Firstly, I wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate all those that participated in the CrossFit Open this year. We saw more members than ever moving up the Rx division which shows that everyone is getting stronger all round. There were some remarkable performances from both the Rx and Scaled division and it creates a great opportunity for me to go back to the drawing board, see what need some work and where to focus the next 12 months of training.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to make a special mention to Drew. No one can fault Drew on his enthusiasm throughout the whole Open (or realistically life). He not only killed every workout. He was invaluable in helping to organise, set up and run the Open this year. Helping firstly to brief me on the workouts as I sat in my lab at Uni and then we spent the next half of my class co-ordinating the logistics of some interesting workouts. It is safe to say not much learning happened for me on Friday’s. He transported gear between gyms, often times on my blue bike. Despite being the end of a long week of early mornings and late evenings he not once did he complain, if anything he was my voice of reason as I cursed the heavens at Castro’s 40 minute time cap in 17.5.
I also wanted to thank all of you for your hard work over the past 12 months. The Open is what I program toward each year as that is ‘the test’ of how everyone is performing as a whole. I was so proud at each open to see people moving well, with great technique. What we strive for is proficiency and quality of movement not just speed.
With the open now over we are back to business. There are a couple of things I wanted to touch on as we enter the next 12 months of training.
I will attempt to quickly touch on ‘Rx Syndrome’. Drew has mentioned it briefly in his open reviews. But let me first touch on ‘Scaled’. Can we all reset our mindsets to think of ‘scaled’ as ‘modified’. Scaled is not the poor, unloved sibling to Rx it is actually a very important step in your progression in mastering movement. ‘Scaled’ is the building block of Rx, where we return to if movement breaks down and is actually much, much harder at times than an Rx workout. However, something that we see time and time again is the mentality that‘If I hit a workout Rx I have made it!’ Incorrect. Firstly, Rx is earned from working hard and spending the time to master a movement or skill. This comes with consistency in training and time.
Each workout I program has an intended stimulus or outcome that we are trying to achieve. It could be things like– ‘we don’t want to see that bar touch the ground’, or ‘every rep needs to be unbroken’. We don’t say these things because we want to see you suffer- that’s just an added bonus. When programming I vary the stimulus to ensure we are constantly working all energy systems- sometimes you might even hit the same workout however the desired stimulus for the day may have changed from the last time you completed it. Sometimes we work on a high skill under time pressure or fatigue, sometimes we modify the skill to move faster and focus on other elements of the workout. It could be to see where you break down under heavy load, and sometimes it is just move fast and with intensity. With that in mind, an Rx workout hit without the intended stimulus is not chalked up as a good training day.
Looking more into the word ‘Rx’. It simply means ‘as prescribed’. If you are hitting the intended stimulus for a workout ‘As prescribed’ (or Rx) but modifying the weight to enable you to complete it with quality movement and good technique- then you have still realistically hit a portion of that workout Rx, and that will pay dividends in future. Visa versa if you hit the workout at an Rx weight but you do not achieve the desired stimulus that would be considered ‘modified’. Provided you are hitting the workout with the desired stimulus in mind you will improve. If you attempt to hit every workout Rx and completely disregard the stimulus for the day you will being to plateau and are at a greater risk of adrenal fatigue.
Training is not competition. As coaches we do not look to see who is leading on SugarWOD- we care to see that people are listening to coaching, moving well and hitting the workout as intended.
A recent example that comes to mind is Barbara. A relatively simple looking workout, all body weight movements. Just because it is a bench mark and you can do all the movements doesn’t mean you have earned the right to hit it Rx. The intended stimulus was to hit that workout in a 3-minute block every round. Unfortunately, Ego prevailed and we saw times hitting out to the 40-45minute mark. Did you hit the workout Rx if you missed the intended stimulus? No.
So I have taken our strength program in a slightly different direction. At present we are following a 26 week Wendler program. As you have noticed every 7 weeks the strength format will slightly change. As most have you have probably found 90-95% is starting to move a little easier than it was 13 weeks ago. Hang in there! Over the next 3 weeks we will be trying to match our previous 1RM, the following 3 weeks we will see how many reps we can now do at our previous 1RM. The next cycle (7 weeks time) we are going to start to push the boundaries and see where we are sitting and how much we have increased that rep max. On that note when testing 1RM try not to be lured into gearing up into every CrossFit accessory you own, if you only dust off your lifters, belt or knee sleeve’s every time we test 1RM it will actually skew your percentages moving forward.
Those of you that don’t have your 1RM breathe easy. As I am sure the coaches have told you, keep a track of your lifts on SugarWOD, aim to add 2.5-5kg to that lift every week. You might hit your first week of 3 x 3 at 20-30-40, next session it should look like 22.5-32.5-42.5 and so on. Increasing in small increments every week.
Every benchmark we will be putting a brief on SugarWOD to help give you a little bit of strategy before coming in to class. We do a benchmark every Wednesday, so there will be an opportunity to hit the workout again at a later stage. Don’t fall into the trap of Rx syndrome treat these days as a competition day. You should be hitting the workout hard with everything that you have- these workouts are supposed to be hard and hit with intensity. Make sure you record in notes your strategy, how it went and things that you could work on in future. That way when it comes around again you have a good plan of attack.
Looking forward to another great year of training. Don’t forget if you want to spend more time working on movements that is what our specialty classes are designed for. They will strip you back to the very basics and hone in on the technique required. If there is something you want to see more of let us know and we will try to make that happen.
Have a great week.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!