AMRAP 20 Minutes:
Hang Snatch 95/65
The Snatches should be on the light side and are Rx’d as full squats. Only scale to Power Snatches if mobility necessitates it. If you have 5 Ring Dips at a time, then go for it. If not then scale to Push-Ups. If you complete through the 3 Ring Dips, then stop there and score time to complete.
Post rounds, reps, and Rx (or time and Rx) to comments.
Throwback Thursday: Here’s our very own Coach Nick competing in the men’s quadruple sculls (with boatmates Jake Wetzel, Ian McGowan, and Sean Hall) at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney
- The second event of this year’s Subway Series will take place at CrossFit Gantry this Sunday, August 14th. The action kicks off at 12:00pm, and workout info can be found here. Head to Gantry to support CFSBK’s athletes!
The Sweat Spot: Balancing Precision and Intensity for Maximum Gainz
Editor’s Note: We’re about halfway through Crush Week, when turn up the intensity to cap off our current 8-week training cycle. So now’s a good time to revisit this piece on training intensity by Coach Noah (now of CrossFit Lumos in Austin, which we can only assume is a cowboy gym). “The Sweat Spot” was originally posted on 3.30.2015.
By Noah Abbott
At CFSBK, we always tell people that from their first day of Foundations through the first month or two of group classes, their loading, pacing, and intensity should be at roughly 60-70%. Things should feel easy and athletes should leave each class feeling like they had more in the tank. This is incredibly important advice—your first few months and few thousand reps are crucial for motor patterning. Your body learns the positions and pathways you move through, and if you are assuming imperfect positions or moving inefficiently from point A to B, you will gradually condition yourself to keep repeating those patterns. You can always go back and re-learn these patterns, and to some extent they evolve over time, but starting with great positioning is key to continuing to move well as weights go up and intensity increases.
That covers the first few months, and most of our members are great at following that advice. Everything still feels a little foreign and clunky, so people are happy to stay well within safe and proper parameters while they slowly gain confidence and familiarity with the movements. However, after the first few months, many people struggle to find the proper balance between precision and intensity as they begin to develop as an athlete. Often people fall toward one of two extremes, both of which blunt performance and progress. Either they want to do everything as fast, heavy, and hard as possible, or they are so focused on doing everything perfectly that they rarely work hard enough to elicit a neuromuscular adaptation.
The Three Pitcher Analogy
This analogy was first described to me by a coach in Arizona, using three target pistol shooters as the example. Since (legal) competitive gunplay in Brooklyn is about as rare as a pair of Nike Metcons (ohhhhh snap), and since baseball season is right around the corner, I’m going to modify the example a bit, and use three baseball pitchers as our test subjects. Instead of just calling them A, B, and C, I’ll call our pitchers Alex, Bo, and Chris.
It’s a hot summer day when our pitchers report to the practice field to throw a practice session under the watchful eye of their coach. Coach tells each pitcher to throw five pitches before regrouping and discussing what they need to work on.
Alex is up first, and really wants to impress. He rears back as hard as he can and every pitch is a flurry of elbows and knees. No two windups or deliveries look the same, Alex is falling all over the mound, but he’s throwing HARD. Half the time his cap falls off as he throws—he’s almost throwing himself at the catcher. Further, he’s rushing—the moment one pitch thumps into the catcher’s mitt Alex is already winding up for the next one. He finishes his five pitches, huffing and puffing, with sweat pouring down his face, his hair sticking up in ten different directions, one of his shoes untied, and limps to the bench, totally exhausted.
Bo is next up. Bo looks much more in control than Alex from the get-go. He’s working hard, and obviously putting his all behind each pitch, but he is taking a little more time between each pitch, and looks markedly more in control of his body. Still, you can tell Bo is working, and he audibly yells after his third pitch (“Shucks” or “Rats” or some other folksy, W.P. Kinsella-like exclamation). By the end of his session, he’s breathing hard and sweating, but still fairly composed. He walks to the bench slowly, and looks happy to rest for a bit.
Chris is up last, and wants to outshine Alex and Bo. He’s cool and collected as he walks to the mound, and takes his time getting ready. He is smooth and controlled as he throws, fluid and easy through all of his movements, and takes a lot of time between each pitch to carefully reset his footwork, make sure all of his mechanics are correct, and that he is ready to go. Every pitch looks like a mirror image of the one before, but the catcher’s glove doesn’t pop quite as loud as for Alex or Bo—it looks like Chris is taking a bit off each pitch in an effort to be perfect.
Here’s how their sessions look when overlaid on a batter and strike zone:
As we can see, Alex is pretty wild, with two of his pitches well out of the strike zone, and no real consistency to any of his efforts. Bo misses the strike zone once, but just by a bit, and most of his pitches are pretty consistent. Chris groups all five of his pitches very close with no misses (for sake of illustration, the pitches are probably even more scattered so they can be seen individually).
