Why We Do It This Way: A PCF Guide To A Day Of Training…
Mindy, and Heather…“The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.”Recently, I received a few questions and observations about why we (PCF) do what we do in each class. More than one person seemed to share this view which took me aback. I, actually, pride myself on teaching the “why” just as much as the “how”. Apparently, and to my sorrow, I failed to do this properly.
Personally, I perform an activity much better if I am aware of why I am doing it. Some of us are not like that. Our summit is, simply, the sunrise atop the mountain. For me and others like me, though, the “how” is just as important…in fact, even more important.
I, actually, believe that in most circumstances the majority of trainers I coach, as well as athletes, become bored with my over-explanation of exactly “why” we are participating in the activities that comprise our PCF day. Apparently, I have missed an item or two, so here we will discuss why tomorrow will look like it does when you arrive to WOD, and how that may very well may change from day-to-day…because change is progress, and stagnation is death.
When class time hits you find yourself with four minutes on the clock. This four minutes is meant to unglue some of those tissues that gear us up through the day, or even during WODs. Self-Myofacial Release works wonders to release adhesion’s, neural tension, and general tightness that can lead to a compromised range of motion among other things. Limited range of motion means either compensation from other areas, or a prefatigue-esq action, both of which are a breeding ground for injury.
This manual therapy section could cover some greater detail, but I don’t feel the need. If the above is not enough reason to whip out a foam roller, or trigger ball at least once a day, I really don’t know what is.
Our four-minute class intro could also be used for specific acute “-itis-es”, or general tightness you have. This is personal stuff you should be working to improve continuously, and we have found that forcing you to work tight hips or shoulders out ala Mobility WOD every day can make you better at life.
A minute or so is then dedicated to some sort of “hip reminder”. It’s not that these muscles ever shut down, it’s that we simply fail to operate in proper positions all day, or succomb to bad ones (sitting) and need to be reminded of the best and brightest joints and muscles we have: the glutes, and hips. Functional movement lends itself best to compound movement that inherently moves large loads quickly over long distances. Doing this with hips and ass seems to be the cats meow. Watch big squatters, sprinters, or Olympic Lifters, and then you will know why this minute is so important.
Also, these activates may teach better positioning for things to come, essentially making sure we are, again, free from injury and ready for success.
The following 10-15 minutes are comprised of Dynamic Warm-ups. So before we move the body, we move the body. Simple right? These warm-ups should address the movements and workout structure on the board for the day. For instance, tons of overhead usually means more shoulder therapy. Very quick ultra-intense “Franish” WODs usually garner warm-ups 3-5 times longer than the WOD itself due to the amazingly high intensity required. More “Murph”-style WODs may find a decrease in warm-up time since the intensity of that particular WOD is lower. Remember…short=intensity=results. Long is made doable and survivable because of the short WODs (more later).
Generally, your moving joint by joint until everything has been addressed to respond to the physical demands of the day.
Immediately jumping into a WOD is great on rare occasions. If you’re getting hunted by a cheetah you will not have time to roll, and if you’re getting mugged you can’t pause to stretch. But most of the time, ramping up your central nervous system somewhat before you really turn on the juice delivers a much more productive workout later.
Either a Met-con stand-alone, strength training, or a combination of the two will follow the Warm-up. While this will always be varied, the teaching that accompanies it will remain. We spend great amounts of time teaching and learning from each other, and will always spend time ensuring the movements are as spectacular as they can be per athlete – whether it’s their first or 200th time performing it. You may not end up at the top of every class, but you will always be instructed the best way we know how, and even that will always improve.
Hopefully, these days look varied to you. For instance, scaling and adjusting weights and schemes to make sure the desired effect is achieved. If staying RXD took 25 minutes, but the RXD prior to class was to be sub-8minutes, we - or you - scaled incorrectly.
As well, we hope this “constantly varied”concept sits well with the aerobic divas wanting the same 20 minute or more workout everyday to feel accomplished. As stated above, we become better because of the short WODs. Longer WOD’s are an exercise in suffering meant to shore you up mentally, which is good on occasion, but also meant to give you a breather from the shorter gassers where most our life should be spend if we want to get better at anything or any time function, including ultra endurance. Spending time with beater long WODs too often is essentially just asking for under recovery, fat retention, and joint discomfort
What’s short? Varied forms at eight minutes and under seem to be spectacular in stimulating disgusting amounts of fitness health and fat burning. So much so, in fact, the Cooper Institute has changed their previous stance on improving cardiovascular health from long endurance games, to short anaerobic bouts of intensity. Hence why CF applied correctly works so well, and daily Murph’s certainly due not.
The real item is, anyone can sweat and feel like they did something twenty five minutes in. But it takes those of us really wanting to change and be better to experience the benefits of the short. If you stopped when you could have gone. If you got done, and said “that wasn’t so bad”. There is no one to blame but yourself. And there is a huge difference in killing a three minute WOD in three, or stretching it to four so you just don’t feel that bad.
In light of what we know today, I feel we do our best to present the CF beauty. This isn’t the only way, or even the best. It is one expression, and I can assure you is that this expression, as is our diet expression, is incredibly different from what was expressed three years ago. I am happy to look back at our mistakes, and see how far we have come, and cannot thank those enough who have come with us along the way. This change is, simply, a sign of improvement; a sign of truly living up to the charter of CrossFit which begs us to always employ what works best, never settling for good enough.I hope three years from now I can look back at today and think we were amateurs at the way we did things. I hope all are willing to learn and adjust with us along the way.
I can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt we will never conform simply to sell memberships, or fit the market. We will always employ well-studied, tested learnings to ensure our athletes live up to their utmost potential, and are just better. I, personally, will sacrifice everything to make sure no stone is left unturned, and no athlete is ever taken for granted. The trainers alongside me feel the same. This is PCF’s creed – our Standards and Practices.
The best thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. If PCF’s way doesn’t seem like a good fit for you,take a look around. There may be somewhere else that is. In the meantime, we will continue to Practice our profession, always changing, adapting, and improving, never forgetting the reason we are here…to make you better.