Sunday 9.19.10

Feel like doing this after you hit a PR?

A goal achieved, any goal be it fitness related or otherwise, is a motivating experience. Anyone who has hit a previously unattainable goal has at least felt inside the kind of excitement the guy in the picture is demonstrating.

When it comes to our goals, a lot is talked about the setting of the goal (writing it down, setting a deadline, etc) and the actual achievement of the goal, but what about the part in the middle, the hard work that goes into gaining the ability to accomplish the task? That sometimes gets left out, as if only the setting of a goal will result in its achievement.

And so it is with our fitness goals. Too many of us set a goal and then sit back and expect the program to magically produce those results. Consider this example: Athlete A wants 10 handstand push ups, and Athlete B wants a body weight overhead squat. Both are athletes at The Compound, and therefore are doing the exact same SWOD's and metcons 4-6 times per week. How will each athlete achieve their seemingly opposing goals doing the exact same program? Now consider this example from the coaches' perspectives. How can we help 50-100 athletes achieve 50-100 different goals with the same program?

The answer is in the 10:00 from the time each class at The Compound starts and the time instruction officially begins: your warm up. This time accounts for about an hour each week, or 56 hours over a year's time. That's a lot of time, and it's time that we see more and more athletes WASTING!

If I am Athlete A in pursuit of 10 handstand push ups, I should walk into The Compound 5-10 minutes before class starts to take care of signing in, putting my stuff somewhere, etc. On the hour, I will do something quick to break a sweat: 400m run, 500m row, 2:00 of jump rope, etc. I then have 8:00 to get myself upside down and practice my handstand push ups. Some days I may do full range of motion handstand push ups, some days I'll just do static holds, some days I'll go to the tumbling floor and try freestanding handstand or handstand walks. I'll switch it up based on what the SWOD and metcon have in store for me, but I'll be doing something to get me towards my goal every time I'm at the gym.

If I'm Athlete B who wants a bodyweight overhead squat, I'll do the same thing, only after 2:00 to break a sweat and get the blood flowing, I'll be doing shoulder pass throughs with PVC to increase my shoulder mobility, I'll work deep overhead squats with an empty bar and really focus on the technique and staying on my heels with an upright torso. I'll work active shoulders and load the bar with increasing heavier weights in order to teach my body to handle heavy weight in that awkward position. I'll ask a trainer or another athlete to check my form.

The point is that I set a goal and I use any free time available to me to work towards that goal. Too often I see athletes who can't do pull ups, but if pull ups aren't programmed in any WODs that week, they literally won't touch the pull up bar until a WOD tells them to, and then they get frustrated about their lack of pull up ability. If you want pull ups, spend your warm up time on the bar. If you want to be able to run more efficiently, work some POSE drills. If you want to be able to run an 400m or 800m without stopping, run a little farther each warm up until you're hitting 800m consistently.

Proper utilization of the 10:00 warm up time will not only get you to your goals faster, but will also get you fully warmed up for the SWOD and metcon, and help prevent injury by getting blood flowing through your muscle tissues.

When was the last time you saw a muscle up programmed in a WOD? Do you want to do 'em but can't? It's all in the warm up! If you don't have a specific goal you're shooting for (shame on you if that's the case!), you can still use the warm up time to your benefit. On the board over the computer we have the CrossFit Vacaville North warm up and the Burgener warm up written down for you. Both of those warm ups are designed to prime your system for the intense work of the WOD. If you need some clarification on these warm ups, ask a coach.

Coaches are at The Compound at least 10 minutes before class, so get in early, get situated, and get to warming up. Then smash some PR's and jump really high wearing a singlet like the dude above. I bet he has a good warm up routine. bc


  1. Handstand Walk practice for me prior to my workouts that especially stress the shoulders and back

  2. METCON:
    400m run 2:04
    400m run 1:57
    400m run 2:01
    400m run 2:16
    400m run 2:09
    400m run 2:11