By Chris Fox One of the tenets of CrossFit as a training modality is training efficiency. You don’t need to spend countless hours doing a bunch of different things to improve; you can perform varied, functional movements at high intensity and be done with it in a relatively short time each day. Group class at CrossFit South Brooklyn lasts for one hour. If we’re lucky, we get to see you five classes each week, so five hours out of 168… How can you be proactive in making the most out of that time? Below are five tips that will have you well prepared for class and will assist your coaches in giving you the highest training value possible.
- Come to class on time, which really means get here early. I understand that sometimes the train is late and your dog ate your lifters, but you should be planning to arrive at 597 Degraw Street at least10 minutes before class so you can change, get your gear ready, and get in the exercise mindset. If you’re consistently late you’re not only a distraction to the coach and the class, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
- DIY a light warm up and your own mobility work. This is a good idea for anyone really, but especially for those of us who need some extra mobility workor simply need a bit longer to shake the rust off. We’re proactive about doing the drills that we believe will best warm up our general population for what’s on tap for the day but you are, in fact, a unique flower. Overhead movements suck for you? Get here early enough to spend five minutes mobilizing with a Gemeni up and down your thoracic spine. Deep squatting sucks? Allow yourself enough time to do a banded ankle distraction and some ground based hip mobilizations. There are a bunch of things you could be doing throughout the day to move better. Better yet, do this stuff on your own time outside of the gym. Try to make a new habit of doing one mobilization each day, and if you need to get to class early to do it, then make that happen. We really don’t want to spend the time we have coaching a CrossFit group class watching people roll around on lacrosse balls. That’s what Active Recovery is for. We want to coach you on movement. I think you want that, too.
- Learn and understand how to warm up your lifts. New members get a brief lecture about this in Foundations, but it takes some time to really internalize how to warm yourself up for a lift. Here’s a general guide:
- Three to five warm up sets is plenty for the slow lifts (squats, presses, deadlifts, etc.).
- Make equal or smaller jumps in weight as you get close to your work weight.
- As load goes up, volume decreases. Don’t get fatigued in the warm up sets!
- Here’s an example that warms a lifter up to squat 295x5x3:
- 45×5, 135×5, 185×5, 225×3, 275×1, then 295x5x3
- Here’s another that warms a lifter up to squat 125x5x3:
- 45×5, 65×5, 85×5, 105×3, 115×1, then 125x5x3
As you can see, even though these lifters are on very different strength levels they can warm up their lifts in about the same amount of time. This should take four to five minutes for a rack of three lifters to get to work weights. As the weight gets heavier and they get closer to work weight the reps go down. You don’t want to do a set of five at 275 (which represents 94% of work weight) and then try and do a work set. Warm ups should simply warm you up, not fatigue you.
- Pay attention, and please don’t talk when the coach is instructing the group. I know first hand that it can be annoying when we’re trying to get a class partnered up to prep for a WOD and there’s the white noise of chatter going on. It can be hard to hear sometimes, what with the amazing music(and the really amazing music)and the lifting of heavy weight on the platforms, but please don’t contribute to that noise when the coach is instructing the group. There’s plenty of time for catching up during down time, after the WOD, or out for food and drinks afterwards.
- “I don’t always lift, but when I do it’s more than I should.”It can be very tempting to want to overreach when the person next to you is CRUSHING a set of five deadlifts 100 pounds heavier than your 1RM. With the fast lifts, not every week is a great week. Competitive Olympic lifters go weeks and months without setting personal records. Be patient, and do your own thing. The competitive aspect of CrossFit can be a great driver of intensity, which can in turn drive adaptation. The other side of that coin is that it can also drive you to do too much for yourself on any given day. You should really be competing with your own previous self anyway. Stay in tune with your abilities and be mindful of the long road. We won’t hesitate to have you pull plates off the bar if we think you’re trying to work too far beyond your capacity, but we’d rather you learn to make a smarter decision before it comes up. The alternative is injury.
“Stay humble, my friends.”