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

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Old 08-20-2005, 02:36 PM   #11
Matt Gagliardi
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Scott, you'll see that different workouts are arranged in different ways so as to accomplish different things...

There is a benchmark workout called "Angie" which is high-rep sets that are meant to be done to completion in a specific order. 100 Pullups, 100 pushups, 100 Situps and 100 Squats...finish each exercise before moving on to the next. That workout is specifically designed (IMO) to work muscular endurance. It's inevitable that people will have to break the set of 100 Pullups (for example) yet the word "partition" is not used when Angie is designated. The longer you can work(endurance)...the more reps you can get of an exercise before taking a rest break...the higher your power output (and hence your score) because you'll take less time to complete each set and the workout as a whole.

Then you'll see a WOD like Cindy...maximum rounds in 20 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats. I think it's fair to say some of us could go on all day with such low-rep sets. Muscular endurance is less of a factor because you're getting rest built-in to each set (when you're doing pullups you're not working chest or legs, when doing pushups you're not working back or legs, etc.). In a workout such as that it becomes about speed. How fast can you go?

And yes...of course...if you're keeping your HR up, etc. that will provide a different challenge than a WOD where you're having to take significant breaks in order to continue w/a specific exercise. That's a given...and it's why workouts are written differently. You don't want to present yourself with the same challenge each time out, right?

If you do a 20 round Cindy you've done the same amount of work as Angie...but you've approached it in an entirely different way. You've worked your body differently. How each WOD should be approached depends on what the intent is...you've got to pay attention to how it's written up and think about it a bit to figure out what the goal is. There are also different thoughts regarding "managing" a WOD vs. "selling out". IMO, "managing" will often get you a better time, but "selling out" can result in greater long term improvement (though your performance will likly suffer in the short term). There's a lot of experimentation to be done...

As far as the "rule", I'm looking for message board posts. It's something I've seen mentioned in the past both in the message board in in WOD comments. Hopefully I didn't just stick my foot in my mouth (it's been known to happen...though I swear I've seen this discussed). I'll keep looking, and go through the CFJs as well. If one of the higher-ups sees this and can link or jump in with a comment I'd appreciate it.

EDIT-

I've got to run to the pool before it closes. Read these threads:
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/21/3058.html
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/21/5793.html
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/24/9731.html

They are a place to start regarding cut-off points, etc. I think the idea is that intensity here (CF) is paramount...and at some point you're really not able to be intense anymore.
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Old 08-20-2005, 06:50 PM   #12
Tony Budding
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I think there's a difference between taking a really long time on a normal WOD and doing what it takes to complete a really long WOD like Murph. I think this is especially true for these workouts that are dedicated to fallen soldiers. I see some kind of integrity in going the extra mile (or extra hour in this case) to complete it. Lord knows these guys do that in service to us and the country.

I think the other comments and other threads (thanks Matt) did a good job of identifying the various factors related to quitting vs. not quitting. The only thing I would add is that one of the pillars of CrossFit is variation. Throwing in one of these super-high volume workouts a few times a year, even if they take over an hour, seems like appropriate variation.
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Old 08-20-2005, 08:03 PM   #13
Matt Gagliardi
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I would heartily agree that the memorial workouts are something of an exception Tony. For them I'd go all day.

I guess what got me going down this thought process was one of the earlier posts re: the use of the word "partition" in the WOD instructions. I read/understood it (and always have) to designate that we were meant to move throught the calisthenic portion of the WOD as quickly as possible...breaking up and mixing exercises as necessary to accomplish that goal. In no small part to keep peak intensity...which has a tendency to decline the longer a workout goes on. I should have done a better job of explaining that, and probably should have written that I've heard the 40 minute figure used as a guideline rather than designating it as a "rule".

End of the day...do whatever works for you as an individual.
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Old 08-20-2005, 08:49 PM   #14
Scott McAndrews
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Matt,
Thanks for the very thoughtful answer and I will check out the links soon! How would you define "peak intensity"? I know that's a weird question and maybe it has different answers depending on the workout. Possibly the answer is "you know it when you're doing it". I'm not trying to overthink anything - in the end, I think intensity is about pushing as hard as you can throughout the workout. That said, I would still be interested in how you, and others, define it. Thanks, Scott
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Old 08-20-2005, 09:59 PM   #15
Matt Gagliardi
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I think you're right Scott, it's a tough concept to define. I'd say it's a combination of bringing both maximum physical effort and maximum mental focus to bear on an activity. At some point those qualities start falling off...and you reach a point of diminishing returns. I suspect that this is a fluid point, different not only for each individual but for a single individual performing different activities.

Have you ever been working out and realized that you've hit the wall and you're no longer getting quality work/performance? At that point, does it make sense to keep working? What are the "pros" of continuing and how do they stack up against the "cons"? WODs are supposed to be nasty and brutal...but I think you've got to be wary of grinding yourself down with extended "slogging through". Not just in a given WOD but over time as well. Believe me, I'm all about being mentally tough and I think that's developed in tough, unpleasant workouts...but there's a fine line between developing mental and physical toughness and wearing yourself out (both mentally and physically).

Get in...get quality work done...get out. Just my $0.02.
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:48 AM   #16
Seth Orell, Jr.
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Matt,

I've not seen the term "interleaving" around the boards either (until now!) but it is a common term to describe what I'm talking about in Mathematics/Computer-Science. If "partition" is used differently here at CrossFit, then I'll use the local definition and keep on trucking. It's a tough workout with either approach.
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:58 AM   #17
Matt Gagliardi
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Seth, you may want to ask Coach directly. I don't like to steer people wrong (or speak for others), so I'd suggest getting a second opinion just in case ;)
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:42 AM   #18
Alexander Karatis
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I'd loosely define intensity in the following way:

1. Absolute Intensity
The amount of work done in a set amount of time.

2. Relative Intensity
The amount of work done in a set amount of time, relative to a person's best performance.

3. Relative Relative Intensity
The amount of work done a set amount of time, relative to a person's best possible performance at that time.


Rob Faigin has some more scientific explanations of intensity in the cheesy, but really good Natural Hormonal Enhancement.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:42 AM   #19
Tony Budding
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I think Matt's point about power is right. Maximizing it 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.
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:09 PM   #20
Jeff Martin
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I just stumbled on to this thread. I did the workout straight through. My workout partner broke it up 10-20-30. We are both shuffling and complaining the day after. We promised each other that we would switch protocols the next time this workout came up. It will be interesting to see the outcome.
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