For most of us, it can be quite difficult to hit the WODs hard, week-in week-out, ad infinitum. Your ability to successfully train at high intensity over a period of time is determined by genetics, recovery, nutrition, injuries, and training age. To create an inherent balance, CrossFit South Brooklyn follows a 3/1/2/1 weekly microcycle, which looks like this:
By allowing at least two non-sequential days off, we can train at high intensity over the course of a week. Consistently training CrossFit more than three days in a row can lead to a decrease in performance due to accumulated inflammation and a lack of recovery. Many of you guys have been following our 3/1/2/1 schedule with great success.
But What About Training Over Longer Periods of Time Than a Week?
The type of training we do as CrossFitters leads to degrees of adaptation much more closely related to competitive athletics than traditional exercise programs (check out our article on Inside the Affiliate about the difference between exercise and training). That being said, it’s important to note that most organized sports teams map out their yearly programming goals based around a competitive season. Conversely, CrossFit is a General Physical Prepardness program that aims to achieve a consistently high level of work capacity over a lifetime. There are many individuals who use CrossFit to train for their sport or occupation (MIL/LEO etc.) and an ever-growing number of people who are competing in CrossFit as their primary sport. These individuals will generally modify variables of their programs to better prepare themselves for competition or deployment.
But What About Boring Old Me?
The majority of us are training CrossFit without any regard to a specific competition or training goal other than health, longevity, and fitness. It’s therefore necessary for the average CrossFitter to take it upon themselves to consider their training over longer periods of time than a week. Especially for the folks coming in five times a week, we program every 8th week at less intensity and use it as a period to scale back and give your bodies a chance to clean house and manage any systemic inflammation.
The workouts we post on back-off weeks will generally be of lighter total volume with less emphasis on load or time, if at all. Additionally, we’ll use it as an opportunity to prep for the upcoming cycle by workshopping the movements in longer formats. It is simultaneously the end of the previous cycle and the beginning of the new one.
Week 1: Training
Week 2: Training
Week 3: Training
Week 4: Training
Week 5: Training
Week 6: Training
Week 7: Testing (“Crush Week”)
Week 8: Back Off/Prep Week
If you train with us less frequently—perhaps once or twice a week—and are not considerably active outside of CrossFit, you can still benefit from some cyclical recovery. How much recovery and fluctuation in intensity you need is highly specific and you should always be listening to your body and adapting accordingly. Folks who are living hard and fast outside the gym should be especially sensitive to how they’re feeling.
Enjoy Back Off Week! You’ve earned it.