GRIP STRENGTH- STATIC HOLD (M- Chin Above the bar, W- 90 degrees at the elbow), Immediately (5 seconds) after falling below your specified range of motion athlete MUST begin Max rep KB swings to above the head (not Overhead, but slightly higher than the russian swing). Score is seconds in the hang plus total # of swings.
PACING AND GAMESMANSHIP– EMOMx 25 (down from 30) 2 Overhead squats for load. Score is total poundage across all 50 possible reps. I have to say, THIS is my favorite of the workout tests. The movement is like a a magnifying glass in terms of exposing structural weakness, stiffness and inefficiencies. The format and scoring give you, the athlete, a lot to think about. Do you go for it early and see if you can hang on? DO you look around the room and base your weight selection on how others are doing? Do you check the board and divide by 50 to see what you need to do per rep? If you CAN safely and effectively Overhead Squat to parallel, you should do so, even though your loads may be light. If you absolutely can’t hit depth with even just the bar, THEN AND ONLY THEN, scale to Power Snatches on the same format.
(NOTE- This was posted in July of 2013, but we have plenty of new people who may benefit from checking it out)
Regarding recovery: The exercise volumes in CrossFit are EXTREMELY HIGH. Whenever I have a foundations session with someone and they say words to the effect of “I’m in pretty good shape, I ride my bike a lot” or ” I lift weights 3 times per week” I have to stifle a smirk.
I say this with no sense that I’m holier than thou, as I had the same experience. But now,from the vantage point of 5 years in, I should stress that ACTIVE recovery is a big part of your fitness efforts. What exactly is “active recovery”? Good Question. Active recovery is taking conscious steps to shorten the time between the onset of significant muscle soreness and when you can train again. It is part nutrition, part rest and part manipulation (for lack of a better word). I will elaborate.
If I squat on sunday, I will likely be sore on Monday. If I do nothing to offset that soreness on Monday, I will probably STILL BE SORE ON TUESDAY. If I take measures to address that soreness, I may be ready to go on Tuesday. Over a given year that is X number more training days I now have given myself to improve. This is a big deal in terms of your overall fitness advancement.
Lets examine each aspect and how you can affect it.
Nutrition: Let me preface this by saying that first and foremost you must eat to your best advantage. Protein and healthy fats high, carbohydrates/starches low. Your water intake should be high, and whole foods are the best sources, if your circumstances allow such. I am firm in my belief that CrossFit need not be bogged down by 1) gadgets (this shoe and that wrist wrap, and that sweat band etc) or 2) supplements ….BUT…. after a certain point SOME supplements CAN impact your recovery efforts and therefore your fitness. On that front here are some of my top choices:
BCAA’s (Branched chain amino acids, whic are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine). High doses of BCAA’s (15-20 Grams) go a long way to offsetting delayed onset muscle soreness. as does
GLUTAMINE another amino acid that reinforces recovery efforts. Whitney, Jeff K, Kathleen, Nick and Myself (and possibly other I have forgotten) all report an immediate and tangible reduction in muscle soreness when these dosages of BCAA’s and/or Glutamine are adhered to,
FISH OIL: The science behind fish oil as an anti inflamatory is pretty compelling. Here you DO want to spend up to the higher quality brands like Carlson’s or Nordic Naturals and take more v less.
PROGENEX: This is the product we sell. Ou of reluctance to appear like I am “pushing” you towards buying it, I try to tread softly about singing the praises of Progenex Recovery, BUT I am a very big fan. I have taken supplements in some way, shape or form since I was about 14 years old, always with the results being kind of “Well, I THINK it works….Maybe. I guess it’s better than some things I could otherwise eat” and so on. Progenex was the first product where I felt a difference in muscle soreness on 1 dose on the first try. Every recovery shake on earth will say womething along the lines of “our proprietary protein blend is better than the next product’s blend” but in this case, it seems to be true. I’d say about 4 out of 5 people I’ve recommended it to have had similarly good results, and about the same percentage have really enjoyed the flavor. If you are constantly, substantially sore from what we do, the first product I recommend is BCAA’s the second is Progenex. I put BCAA’s IN my Progenex and I am bullet-proof.
Rest: Time off of working the sore muscle/bodypart is necessary, but again, our goal is to recover as fast as possible and get to training again. To that end, deep restful sleep is worth more per minute than rest while you;re awake. If you (like me) have trouble sleeping, first examine your intakes. Caffeine is the most obvious no-no. A central nervous system stimulant, caffeine will/can inhibit your sleep in all phases. Alcohol is less obvious, as it often helps you FALL asleep but significantly hinders DEEP sleep. Understand that the hormonal effects of deep sleep are significant and in their absence even 10 hours of tossing and turning light sleep will leave you at less than optimal recovery. Recently, I have had good luck in improving my sleep quality with Magnesium supplementation. Look for a magnesium supplement with the -ATE (like asparate) suffix not the -IDE (like oxide) suffix. Start with the suggested dosage and over 3-4 days work your way up to double.
MANIPULATIONS: Stretch, Roll and Temperature. Stretching is the one most people know about. An aggressive post workout static hold will go a long way towards offsetting your soreness. So, when you’re done with your squats, before you leave and sit in yuour car and contribute to further muscle shortening, STRETCH. 30 Second holds. Moderately Intensity. This can do a lot. PRIOR TO heavy or intense training I would NOT stretch aggressively.
Temperature manipulations 90% of the time, are a fancy name for ICE. This is a big and uncomfortable commitment. You have to get an ice bag, apply, suffer, deal with the drips etc. So much so that I only ice when it’s a big deal, say between day 1 and day 2 of a competition, BUT it is HUGELY helpful. You will suffer during, but you will feel a difference. The exception is IMMEDIATELY PRIOR to working out, you wouldnt want to Ice up the group about to work. Then and there mild heat is valid as it physically warms up the target group. Even something like the neoprene knee sleeves some athletes wear is a form of heat therapy. * Science is split on ice’s validity with several studies advocating against ice. I have seen enough soft tissue injuries where ice was applied in seconds or minutes do MUCH better than where ice was applied later or not at all, so I am an “Ice Believer” but it would be remiss of me not to mention the contrary studies. I have my theories on why some studies conflict, and am happy to discuss them.
Therapy Rolling: I’ve saved this for last because it is, per unit of time, THE SINGLE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR FITNESS. In the above scenario, if I squat on Sunday, I’m sore on Monday. If I “roll out” on monday, more than ANYTHING ELSE (IMO) I will be setting myself up for success on tuesday even if Tuesday is more squat demand. If i do nothing, Tuesday will likely be another lost day. The rollers and lacrosse balls are, per unit of time, your very best recovery tools, and they are free and they are idiot proof. I can tell you exactly how I think they should be used, and if you did everything COMPLETELY wrong, you would still have advanced your recovery. There are a million youtube videos on how to roll body part X. Please check them out or better yet, ask me.