We often focus on Crossfits Constantly varied, functional fitness, at high intensity, that is universally scalable definition, which is acheived though developing work capacity over broad time and modal domains and we know that one of the big secrets to the effectiveness of Crossfit is that component of high intensity, that develops Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, one of the10 General Physical Skills (GPS), this in turn helps develop stamina.
The Challenge however, is that once you get past the rapid gains made by the vast majority of beginners, results and performance begin to plateau. it’s all well and good saying we should simply do more crossfit, but the reality is that to really progress in crossfit, you need to have consistent and progressive structure that allows you to train with intensity, regardless of your level or ability, this is why theres so much focus in crossfit coaching on ‘intended stimulus‘ and how that impacts on scaling. Good scaling should (in theory) maintain the level of intensity required to ensure progress whilst lowering the challenge of the workout to something within the athletes abilities.
But that all goes out the window when the buzzer goes and you kick off the workout, go too fast at the beginning as you’ll be gasping for air later, go too slow and you’ll loose that intended stimulus, so in turn, as a crossfit athlete, being able to assess a strategy for dealing with a workout is a key skill to be developed.
take murph for example, a hero WOD consisting of 1mile run, 100 pullups, 200 push ups, 300 squats and another 1 mile run. Do you sprint the 1mile, or pace it? do you do all the pullups in one go, or do you break them up? if you break them up, how do you split them? all the questions are important in helping you to achieve your goal, completing the WOD quickly, safely and without compromising on movement quality.
This is where pacing really comes into focus. good pacing is all about ensuring that you’re going at a consistent pace thats’ manageable under the load of the workout and sustainable for the duration of the workout, it also involves knowing how to split up reps, when to take rest and when to breath.
Take our example of murph, one of the easiest ways to split murph’s body weight movement is to split them into rounds of cindy 5 pullups, 10 push ups, 15 squats, and resting after each round of cindy.
another example of good pacing is to ensure that when you take breaks you keep moving and walk to a target adnw alk back asa way of ensuring that you limit the time you take resting, you’ll find that standing still hands on knees is the biggest time sucker.
in the WOD DT, we see deadlifts, transition into hang power cleans, into push jerks- so part of pacing here is where to transition. for most you’d do all the deadlifts, rest, deadlift into the hang clean position before doing a hang power clean, an athlete with pacing would rest one deadlift before, so that the last deadlift automatically transitions into the first hang power clean, this is not only more energy efficient, but also saves time of the duration of a longer workout.