD 15.3

14 minute AMRAP

7 Muscle ups
50 Wallballs (20/14)
100 Double unders