Johnnie: Everyday at CrossFit looks a little different, some days we have long endurance workouts, some days we take more time for mobility and technique when focusing on heavier lifts, and some days we have a few different elements for the hour. All of these are incredibly beneficial and provide great rewards when done correctly. Becca has some awesome knowledge bombs for you guys…
Becca P: Before CrossFit, I was an elliptical girl. You know the type I’m referring to…camped out at the back of a globo gym with a TV, iPod, or book to keep from being bored to death. Usually with make-up on and some black workout pants. Hit the Quick Start option and boom, 30 minutes to nowhere.
I told you I was a very average CrossFit athlete when I started.
Why did I always do 30 minutes? The answer: 30 minutes sounds substantial. 30 minutes is a whole episode of Jeopardy and its about 7 songs worth on your iPod (trust me, I counted from boredom).
When I first started CrossFit (ugh, more “back in my day” references), I was shocked to learn workouts often lasted less than 12 minutes. Or that we rested in the middle of some (like an EMOM or programmed rest).
More is not always better, my friends.
The science: CrossFit was founded on the methodology that high-intensity, constantly varied workouts are best and the evidence supports this. CrossFit often uses a combination of high-intensity workouts (short, fast, hard), aerobic/endurance workouts (longer, heart rate doesn’t peak, you keep moving), as well as strength and mobility work. All have health benefits, but high intensity training increases your VO2 max (the oxygen your blood carries to your muscles to get shit done). The best athletes in the world have the best VO2 max.
What is considered high-intensity for one person is not necessarily the same for the next person: enter scaling, Rx, Rx+. Picture this: Brooks, Zane, & Becca P walk into a bar(bell filled room) to do Fran (21-15-9 thrusters/pull ups). We all do the men’s weight, 95# with pull ups. Fran is intended to be short and fast (more on intention later).
We all go as hard as possible. Brooks finishes is 2 minutes. Zane finishes in 5. Becca P finishes around 9. The workout changed for each of us. Brooks should probably do heavier weight and Becca should do less. Why? 1. Brooks is unlikely to reap much physical/health benefit from doing a workout that lasts <2 minutes and the weight was so heavy for Becca that she had to focus more on strength and spent less time in the aerobic heart rate zone cuz she did a bunch of singles. 2. it’s not the intention for the workout.
The intention: Johnnie just recently got her L2 where she learned more about the intention of workouts. We’re not geniuses. You and I don’t have our L2s or experience programming and coaching for varying levels of athletes . We don’t know what a workout should necessarily feel like, but the Coach and the Programmer does. That’s why these workouts are programmed the way that they are. They take the guesswork out for majority of us.
Take home point: The next time you see a 7 minute AMRAP, don’t sneer at it and think “I’m not going today cuz 7 minutes is pointless.” 1. You’re wrong and science supports it. 2. You know there’s lots of #summerbod accessory work coming your way 3. If you thought 7 minutes was easy, you did the workout wrong.