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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-15-2010, 05:36 AM   #1
Sam Abbitt
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Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

All,

I am a 6'-5"/245 lb guy who has been doing crossfit for about 6 months. I've been very dedicated to crossfit and paleo during this time. The result is that I have lost approximately 45 pounds, and have certainly noticed fitness gains.

However, many of my WOD times are still pretty lousy. I consistently come in nearly last at my affiliate. I do pretty well on short sprint work outs such as mile run (6:41) and 500M row (1:29.7). However, I really suck at met-cons like Fran or Nancy. Yesterday I RX'd Nancy with a time over 25 minutes.

Right now my thought is that I need to focus on my lifts and strength gains to improve my times. For example, when I was doing Nancy, I had to split my overhead squats into 5 rep lifts, at which point I would completely hit the wall and have to rest. This killed my time.

Does anyone have any specific advice for a big guy who wants to improve WOD times? More specifically, what can I work on to improve my fitness so that I don't hit the wall so fast?
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:52 AM   #2
Travis Loest
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

First off, great job getting to where you are! You've persevered where many people have given up and for that you should be commended.

Don't worry too much about your overall times. Just keep working. They will drop as you get stronger and build more endurance. Don't try to analyze the program too much. If you generally try to break up sets into even parts, ie. 20 reps you break it down into four 5 rep sets, then just try to push as far as you can on the first set if it's on 6 or seven reps then so be it, then break down from there. Another option is if you go to 5 reps out of 20 and you're at failure only go to 3-4 reps and use a shorter rest time, similar to greasing the groove. I think you'll find that a lot of people will recommend "greasing the groove" which is basically doing sub-max reps throughout the day. For example if you're sucking on max number of pull ups and can only get 7-8 on your first set and they drop from there, when ever you get a chance to do pull ups do them throughout the day but only do them in sets of 4 or 5, so you don't reach failure, and do several sets like that all day long, works well with push ups, sit ups, hell, almost anything. Good luck and happy CrossFitting.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:05 AM   #3
Mark E. Wallace
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

I'll leave others to the more physical side of this answer, but one thing I'll recommend is that you consider whether or not part of this issue is mental.

Although I'm not as big as you, I'm in the same place with my metcons. My metcons have improved dramatically in the seven months that I've been Crossfitting, but I still find myself resting too much during the WOD and then cursing myself afterwards for having done so. I nearly always ask myself after a metcon whether or not I could have done with less rest. In my mind, the answer is nearly always yes, but I still find it hard the next time to crack through that barrier.

Yesterday's WOD at our box was interesting and may provide food for thought. We did five rounds of [20 wallball shots plus 25 double-unders]. The catch was that the wallball and DU's/singles had to be done unbroken before moving on. This meant no rest during the WB sets or the jumprope sets. You could rest between the WB and jumprope sets though.

This challenged all of us to really fight hard through the need/desire to rest, and it yielded some times for us that I think surprised more than a few of us; i.e. faster. More than once I wanted to rest on the wallballs at around 15, but the thought of having to start over at 1 was enough to make me push through each time.

Anyhow...you get the idea. There's certainly a physical side to improving on your metcons, but there may be a mental side as well.

Cheers,

Mark
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:07 AM   #4
Brian Bedell
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

Hi Travis!

Yea, Sam it looks like you are doing great. I think just keep at it is the main thing.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:16 AM   #5
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

You're running a 6:41 mile at 245lbs? That's pretty amazing, and it also shows that you've got the basic cardio capacity to do CF workouts. Metcon capacity is a little different though, once you start throwing squats and cleans and thrusters and whatnot in there.

What was the problem with Nancy? If your legs and hips were hitting muscle failure, you could do some additional strength work. If you were having trouble getting into a good OHS position due to flexibility problems, do some more mobility work for your hips/hamstrings/shoulders. If you were having trouble keeping the bar locked out overhead, it's a shoulder and midline stability problem, so just keep working on OHS. If you were running out of breath and feeling like your heart was about to explode, keep doing CF and that will improve on its own.

For most people OHS isn't so much a matter of strength as it is mobility and neuromuscular efficiency, meaning that your OHS numbers are capable of increasing at a rate far out of proportion with your increases in squat, front squat, deadlift, etc. Treat OHS like a skill and work on the movement a few times a week with relatively light weight...I did something similar to grease the groove with OHS about a year and a half ago and it helped a lot. For instance if you could do 10 reps of OHS at 95lbs, two or three times a week you do 2 sets of 5 reps at 95lbs during your warmup. Do that for two weeks, then increase it to 2 sets of 5 at 100lbs, then two weeks later bump it up to 105lbs, and so on. You'll improve your flexibility and get a lot more comfortable doing the movement.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:40 AM   #6
Sam Abbitt
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

As Eric described, my problem is running out of breath and feeling like my heart is going to explode. However, this causes me to have trouble maintaining proper form, i.e. keeping the bar locked out. An example of this is when two of my reps didn't count because I dropped the bar while I was down in the squat position. Finally, I also feel like I rest way too much. When I hit that wall, there really is no gas left in the tank.

I like the idea of incorporating no rest sets in your WOD. I might try that. Also, I will incorporate some weighted OHS in my warm-ups as suggested by Eric.

Thanks all for the suggestions!

Sam
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:49 AM   #7
Casey Raiford
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

It sounds like the work component is certainly there in your training. Where are you on nutrition and recovery?
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:34 AM   #8
Sam Abbitt
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

Casey,

I think my nutrition is OK. I have been eating strict paleo, with "eyeball zone" portions. Recovery... what do you mean by that? Do you mean how much rest do I get between workouts?

My training schedule is as follows:

Mon: CF
Tue: CF
Wed: Rest day
Thu: CF
Fri: CF
Sat: 1K lake swim & running
Sun: CF
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:47 AM   #9
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

1 rest day a week? THat seems a bit low.

How is your recovery? How do you feel day to to day? To you feel fresh and ready to go when you start the wods or do you feel beat down?
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:54 AM   #10
David Meverden
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Re: Big Guy with Slow WOD Times

Also, where are your lifts at?

P.S. Mark, I like that idea. Forcing unbroken sets would be a good way to test your mental and physical toughness.
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