At CrossFit Dynamo, we like to create not just fit, but smart athletes. That’s why our coaches don’t just teach great technique but impart the expected stimulus for the workout as well. Further, we are always available to talk strategy for a workout of the day (WoD)!
But, during the WoD, it’s all you! And as we all know, it’s easy to follow a plan until you get hit. So, here’s a little tip to pay attention to while in the depths of the really tough WoDs.
First let’s think about your phone and the charging of it. The phone I’m thinking about shows a green bar when it’s full or nearly charged, yellow when in the medium range, and red when it’s at 20-30% of life left. What happens when you let your phone get to 80% (the beginning of the yellow range) and you recharge it to full? Doesn’t take too long does it?
Now, what about when you’ve let your phone get deep into the red? Seemingly, it takes forever to recharge, right? Especially, when the radio had to be turned off!
Well, your body’s regenerative powers are much the same way. When you go to failure in a movement, let’s say your last of the last pull-ups, your body won’t allow you to do another for quite some time. Yet, if you do a set of pull-ups and stop when you first start to feel the burn (the yellow range), you’ll be able to get back on the bar much sooner and keep moving. We call that “leaving a round in the chamber.” Or, not shooting your last bullet.
As an example, let’s say you have 20 pull-ups to do before moving to a new movement at the beginning of a chipper WoD. You can do 10 pull-up UB from past testing. If you do those 10 pull-ups, you’ll come down completely spent (in the red, 0% battery power). Probably spending 20-30 seconds before you can even think about getting on the bar as your muscles uncramp and you catch your breath. Then, you might be lucky to get 5, probably more like 3 and then you’ll be “out “ of pull-ups again for another let’s say 20 seconds. You’ll be working between a capacity of zero and 30% battery power. So, if we assume that every pull-up takes the same length of time, we just look at rest periods. First rest after ten, 20 seconds, plus, another 20 at 15, and probably another 20 at 18 before you finish. That’s a minute of rest to get it done.
On the other hand, what if you do only 5, leaving 5 in your body? So, maybe a quick 5 second rest, and then 5 more. Another 5 seconds and then you’re at 15. Even if you’re greedy and need another little break, you’ve only spent 20-25 seconds worth of rest (about half) to do the same amount of work! You’d be working between the 80% and 100% of your body’s capability and be done sooner. You’d have better Intensity and also feel better going to the next movement!
In another installment, we can talk about looking at a WoD as a whole, determining the systems in play and when it might be OK to sell out to get through to the next movement.
But, the key take away from here is, know your redline and do everything you can to stay under it. When you exceed it, you’re playing catch up for the rest of the WoD and your time (and soul) will suffer!