Part 4: "Hold Fast" - The Right Conditions for Conditioning
And now for the tough stuff. Strength and skill work are difficult, of course, but the lung-burning effects of metabolic conditioning is simultaneously the exciting dread and the gritty appeal of CrossFit. A lot of times, it's what draws athletes in-- and likewise, what keeps people away.
The high tides and rough waters of a MetCon can make or break us, so it's important to note: just because we will be moving with intensity doesn't mean we will abandon safety and efficiency. The same rules for strength work apply during a MetCon. Move correctly, move confidently, and reap the rewards of fitness. Namely, cardiovascular endurance, speed, stamina, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.
Here are some strategies to get the most from conditioning work. Anchors aweigh!
BEGINNERS: It's easy to lose sight of the horizon at the call of 3-2-1-GO! The ultimate vision? Lifelong fitness through safe, strenuous, effective exercise. Keep the following items in mind to hold your head above water as you maximize your MetCons.
1.) Be Smooth Move well and move with purpose. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Work with efficiency to make gains and prevent injury. Stay organized in set-up to keep from drowning in poor movement patterns. (Think exercises like Wall Ball Shots, Deadlifts, or Kipping Pull-ups.)
2.) Be Responsive Keep an ear open to coaching cues. Just because it's go-time doesn't mean we leave you alone. In fact, many movement issues are best seen when intensity is thrown into the mix. Your coach is your proverbial life jacket. Listen close. Don't ignore persistent reminders on body positioning and range of motion.
3.) Be Patient We've said it before: fitness takes time. Cardiovascular endurance in particular is a journey that deserves persistence and patience. Jump ship too early and you'll be back ashore at square one. Follow the programming and trust in the time domains, whether long or shorter in session. In other words, let the workouts work.
VETERANS: Humility can benefit even the most experienced athlete. Be willing to do some self-reflection-- how can you improve your conditioning? Is it consistency... method... execution? To keep from treading water in your fitness journey, maintain the following approach to MetCons.
1.) Be Prepared Just like strength work, strategize to get the most from your conditioning. Look at the rep scheme, check out the time domain, and know how you metabolically respond to certain movements. This will help you move fast and take breaks where needed. Repeating a MetCon? Any notes from last time can give you a leg-up on the retest. (Think benchmarks like Cindy, Murph, or-- oh no-- Fran.)
2.) Be Flexible Although strategy is nice and all, in reality that often gets tossed overboard during the storm of a rough workout. Be willing to reel yourself in, especially if you find yourself frustrated, and adjust your sails to keep moving. Also consider forcing yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while. For instance, if you know you tend to fatigue in longer, higher volume workouts, go out fast from time to time and embrace the discomfort of lactic threshold training. This purposeful variance, even with strategy, can propel your conditioning forward.
3.) Be a Role Model Uphold the standards. Demonstrate full range of motion and honest, hard work. Instead of cleaning up early, remember you have a crew to cheer on. Give encouragement after you finish-- you were once in those new shoes and benefitted from a community that decided to pursue fitness in a group environment. Helping others will help yourself to keep pushing with the positive current. And thanks for being our captains in this venture.
RECOMMENDED READING: MetCons Learn about the lure of the MetCon and the dangers of addiction.
Variance Variety is the spice of life. But is it the key to fitness?
Scaling Increase work capacity more efficiently by correctly scaling. Check out how.
This is part four of a six-part series entitled Maximizing Your Amplify Experience. Stay tuned for more.
- Scott, 7.28.2017