Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Muliti-Modal WOD Improvment Protocol
165x5 Push-Press, now pretty easy!
The eternal question: how should I best improve my WOD times?
Let's look at "Helen".
CrossFitter "X" comes to the WOD initially unable to get C2B pull-ups or swing the RX KB. It makes sense for them to scale (in fact there is no other possibility). At this point time to completion is immaterial: they have glaring deficiencies and should simply work towards getting the WOD RX at which point they will have clearly improved.
Once it can be done RX, I recommend approaching improvement from several directions simultaneously:
A: improve components through monomodal workouts, in this case, 400 M sprints, high-rep pull-ups, heavy KB swings. Does needing extra work mean the WODs are ineffective? No. Go to the main site and start looking over the programming. I guarantee you will find an example of, for instance, ME Front squat, ME Push-Press, Weighted Pull-Up, followed by Fran. CrossFit is not simply the metcons, but a sophisticated and artful periodization scheme (undulating periodization to be exact).
B: Doing the WOD as fast as possible, commensurate with virtuosity. I don't consider 1/2-assed form done blazingly fast to be legit or even RX. However in the case of Helen, if the KB is overhead knees, hips, elbows in full extension, and the athlete goes from full lockout to touching the bar to chest on every rep it would be pretty hard to complain. The benchmarks are just that and are there to measure progress. There are plenty of other one-off WODs where you can go balls-out, and in fact will not be able to game as easily as they are unfamiliar.
C: Doing the WOD focusing on weak points as in THIS example of selling out on the runs: it is a valid point that if you have trouble doing swings/pull-ups winded, you can improve by working that part of it.
I have found, over the years, that the inelegant method of throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks works rather better than seemingly better thought out schemes.