Who Is Training Correctly?
While all three pitchers will gain something from practice regardless of intention and intensity, the athlete coach would reward with a “good job, keep it up,” is Bo.
Alex needs to slow down! He’s wild, overthrowing, putting himself at risk of injury with undisciplined mechanics, and isn’t learning much. He is confusing unbridled intensity with hard, disciplined work. He should go back to basics, take a little longer between pitches to make sure he is set, and work on consistent mechanics and technique.
Chris needs to work a little harder. He can obviously throw a fastball over the plate when he takes his time and throws a bit softer than his upper limit. Chris should work on throwing a little harder, working faster, and maybe throwing in some more “advanced” pitches. He won’t develop if he just keeps doing what he already obviously knows how to do. He is too concerned with being “perfect.”
Bo is our ideal athlete, taking his refined technique and then pushing it right to the edge. He is very effective and efficient, but is working hard enough that one in every five to 10 pitches is slightly less than optimal. Note that when Bo misses, he misses small, and then can make a correction the next time to get better. Bo will grow the fastest of the three because he is pushing the limit of his ability.
In CrossFit, we call this Threshold Training.
Threshold Training and YOU
The concept of Threshold Training is as old as CrossFit, being cited early by Greg Glassman (hallowedbehisname) in one of those weird old videos where he draws stick figures on a chalkboard while Tony Budding leers at him. Simply put, the concept is similar to the Pitcher’s Analogy above, that during training athletes need to push themselves hard enough that their accuracy may slightly suffer, but not so hard that it goes totally out the window. There is a sweet spot to find in your training, and falling too far on either side will slow or blunt your progress.
Do you go as hard as possible every workout, only to be outperformed by others who look like they aren’t trying too hard? Do you often have to strip weight or scale movements mid-WOD? Do you feel like your progress is lagging behind your intensity? If so, you might be like Alex in the Pitcher’s Analogy. You need to slow down, go a bit lighter, and focus on being more consistently accurate before ramping your intensity back up.
Do you often finish WODs without really breaking a sweat? Have you never felt that gut-punched, world-spinning feeling after a workout? Do you use the same weight all the time, or hover in a narrowly prescribed range? Do you repeat lifting exposures or avoid adding weight during Olympic lifts if you felt the lift wasn’t 100% perfect? You might be training like Chris the pitcher—you need to push a little further out of your comfort zone. Perfect practice has its place, but during work sets and WODs, a small bit of deviation is expected and encouraged. Pro football players certainly practice perfect running mechanics, but come gameday, nobody praises how perfectly a player runs with the ball, only that they get to the end zone.
A Contextual Approach to Threshold Training
All that being said, the different training modalities, prescriptions, and resulting intensities need to be approached contextually. While we generally avoid “being Alex,” there are rare times when that approach is appropriate. Similarly, there is value to sometimes slowing things down and “pulling a Chris.” Here are some loose guidelines:
Alex (100% intensity, regardless of technique): Last few seconds/final attempts of a competition where there is some real sort of prize on the line. Money? Prestige? Qualification for Regionals/Games/American Open, etc.? You have to decide if it’s worth it.
Bo (90% intensity with 90% perfect technique): Benchmark WODs, Open workouts, competitions, and any WOD where you feel very comfortable and confident with the movement and you have built a sufficient base of perfect practice. Movements should feel like they are on “auto-pilot” and that you don’t need to do a ton of thinking about how to execute them.
Chris (sub-maximal intensity with 100% perfect technique): Warm-ups, skill practice, new or rarely seen movements, any movement that you don’t feel super comfortable with, are trying to iron out a “kink” from, or any time an old or recent injury or mobility restriction is taxed or bothered during execution.
Aaaaand I’m Done
Okay, enough sports analogies, this is getting ridiculous. Stay tuned for my next article, in which I create a hackneyed and longwinded analogy between muscle-ups and nineteenth-century Russian literature.
Train smart, train hard, and don’t be afraid to explore the outside edge of your comfort zone.
Yesterday’s Whiteboard: Power Cleans, Double-Unders
Everyday Hero Tries to Scale the Trump Tower with Suction Cups Vice
Shoulder Position in the Overhead Squat CrossFit
Whatever It Takes: The Steroid Scandal in Olympic Dressage
Please tell me Nick has frosted tips in that photo.
Jack L. says
It was a different time, Stella. We can't judge him by today's hair standards:
Quite fitting that my last workout at CFSBK was with a rosé hangover.
This workout showcased two of my strongest movements so I was happy to see it.
