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

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Old 08-22-2005, 09:27 AM   #1
David Hirsh
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Newbie question on intensity. I read the FAQ and most of the archive and don't think I ever came across my question on scaling intensity as one gets into Crossfit via the WoD's. So here's a series of related questions:

I am trying to do the WoD's as precribed, with slight scaling of weight and some exercise subbing for exercises where I lack the proper equipment. I never scale the distance or intensity of any run, nor do I ever short the reps on any of the exercises.

During several WoDs I found myself doing everything I could to finish the precribed workout and I also found myself standing hands-on-waist for five or six breaths before continuing the next exercise or part of a broken set.

Does "snatching" rest pauses like this short circuit the point of the Crossfit regimen? Does it blunt the fitness responses the regimen? Is it more important to do continuous work than to do the every last repetition? Should I try to lower my overall pace on workouts with demanding lifts like cleans and sumo high pulls in an effort to do continuous work?

My preference is to err in favor of breaking sets to avoid failure and to do all the reps, even if I have to gasp a few times before continuing on. On the other hand, I want to maximize my workout time invested and don't want to attentuate the fitness value of Crossfit by going through the WoDs the wrong way. Any response appreciated.

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Old 08-22-2005, 09:56 AM   #2
David Wood
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Good questions. My $0.02:

Do all the reps. Lower the weight enough to do it in no more than 30 - 40 minutes.

With very rare exceptions (e.g., "Murph"), most CF WODs should take less than 20, and almost never more than 30 minutes . . . some are over in 4 minutes for the super-fit (e.g., "Fran").

Don't take any more rest than you have to, but yeah, snatching rest is OK. Simple test(s): are you gasping for breath in your rest? Is sweat streaming down your face? Do you feel like you might puke if you don't rest? If yes to at least two of these questions, 5 or 6 breaths to recover is a smart idea.

If you're just resting because it's hard, well . . .
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:04 AM   #3
Seth Orell, Jr.
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Welcome aboard, David.

I've not much more to add than what David W. has posted (good stuff!) but I can address his last point...

I've often felt as you described yourself (hands-on-waist; catching breath) and only continue when I think I can. Whenever I want to be sure I'm not slacking too much, I invite a friend to do the WoD with me. Nothing like a little friendly competition to push your times and stretch your boundaries ;)
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:50 AM   #4
Tony Budding
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I just posted this under "Murph" but I think it's more relevant here:
Maximizing power is the key to fitness. Lots of questions arise about modifying and completing workouts when the level of fitness is not sufficient to keep the intensity (power) high as prescribed. So far, I have not seen a good "pat" answer. The key, I believe, is to work hard and mix it up. Modifications of the workout are modifications based on what you can do. If you train hard, your capacity will improve. The next time you modify, do so differently and you'll get a new benefit, moving closer to the prescribed WOD. That being said, I agree that 40 minutes is a reasonable cutoff point for most WODs.

David, if you're training hard, you're getting benefit. I agree with everything David Wood said except sometimes keep the weight as prescribed (or close to it) and lower the reps. You'll get used to managing heavier weight, which has its own benefit.
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Old 08-22-2005, 09:47 PM   #5
Neill S. Occhiogrosso
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There are many ways to scale a workout. When the repititions are given, decreasing that number is the last way you want to scale. Breaking up sets and snatching rest are both better options. Decreasing the weight comes next.

I do the hands-on-hips, sucking wind thing a lot, but I get my best results when I start back up slightly before I'm ready to. I think you miss some of the goal of a CF workout if you let yourself recover appreciably. If you don't have a feel for this, you can time your mini-rests.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:44 PM   #6
Bryant Powers
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When I get tried I pace a small circle to my bucket(5 to 10 breaths) and then start in again. So it might like 18 pullups then a loop,16,loop,12etc. Just enough time so I can do more.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:21 AM   #7
David Hirsh
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Thanks for the personal experiences; your advice is helpful. The "Murph" thread and some of the linked threads therein were really helpful too. :happy:
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:32 PM   #8
Kalen Meine
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Doesn't everyone snatch rest? I thought that the pre-blackout-and-vomit pause was standard issue.
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Old 08-24-2005, 11:02 AM   #9
John Frazer
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On the Crossfit DVD even some of the "stars" stop for 5-10 seconds of air-sucking. So I figure you and I are in good company.

You'll be doing a lot less of it after a while, though.
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Old 08-24-2005, 05:00 PM   #10
Jim Aldridge
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I agree with Neil, snatching rest is pretty much a regular thing in my WODs but I have found that it is best to resume training before I think I am "ready." If you are like me, you came from a background of waiting a minute or more between sets. Back then, I was always comfortable with the idea of continuing my workout when my timed rest period was up. Now, with crossfit, I try to go back to work while I am still "dreading the idea of the next rep." More often than not, I find that my few seconds of gasping for air have allowed me to recover more than I thought it did. Not that the next few reps are easy or enjoyable, but I seem to get more reps in than I thought I would have while still being that fatigued.
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