intended Stimulus and CrossFit Workouts (WODs)

I previously wrote about how CrossFit Workouts (WODs) generally have a key intended stimulus, in relation to scaling CrossFit Workouts (WODs).

The stimuli variables to consider –

  • Load (light – heavy)
  • Distance (short – long)
  • Speed (slow – fast)
  • Volume (low – high)
  • Movement complexity (easy – complex)

in the context of a CrossFit Workout (WOD) most will have elements of one or more of the stimuli variables, with one being picked as the intended stimulus, but a CrossFit Workout (WOD) and its intended stimulus don’t need to be mutually exclusive, and so as a coach you an alter the CrossFit Workout (WOD) to meet whatever your chosen intended stimulus, or scale to meet the needs/ limitations of your athletes.

taking Fran as an example (21-15-9, 95lb thrusters, pull ups)

say you want the stimulus to be prioritised to Load – you could simply increase the weight and add weight to the pull up. given that Crossfit focuses on intensity however, you could also choose to lower the rep range to maintain this intensity.

so heavy Fran would be 9-6-3 135lb thrusters, 45lb pull ups (for example)

say you want to prioritise for volume – you lower the weight (or in this case scale the movement) and increase the reps so ‘fat’ fran would be 42-30-18, 45lb thrusters, ring rows)

if you wanted to prioritise movement complexity you’ll adjust the movements so ‘complex fran’ would be 21-15-9 95lb clusters, muscle ups.

if you wanted to prioritise duration it would be  ‘pyramid fran’ 21-15-9-15-21 95lb thrusters, pull ups

by knowing how to alter the stimuli variables to meet your intended stimulus the same CrossFit Workout (WOD) can result in several variations, and continue to offer a challenge to any level of athlete at any point in their training programming. the important aspect to continue to remember is that the scaling and modifications need to be done with safety of the athlete as a priority.

And don’t compromise on intensity, after all “be impressed by intensity, not volume” – Greg Glassman