Made it through 150 reps which is all 9 ring dips in the set of 9.
Had a bit of a lump in my throat saying good bye to everyone this morning. I will miss this place more than you know.
Brendan B says
7am with JessDowell
Metcon Rx – 82 reps
4 snatches into the round of 15. Honestly, I think I finish that round if I wasn't wasting so much time trying to dry my hands during this. Goal was to finish the first two rounds with good form on all snatches and I got there, so happy about how this turned out. If I went lighter, I'd get more done but throw around a ton of uggos and risk tweaking my back. Dips were surprisingly fast and felt great.
Fuck, Matty that's a bummer. MC was one of the first cats at the gym to engage in light banter with me, and consistently tried to get me to turn to the 6am Dark Side. You'll be missed, sir. Best wishes to you.
Bon voyage MattyChm! Will miss you and the fam! Do they have the internets outside of Brooklyn? I never really travel north of Greenpoint. If not, maybe you could send us a postcard every once in a while with your WOD times.
6am with McLady and a rosé hangover
101 reps Rx which is 8 dips into round of 15. Holy sweat city. Fun workout but would like to try it again when it's about 25 degrees colder. I couldn't hold onto the bar for more than 3 reps due to overly sweaty hands. Just killed me in this workout. Dips went surprisingly well.
Matty – very sad to see you go. You epitomize what makes this gym so great. Going to really miss your witty banter and pacing. Plus who is going to put James's weights away now??
Chas C. says
Matty, as Brendan said, you were one of the first people to be like "hey, dude, you're new to this and that's cool, how are you" on the weekends when I was just starting out and in awe of all these people doing this amazing stuff. Going to be a very different place without you, but you can take comfort in the fact that lots of folks have learned from your welcoming attitude and are paying it forward.
As for this workout, these are two of my not-favorite movements, which I did at 8 a.m. w/C. Fox.
75 reps total (think I wrote 85 on the board, WHATEVER MATH) @ 85# w/matador dips. First time trying dips of some sort in a metcon setting. Brutal, but helpful to just keep plugging away at it. Glad I didn't Rx the snatch weight. Gladder that Fox put on the Hot Snakes radio station and it detoured into some excellent D.C. hardcore during my miserable round of 18 snatches.
MattyChm. It's not going to be the same without you – 6am will never be the same. I will especially miss partnering with you on front squats, back squats, clean and jerks and holding hands between strength and conditioning. Your hands are so soft.
Today's workout Rx'd. 93 reps. I couldn't move quickly on the snatches and the vats of sweat pouring down my arms made my hands and the barbell very slippery which was not helpful. My shorts were fully saturated with sweat.
8 AM with Fox
Finished the metcon in 16:00.
heavily scaled- 52# snatches and pushups.
Haven't done snatches in about 3 months so was very conservative-
should have gone heavier.
Cashed out with 10 minutes of d/u practice- committing publicly to that so I won't
Michael C. says
Hot Snakes radio gets played in the 8am classes? Jealous. Might be time to start getting up earlier.
Matt, will you all let us know what the drop in policy is for Crossfit Chm-appaqua when you get a second?
James A says
6am with the Legendary (Rosé induced sweat of) Matty Chm
105 Reps Rx. Snatch was pretty pathetic, but last night was fun.
I was going to complete the workout in total today but saw Matty was only on the round of 9 so I backed off to let him take the gold today. I am unsure what the future of my CrossFit career will look like without you there Matt. You are a HUGE reason 6am is what it is for us.
Thanks for letting me lift alongside you, even when you are leagues ahead. But more importantly, who is going to put away my weights?
Dan G. says
6am with McLady
12 dips into the round of 15, Rx. This was all about dips for me. They were mostly doubles and honestly, more than a few were probably no-reppable on range of motion, but I've never done this many in a wod before. Snatches in sets of 3-6 with an immediate rebound from the hip to overhead (on advice from McDowell). Going so fast spiked the heart rate, but saved my grip since each set was so much shorter.
Matty – Sad to see you go, but I know you'll be back for big gym events, and I fully expect an invitation to your home gym. #leaderboard
Finished 19:42 with the Rx weight, pushups, and powered by rosé. Snatches were much harder than I thought. Started with a big set of 10 or so, but then really only did sets of 3-4 after that for the rest of the workout. Pushups actually felt okay – not easy, but manageable each round. Sprinted at the finish to get the sets of 6 and 3 done. So much sweat.
Very sad to see Matty go – such a role model to us all. I will do my best to uphold our blood oath to never let Steve pass me on a run.
Dan L says
Dropped in for a 5:30am class at CF St Louis (?) in Minneapolis. Nice people, good space, will leave a more detailed description in the travel section.
