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Competition Team Training at CrossFit Full Circle

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By Head Coach, Jason Struck

If you read our emails, like our Facebook page, or have been listening in class, you may have heard us say something about a new competition team training opportunity on Saturday mornings.

  Let’s start with the essential stats:

  • Where: CrossFit Full Circle
  • When: 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, May 20-August 5
  • What: Training specifically geared towards maximizing your performance in CrossFit competitions, specifically the Team SuperFit Richmond, coming August 12
  • Why: Because it takes a lot of hard work to do well in CrossFit as a sport, and doing well in a competition isn’t exactly the same as doing well in class
  • Who: Anyone that wants to get better at competition, especially by improving your weaknesses in a targeted fashion and incorporating regular practice of competition type stuff (there are pre-reqs, though)

So, let’s dig deeper into what this is about. First off, as James and I have said many times before, there’s a difference between training for health, fitness, and sports. You can do things to improve your health like lower your blood pressure, or improve your triglycerides, just by moving around every now and again. You can improve your fitness by doing more of those things consistently over time. And we can measure these changes with a scale, a stopwatch, or a blood test. But competing in exercise as a sport isn’t just being really fit. It also entails having specific skills, some of which may be independent of your pursuit of health or even fitness.

Doing certain movements faster than others, or at greater weights, isn’t necessary to improve your fitness or health. And even with the best movements (think squats and pull ups) there’s a continuum of illness, wellness, fitness, and elite performance. Illness would entail not being able to squat to parallel with good form, and it’s a pathological condition. Wellness would mean being able to do an air squat correctly, but struggling with a bodyweight front squat. Fitness would mean doing a bodyweight back squat for 20 reps. But elite sport performance would be modeled by male CrossFit athletes squatting 400#, weightlifters the same size lifting 550#, and great powerlifters 650#. You don’t have to squat 400# to be healthy or fit, and in fact the time, energy, and risks involved to get there might not be a great investment for everyone.

Because of these truths, we don’t program our CrossFit classes in such a way to pursue squatting more than 400# (or in the ladies case, 265#), because it only serves a small niche of our clientele’s goals. We don’t worry about the extremes on any movements because it’s untrue to the basic premise of CrossFit: broad, general inclusive fitness. Intentionally avoiding specialization to pursue the ‘first and second wave adaptations.’ On the contrary, the competitor must hone his or her competitive skill set with deliberate practice, and there are things that appear in CrossFit competition that don’t deliver the same bang for the buck when it comes to fitness development. A great example: double unders and running are both monostructural exercises, but the former is complicated, requires hours of practice, and special equipment to begin offering a return on investment vis a vis cardiovascular fitness, whereas the latter is accessible to anyone and can confer great benefits almost immediately. However, you are far more likely to see double unders in a CrossFit competition than running. Why? Because of logistics and marketing realities.

Deliberate practice requires focus, the freedom to fail, and a coach providing feedback. We’ll provide all that and more Saturdays to those willing to pay for it with their blood, sweat, and tears (90% sweat, we promise). Coach Mike will work with all participants to develop systems to address individual weaknesses, and the program will progress over the weeks to reflect your growing experiences and accomplishments. The focus will be on improving individual performance, whether or not you signed up for the team competition that comes at the end of the training period. The only requirement is that in order to earn the right to play, you have to come to practice. What that means to us is that you have to complete at least 3 WODs per week at or above the Rx level. That remains true whether or not you are currently doing barbell. Our advice: do both.

Some folks were concerned about whether or not the whole ‘Rx’ thing was fair, so we did some research: Here’s a WOD from SuperFit Raleigh, and the movements for Rx, Intermediate (INT), and Novice (N). As you can see, double unders and pull ups are assumed, even for the Novice division. Sometimes you can get around this by being part of a team, but I think if you are competing and finding ways around doing things you need to improve, you are missing the point (said with love).