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Workout of the Day Questions & performance regarding CrossFit's WOD

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Old 01-05-2008, 12:11 PM   #1
Mischa Williams
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tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

Iíve got some questions on doing tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round. For example today I did pull ups and push ups:

Pull ups: knocked out 32 as quickly as I could over 3 rounds, Then hit 2 more in my 4th round and failed. So I switched to jumping pull ups and did 128 of those.

Push ups: similarly I knocked out as many as I could over the first few rounds and then began to fail a few seconds into each round so Iíd plank for the remaining time (very painful). I was able to get a total of 90.

So, for push ups and pull ups should I:
a. pace my self, donít try for maximum speed at first just keep it slow and steady so I donít hit failure (until maybe the last round)
b. go as fast as I can and when I hit failure switch to a static hold, like a plank for push ups or a dead hang for pull ups
c. go as fast as I can and when I hit failure so a similar less muscular demanding movement, like jumping pull ups for pull ups or knee push ups for push ups
d. go as fast as I can and when I hit failure just rest until the next work round and then go as fast as I can until failure then rest, etc

Any advise? Thanks, Mischa
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:00 PM   #2
Andrew G. Greenberg
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

pace yourself. go for a tabata with nice consistent intervals. so for pullups you could aim for 8 sets of 4. i like this method because it becomes hard to compare tabatas when you have all these subs. however you quantify a plank or a dead hang, its just going to complicate scoring.

listen, if you are new to CrossFit you shouldn't be going as fast as you can. aim to complete the workout at a steady pace with great form. once you are ready, then go as fast as you can.
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:29 PM   #3
Mischa Williams
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

Thanks Andrew.

I'll follow your advice. If I do pace my self but still hit failure towards then end should I just rest for the remaining work period, through the rest period, and then try again at the next work period?
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
Andrew G. Greenberg
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

if you hit failure at the end then you have not paced yourself properly. you should not be failing at all. its OK to have a few reps left at the end. if you fail at 4 pullups per round, go down to three.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:07 PM   #5
Mischa Williams
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

got it. Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:24 PM   #6
Shane Skowron
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

It's okay to rest before the allotted time is up in order to maintain consistency.
Usually when I do the TSE, I start out with 18 pushups or so which only takes me about 15 seconds. That leaves me with 5 extra seconds to rest, which is okay, to the best of my knowledge. I can do 30 PUs in 20 seconds, but there's no way I'd be able to hold that for 7 more rounds.

For a regular tabata, the idea is to have your lowest score not really be that much lower than the others. Although for the Jan 5th WOD, it's just to have the most reps in total, so it's a little different.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:01 PM   #7
Gant Grimes
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

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Originally Posted by Andrew G. Greenberg View Post
if you hit failure at the end then you have not paced yourself properly. you should not be failing at all. its OK to have a few reps left at the end. if you fail at 4 pullups per round, go down to three.
Are you talking about Tabata This or the protocol in general? If you're doing Tabata to get better, than you're going to see a big dropoff by round 3. If you're doing them in the once-every-two-months CF program, then sure, pace yourself.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:51 AM   #8
Andrew G. Greenberg
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

Gant, I'm talking about doing Tabata Something Else when you're basically a rank crossfit novice. no doubt the greatest benefits can be achieved by going all out, but you need to have a base of fitness/endurance and consistent form before you can do that.
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:25 AM   #9
Ryan Norman
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

I would say it depends on whether you want to get a "true" score on TSE, or you want to improve your pullups and pushups so you can increase your score later on. If you want a true score to measure progress, I would follow Andrew's advice. However, if you know about what your score will be and just want to improve, I would do dead hangs or jumping pullups, etc... like you stated earlier. Obviously your score will be off, but that will help you progress better than pacing yourself, imo.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
Gant Grimes
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Re: tabata intervals with exercises that I hit failure on before the 8th round

Andrew, I figured that's what you were saying, and I agree 100%.

Mischa, this topic--pacing or going all-out on Tabata--is a good question and frequently debated. Here are my opinions on the subject.

In terms of return on (time) investment, Tabatas are the best thing you can do to improve your CrossFit performance. If you spend 3-4 (6-8 rounds) minutes each week on pullups, pushups, squats, and situps--major components of CF WOD--your numbers will dramatically improve. If you work Tabata in this way, you must go all out. You will crash by the third round and coast in on a haze of pain.

In terms of workouts like Tabata Something Else, you should pace yourself and game the workout to get the best score (whether it's total reps or lowest number). CrossFit doesn't do Tabata enough to get their benefit, so there's no point in going all out. It's a benchmark workout, not an improvement workout (although the suck factor is still extremely high).
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