Worked up to a heavy 2 on the jerk. Hit 215 easily and then ran out of time.
Metcon was 5 rounds of
6 PC&J @ 145
8 KBS @ 72
Finished in 9:40 – it was harder than I thought it would be.
Matty – sorry to miss your last day. 6am won't be the same without you. We will forever pour out a little rose from our glasses in your honor.
Oh the blog is so rich today. I was going to post earlier but spent the morning considering whether Tolstoy would beat Dostoevsky in a muscle up off.
The picture of Nick makes me so proud to be an American who knows Nick. Now we know what Ryan Lochte is really competing for.
MattyChm – even I am sad to see you go even though we never wodded together. Your post workout reports were so often yucky funny. I hope Roy will take up the task as he did today. Looks like I'll have to come in early to help James clean up weights.
And, oh yeah, I did 85 reps today, which put me 4 lifts into the round of 12. Had 42 on the bar and dipped on the matador 12-9-6.
6am with Jess
Snatches at 75# and push ups. Got thru 10 of 15 push ups. My hands really did not like this one. Grip slipping and hands tearing early on. Really felt like I had energy to do larger sets but the hands wouldn't hold up. And I should have done dips on the matador. :/
Good luck, Matty!
I am so sad to see Matt go. He and I started at CFSBK around the same time and have always gone to 6 a.m. He is irreplaceable and will be a 6am'er for LIFE! Be prepared for 6am FaceTime.
Matt, sorry to have missed your last day at CFSBK, work got in the way. I remember joining the 6am group with legends as Peter M and Kevin R. You are know one of those legends. Best of luck at Crossfit MattyChm — the neighbors are going love you bailing barbells at 6am.
KH a.k.a. Cage says
7am with Jess and McDowell. Was able to get 2 reps into the round of 9 (134 total) with 53# on the bar and push ups. The humidity killed me today and I didn't feel right for quite a while afterwards. Why does crush week have to fall on the hottest, most humid week of the summer?
Best of luck to you, MattyChm!
Snatches were Rx'd and did 7-6-5…ring dips (all kipping singles and took a long time). Was worried my shoulders would be too fried to snatch after dips, but they were ok since I rested a lot. Snatches started in large sets on the first round and quickly went to 3s and 4s. My last rep was a snatch in the round of 9 that might have been after the buzzer but I'm counting it since DO made me face the entire class during the WOD. It helped keep me moving though! HOT today.
Asta luego, Matty. Your a class act. You, Cori, and the kids will all be missed. I'll look forward to seeing you guys for FGB and Murph. Chappaqua sounds nice but I hope it's not like the movie of the same name. That would not be fun.
132 Reps Rx'd
I was running on fumes and this was way harder than I expected. Maybe I should have had a few glasses of rose before class. My thumbs are very angry. So much sweat this week.
lady fox says
SweatFest 2016 for me today at Noon.
17:13 with RX snatches and pushups.
-snatches went: 11-10, 5-5-5-3, 6-6, 6-3, 6,3. Somewhat sandbagged that round of 18 and broke it up way too much. Forced myself to do no less than 6 reps in subsequent sets. Kinda felt like a boxer going into this with all the tape and bandaids on my hands. Overall helped but did open a new wound. I don't want to touch a barbell or a pullup bar for a couple days. Hope the programming gods will agree! 😉
-pushups were mostly in sets of 3-5's. felt surprisingly strong for me which never happens with pushups.
Matty C., everyone here has already said all the things that are so true of you and that may or may not have brought tears to my eyes. You and your family (and Beignet!) will be missed tremendously. The only comfort is that I know that our iPad will be safe from you and your traveling barbell. Please come back often because you'll always have a 2nd home in SBK.
Allie B says
I will miss Matt, Cori, their adorable kids and dog!!! It was such a pleasure being on Matt's team in the open– you're a great captain! I'll miss you guys!
Today's WOD: scaled to 52#, and ring dips to 14-12-10-8…
Made it through 2 of the 6 snatch round… Snatches were 6-5-4-3-3, 6-5-4-3, etc. Ring dips broken up in sets no greater than 4.
Super helpful advice from Lauren S. all week! She's been giving me advice before every workout about how to scale, etc.
Whit was a big help today as well… Helped me scale properly!!! And gave us an amazing recovery- AR! Yay!
Can't wait to see what's on tap for Saturday and Sunday… Good job guys!
4 times through:
12 walking lunges (front rack x2, overhead x2) 75# + fat bar
6 pull ups (2-2-2, 2-2-2, 2-2-1-1, 2-2-2-1)
6 low rings supported MU transitions
6 HSPUs w abmat (2-2-2, 2-2-2, 3-3, 3-3)
12 GHD sit-ups