2014 CrossFit Games Review, Part 2:
Things We Knew (That Were Confirmed)
1) The season is long. aka: Smarter, not necessarily harder. But harder.
To compete in the CrossFit Games, you have to put the work in. You’ve got to put it in every damn day. There are no off-days, only recovery days. On those recovery days, it is critical for the athletes to recover physically, but also mentally and emotionally as well. THIS — BY FAR — is the single most important but also the single most difficult things for the athletes to do and the coach to monitor. But it is what can and does separate the good teams from the great teams.
When you have a group of highly motivated, highly dedicated group of athletes willing to grind, suffer and hurt – the priority ha to be on recovery. The coach’s job is to ensure that her athletes are adapting to the training and progressing over the course of the season. There were days when I would have to modify training – or pull the plug altogether, if I thought that the goal of the session was slipping away. Pushing yourself to the brink, but no farther, is intricate and dangerous. Too little and you’ll show up unprepared — too much and you’ll show up a zombie.
The nature of CrossFit (our sport) is one that requires athletes to perform on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – and then perform BIG when it counts. The three stages of our season are spread out from February to July. I would argue that CrossFitters endure more physical stress on a daily basis than any other sport – ever. Managing injuries and mental states over the course of those 6 months is the job of both the athlete and coach. If you’re injured, you can’t train. If you’re injured, you can’t compete. If you’re burned out, you can’t do anything.
Some coaches and blogs out there trend too far to the “work” side of the continuum (maximum non-lethal dose). Some trend too far towards the “recovery” end of the spectrum (minimum effective dose). I think both have their benefits and drawbacks. The former has the ability to prepare you optimally for the mental test, while the latter has the ability to prepare you optimally for the mental test.
The key is to develop ways to train smarter AND harder.
2) Broad and Inclusive
To be a top Games competitor (Individual or Team), your training has to be broad and inclusive. It would be impossible to “train” every single aspect of fitness that might show up at the Games in a systematic and meaningful way in such a short time span (2 months).
However, there are aspects and elements of training that can and will transfer into many other aspects. For example, we made a make-shift Worm out of sandbags tied together with ropes. We trained with sandbags and with this modified Worm four weekends in a row. The men’s bags weighed 90#, while the women’s weighed 60#. It would be silly for us to have trained all year with sandbags and with the makeshift worm. What if the Worm had not showed up? It is one aspect of team competition, and one that places a high priority on teamwork and communication – but not necessarily fitness.
What we did do, however, was to train time under load — a lot. Every weekend from Regionals through the Games, we did some variation of extreme time-under-tension squats. One weekend was 20 reps of squats at ~70% of 1-RM — one rep every 10 seconds (3 minutes and 20 seconds under load). The next weekend was 3 sets of the following: 5 squats @ ~75-80% of 1-RM, hold for 1 minute, 5 squats. This translated very well to the Worm squat/burpee WOD.
We did not train with D-Balls. We did train with atlas stones. We don’t have a Bob, but we did train sled pushes and drags. We don’t have an ocean, but we did swim at Barton Springs every almost every weekend from the Open through the Games.
We did not focus on 1-RM strength at all, as our team was already strong – we did focus on strength-endurance and moving sub-maximal weight for high(er) reps. We trained everything that we could, within reason, but focused on things that would provide us the biggest bang for our buck and allow for the greatest amount of carry-over to other things.
3) We’re not the only good team out there.
There are a lot of friggin’ good team out there. In our Region, we proved that our three women(Ingrid, Chelsea and Lisa) were the best when it came to high-rep gymnastics movements (muscle-ups, HSPU and pull-ups). At the Games, lots of teams had women that were as good if not better than ours. It is paramount to go into the Games confident, but always humble and with respect for your competition.
4) The Open is not Regionals, Regionals is not the Games
3rd in the Open, 1st at Regionals, 21st at the Games.
Some of the top teams (Invictus, NorCal, Brick) were struggling on day 2 with what seemed like only a slim margin to qualify for the Games. But these three teams all ended up performing very well at the Games. Maybe they peaked just right, maybe the workouts suited their athletes and teams, maybe they just showed up to play.
Projections and past finished are just that.
Week 02 Training: 14.08.12
A. Every 2.5 Minutes x 6:
Clean & Jerk: 1@70, 1@75, 1@80
B. 3 Rounds Not For Time:
1 x Good Morning Matrix
14 GHD Situp + Rotation
7 Bent Over Barbell Row with 2-Count Pause at Chest
Lateral Band Walk
C. 4 Rounds for Reps:
15 Seconds ME Strict HSPU
15 Seconds Rest
15 Seconds ME Kipping HSPU
15 Seconds Rest