By 12/07/2014 Blog No Comments

Looking to get the most out of your workout?  You have to know how to get the specific stimulus out of a workout ~ And that’s partially what the coaches responsibility is, to scale the workout so you can receive the appropriate adaptation from the workout.  We aren’t scaling your workout because we think you suck.  Our workouts are programmed for the elite level athlete….The coaches still scale many of our WODs.  Check your ego at the door and pick up a barbell, even if it’s at a scaled weight

Step into any CrossFit box across the world and you will hear people constantly talking about intensity. Odds are you will probably see it plastered up on the wall somewhere in most of them. CrossFit as a whole, regularly uses the word intensity to describe its programming. CrossFit is observable, measurable and repeatable. If we cannot observe, measure or repeat our actions we have no way of measuring our fitness. We measure our fitness in CrossFit by power output and intensity is directly correlated to power output. This means that intensity is directly equal to power.

Power is measured by taking force x distance which is then divided by time (P=fxd/t) By constantly varying the elements of the power formula, we can provide the broadest adaptation possible over different time and modal domains. In a workout like Fran, we must decrease the time element in order to produce the greatest amount of power because the other elements of the WOD are fixed. The 21-15-9 rep scheme of 95# thrusters and pull ups never changes. We must decrease the time in order to increase our power output.

Every WOD is designed to elicit a specific stimulus. By constantly varying the different domains of the WOD such as the type of work, the time spent performing the work or the weight required during the WOD, we directly fluctuate the amount of power either required or power output during the workout. It is important to understand that volume isn’t always the answer to intensity. There is a reason we do not always pack as much “stuff” into your hour long training session as we can in order to increase the intensity.

I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Chris Spealler about intensity not too long ago. If you don’t know who Chris Spealler is, a short internet search will show you he is a top level CrossFit Games athlete. What you may or may not find is that he is a phenomenal CrossFit coach. He explained to me that CrossFit is fitness with speed wobbles. If you have ever been on a skateboard, bicycle or other similar conveyance and have started to travel a little too fast, you start to get what are called speed wobbles. These speed wobbles are an indicator that you are probably about to crash. If we don’t back it off a little, we are going to crash and burn. This can be directly related to CrossFit. During the WOD, what ever the time or modal domain may be, we need to push ourselves until we start to get the speed wobbles. Once we get there, back it off just a little bit so you don’t crash and burn.

This analogy has served me extremely well. If you don’t know how far you can truly push yourself, you will never get to the point of the “speed wobbles.” Once you find that point, it is equally important to learn how to back it off just enough so you don’t crash and burn. So, the next time your are headlong into a WOD, ask yourself “Am I truly pushing myself to the point where I am about to crash and burn?” If your answer is yes, then strong work. Now back it off just a bit to produce the highest level of intensity possible for that particular domain. If your answer is no, then you need to ask yourself the question again. If you are constantly coming up with a no, then it’s time to re-evaluate what you are doing in your WODs. The 10:00 AMRAP isn’t designed to be a nice little workout to give you a break, that’s what rest days are for. Push yourself each and every time you are in the box and you will start to see a drastic improvement in your overall fitness and power output. Constantly produce the highest power output possible for the WOD and you will start to find yourself at the top of the whiteboard

Power output and intensity is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the coach. The coach is there to guide you and provide active feedback during the WOD. They do not provide the intensity. Sure they can scream and yell and give you motivation to keep going, but it is the athletes responsibility to bring intensity to the WOD.

If you subscribe to the CrossFit Journal, take a look at the article and video below by Pat Sherwood, a CrossFit HQ and seminar staff member. If you aren’t a subscription member, I strongly encourage you think about starting today. Links to the journal can be found all over our website.

Intensity and it’s role in fitness ~

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