As the gym becomes more experienced with CrossFit and continues to develop, more complicated questions tend to arise. “Should I go heavier or lighter?” “What band or set-up should I use for handstand pushups?” “Should I struggle with a tough weight or drop the weight to go faster?”
These are all very common questions that come up throughout a typical workout day. There are no black and white answers but I will try to respond to them here.
Here are some general rules to follow when picking weights, resistance, etc:
In order to get stronger, you’ll have to lift more weight
Lifting heavy things makes you stronger. Period. There are some individuals in the gym who tend to balk at the opportunity to go heavier and thank me for giving them a lighter weight for a workout. You must keep in mind that getting stronger is good a thing. Sometimes it is necessary to stare at the bar a little longer, because there is a chance at failure if you grab it too early. If you struggle with lifting heavy stuff, that is a weakness and CrossFit prioritizes mending those weaknesses out. My advice is go heavier than you’d like in some workouts, and do a very manageable weight in others. Being uncomfortable (but keeping technique) is sign that the workout is challenging you.
Lighter does not mean easier, it just means faster
We have some strong people in our box. Usually, but not always, the stronger or bigger you are, the more you will suffer during long, high cardio workouts. CrossFit aims to balance strength with conditioning, but one will always be better than another. Just like there are times we need to increase the weight to achieve discomfort, sometimes we need to decrease it to get the same effect. Doing “Fran” at #65 for men is still a doozy of a workout, just because you’re going that much faster. For the stronger individuals in the gym, it is important to realize doing a lighter weight and moving faster is necessary to increase cardio endurance.
A mixture of different methods, resistances, and range of motions will get you better faster
I’ve seen individuals get so used to using a pullup band, they forget that the goal is not using one at all. View the band as a vehicle for getting better/stronger at a movement until it is time to say good-bye to it forever. But when does this transition occur and how? I’ll use HSPU’s as an example: A female has been doing CrossFit for 3 months and can do HSPU’s with a backpack band situps and an abmat. She begins to, but can only do a few reps without the band, but with two abmats under her head (decreasing the range of motion). How should she proceed? First of all, practicing the kip and strict HSPU’s should occur during the warm up or post workout if it is goal. During workouts, it is important to mix using a band and getting full ROM with not using a band and getting the experience of no assistance even if it’s partial ROM. Once each of these methods gets easier, band resistance and abmats can be decreased until RX’ed movements can be performed. ONLY using one method or the other will not allow you to progress as fast as using the variety method.
When a weight is assigned to you, don’t be offended/butt hurt
When I design workouts, 80% of the time I am trying to achieve a desired response from that particular workout. In other words, I want to it to be completed in a certain time-frame, feel a certain way, and even make you sore in certain areas. If a weight is assigned to you, it is likely for a good reason. If a time cap is placed on a workout, it’s because that is the maximum amount of time I want the movements to be performed for. A lot of thought goes into these workouts, so just bear in mind they are designed to make you better!
Along the same lines, and this isn’t really an issue in our box, but make sure to do ALL the reps. There is a reason why 32 kettle bells swings are assigned and not 27. If you are injured, sore, etc just let me know, I’ll always work with you. Just don’t decide mid-workout that you are going to re-design the rep scheme to suit your fatigue level. Keep in mind, I watch people do movements all day, every week. Without counting, I know what 25 burpees look like. It’s obvious to myself and other members if you are cutting reps. Again, not a big issue but I do notice things from time to time, so all I ask is to just do the work!
The Open was a great benchmark for many of you at the gym. We had some amazing PR’s, old barriers were smashed, and the box showed its progress was highly visible. I look forward to seeing the continued progress of every individual!
CrossFit Redondo | 1206 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA 90277