This open test is one of my least favorite open tests that have been performed. The reason being is it is very one dimensional because it only test the athletes capability in the snatch. This workout goes against what CrossFit is all about, being able to sufficiently perform a multitude of skills at a high intensity.
The positive of the workout is it does require a solid level of conditioning and muscle endurance specifically in the snatch movement pattern. This is because all of the reps that the athlete is required to perform, but the limiting factor for everyone is their ability to demonstrate their strength in the snatch under fatigue.
A workout they did more recently in the open that I prefer over this one os the snatch ladder combined with chest to bar pull ups. I think this is a much better test because it requires the stronger who are favored in workouts like this to be able to demonstrate gymnastic skills on top their weightlifting abilities
I like to program partner workouts on Wednesday or Thursday every week. Another option is to program a workout that has built in rest. Both of these options give the athletes a break from higher volumes to recover for a few hard days of training later in the week. Volume is the most important thing to cut down on when trying help athletes recover, even over intensity.
Also in these workouts sometimes I like to give athletes choice on how they approach the workout. There is many ways you can do this. Like in the workout above I let them choose the weight they used for the workout, so they could decide how they wanted to accumulate the max load they could possibly lift over the duration of the workout. This also requires more strategy and a mental aspect to the workout that is usually not there
There are certain exercises in CrossFit that I like to refer to as special strength. These are movements that can be limiters within workouts if they are at moderate to heavy loads. Some examples of these movements are Overhead squats, thrusters, and push press.
The reason why I consider these movements special strength is because they all require high degrees of strength to be loaded heavy, but are different than the bog three lifts most people use to develop strength. Even though improving the big three will carry over to these movements eventually, I think they need to be trained at heavy loads as well to see a larger carry over.
To improve the strength of these movements I don’t often build to a heavy set of 1-5 reps like I would for a back squat and deadlift, because there is less of return with this due to the fact you can’t load it as heavy.
Instead I like to focus on developing on strength capacity. For example what’s the heaviest weight you can lift for 3 reps during a 10 minute Emom without compensating technique. I believe this has a larger carryover to performing these movements under fatigue in a CrossFit workout
The best all around CrossFit workouts in my opinion for overall development include a barbell movement, a gymnastic movement, and a monostructural or “grunt” work movement. The reason why it works so far Ella to have a movement from each of these categories is it checks all the boxes necessary to be capable in CrossFit.
Also with the three different types of movements it allows the individual to constantly push the tempo during the workout. This is especially the case if the movement chosen do not use the same muscle groups. If the same muscle groups are used it will cause interference and challenge the athlete from a muscle endurance perspective rather than from a cardiac output aspect. Either works it just depends what your goal is for the workout.
To make this workout more suitable for a competitive athlete or if you wanted to offer an RX+ version some changes you could make to it would be:
- keeping the box jump rep scheme the same, possibly changing them to box jump overs if that is a skill that is more important for you to work on
- dropping the deadlift reps from 12 to 10 and increasing the weight to 225-275/145-185
- changing the C2B to BMU and decreasing the reps to 5 per set
The above changes will allow a more advanced individual to keep the workout unbroken at high intensity with both barbell and gymnastic movement
During workouts with moderate to high rep sets of barbell movements one choice an athlete always has is whether or not they should try to string together the barbell movement into touch and go sets or do singles.
I think the first factor to look at when making this choice is to consider the other movements in the workout. If they are movements that you are confident you can hold onto unbroken sets with, I think it is smarter to break the barbell since going touch and go doesn’t save that much time. Doing singles also cuts the time under tension in half, since you drop the barbell from the top and remove the whole eccentric portion of the exercise.
The second factor is your strength in the barbell. If you are able to hold on without wearing yourself out due to your strength reserve then it may be a good choice to. Especially if the other movements within the workout are ones you are not confident in maintaining large sets with.
All in all I think it always smart to start with smaller then bigger rep sets on barbell to feel the workout out. Then if your feeling good as you go on, you can string together sets to finish the workout faster than you started
In order for an athlete to reap the benefits of their training, they need to stress their body to a high degree. This stress must be specific to the goal they are training for.
Typically when you are working hard for a goal you will experience high levels of fatigue from the training stress. Their may be a performance drop off at some point during the training cycle, due to the high levels of fatigue. This doesn’t mean that your not improving it just means you need adequate rest for your body to realize the adaptations it has been making.
Once adequate rest takes place, you will realize the performance gains you made during the hard training in the previous phase.
Something I like to do during my athletes deload is have them perform unilateral work like above because there are many benefits they can gain decreasing intensity and recovering the previous heavy bilateral work like squats or deadlifts
Once a week I like to program a team or partner CrossFit workout. There are many benefits for the gym and members from both a community and training adaptation purpose.
- from a community perspective it gives people an opportunity to get to know another member of the gym better because they get to enjoy the process of completing a workout together
- from a mental perspective it gives people a break from the typical format of class which consists of two parts that you are to complete on your own. On a partner workout day you get to perform a longer than normal workout usually only consisting of movements that aren’t done as often
- from a training adaption perspective it provides a much higher intensity stimulus because of the built in work to rest during the workout. If you are splitting the work evenly with your partner, you are roughly as long as you rest. This allows for practicing at higher cadences the you typically can in a solo workout. It also keeps the quality of work much higher. Allowing you touch on either alactic capacity or lactic power training, then they typical aerobic or lactic capacity work
Looking at this workout the main thing I would change is the length of the AMRAP. For a couplet workout with an ascending ladder rep scheme I usually don’t go over the 7-8 minute mark, especially with low intensity movements that can be performed at higher velocities. Much beyond that time the reps for each movement would get too high and the athlete would have to start breaking them up more, eliminating the cardiovascular effect that is intended.
If you go beyond the 8ish Min mark on ascending ladder rep scheme workout I recommend either using three to four movements or heavier/more complex movements. If you choose to use 3-4 movements then they will still be a large cardiovascular effect because reps will not get to high. On the other hand, if you choose to use heavier or more complex movements then the adaptation you get will be based off the movement that is the limiting factor, wether it is skill or strength based.
When programming for CrossFit one of the most common problems I see happening are people over programming movements that are taxing on both the shoulders and the lower back. The degree of strain these two body parts experience happens due to overuse more so than experiencing to intense of a stressor repetitively. That’s why I think on of the keys to keeping people healthy while programming CrossFit is having certain movements that you use to take strain off of the areas.
One of my favorites to use is the American or Russian kettlebell swing, specifically the Russian kettlebell swing if it has been an extremely taxing week.
The reasons why I like to use this movement so much is because it develops the glutes and hamstrings with requiring deep hip flexion and putting strain on the lower back, if it is done correctly. Also, it does not require a lot of work from the shoulder girdle. The majority of the work done by it is an isometric retraction of the upper back, which develops muscles often not trained enough when the majority of movements in CrossFit are vertical pressing and pulling.
From time to time I like to retest previous open workouts during the “off-season”, especially during the fall leading up to open prep time. This provides a good gauge on where your general fitness is at along with also giving you an idea of what your capacity is at in certain movements that are often seen in the open at high volumes.
The above workout could be a good test of fitness for the general population and even a test of strength capacity if the 135lb barbell is something that is challenging for them to lift consistently.
With the competitive crowd though I see as more of a test of t2b capacity and grip strength. This is because holding onto the barbell and cycling the C&J wont save a ton of time compared to doing fast singles. I think more time can be made up by holding onto unbroken sets of t2b as long as possible