As fun as the Festivus Pole was, it’s I’m glad that it’s finally time to stop pulling somewhat random WODs and start with a plan again. What many people don’t realize is that constant variation in training is not the same as “random training”. Random training is going to the gym, wandering around and then doing a few sets of something on some machine that isn’t currently occupied. That isn’t what we do here. There is actually a tremendous amount of time and thought that goes into the planning of the WODs we do. In other words, there is always a plan with a goal in mind, and it is vitally important that you as an athlete understand that. It isn’t so important that you understand the inner workings of the plan in itself, but the fact that there is a plan and how it works in general.
At the most basic and foundational level, my goal for you is to make you Stronger and Faster, because no matter what you do, you’ll do it better and enjoy it more if you are stronger and faster. All the other goals, contests or challenges that we do are all pointed at making you stronger and faster. All of this starts with every single WOD we do.
So let’s look at the WODs. Every time you come in, there is what seems like a random collection of things that suck on the whiteboard. Some people like some types of WODs better than others, and no one WOD epitomizes everything that we do, but there is no denying that whatever it is on the board is designed to make you uncomfortable. But, making you uncomfortable is not my only goal. Contrary to popular belief, that isn’t even my main goal. My main goal is to make you strong and fast. What you may not have noticed is that there are three basic types of WODs; Time Based, Task Based and Load Based. Time based WODs are ones like Cindy (20 minutes AMRAP of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 squats). In these WODs you have a specific amount of time to do a specific task. Having a downward ticking clock can be very motivating for some people, forcing you to dig into your reserves to keep moving when the room is spinning and you think you may hurl. Time Based WODs demand a different response from you than a Task Based WOD. These are WODs like yesterday’s, where you had to do 5 rounds of 50 Double Unders, 7 Heavy thrusters and 7 pull ups. There is no top end cap for the time, but you have to get the job done as fast as you possibly can. This creates a different type of, lets call it “tension” than a time based WOD does. The reserves you dig into aren’t to keep going but to go as fast as possible, and then be done. Fran is a great example of that, and anyone who has done Fran a few times knows that it gets harder the faster you go, and that if you do it right, a 4 minute workout can floor you for a day. Finally there are load based WODs. Those have no time component and no task component other than “move the weight.” These types of WODs wont leave you lying on the floor, gasping for breath and praying to Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t hard. Finding a max effort is not an easy task and while it may not leave you looking for a stretcher, you’ll feel it for the next two days if you do it right.
When the WODs are being planned, I look at the week and the month and plan what we are doing based on what we are focusing on and what we have recently done. For example, is this a strength biased month? Then expect to see more heavy lifts. Are we spending a month that is more speed focused? More running and box jumps and jumprope. Not exclusively speed or strength work, but a tendency in one direction or the other, so that we can make gains in one without losing ground in the other.
The point of all of this is two fold: First, to show that we aren’t just doing random stuff, that there is a method to the madness, a system to the suck.
And more importantly, to encourage everyone to trust the system. It may seem like we’ve been killing our pull-ups and bench press lately, but notice that we haven’t done much of either all week. Maybe there’s a reason? It may have occurred to you that we’ve done a few task based things in a row, and not as much time or load based ones. There may be a cause. If we do two fairly fast WODs back to back, start looking for a suck-fest in the near future. Look for the patterns and see if you can guess what type is coming.
Remember that at the end of the day, my main goal is to make you strong and fast, and everything that we do is focused like a laser beam on that goal. The details I will take care of, the effort is up to you. But I promise that if you trust the system and give that last 20%, the differences will be amazing.