I thought today would be a good piggy back post to Nabil’s on “Mindful Training”, as I believe the concept of a REDO workout falls in line with being mindful and gives an opportunity to learn from our training.
I’ve spoken a lot in previous posts about the benefits of variance in training. For me at least, I think it’s what makes Crossfit super fun with constantly adding more and more challenges each time we step in the gym. I think by always upping the ante, we continue to evolve in our fitness. However, as much value there is in variance, I believe there is in redoing and revisiting past workouts…. REGULARLY. This post isn’t to knock “doing new stuff” it’s really to highlight what redos give you in terms of a learning aspect that sometimes just random/intention-LESS workouts can’t.
I was looking at my calendar on Beyond the Whiteboard and realized I’ve logged quite a bit of workouts (more than 2300) over the years, not to mention the year or so I just logged mine in a book. The Sweat Shop has been open for almost 10 years (WAHOO!). If you do the math, that’s around 3650 daily workouts. Looking back in programming and performing much of these workouts, I think Sweat Shop has done a good job of not only keeping things varied, but has also appropriately progressed the level and complexity of training for continual improvement across multiple levels of fitness, whether that’s adding new lifts, skills, formats, etc. With that being said, out of 3650 daily workouts, I can guess that less that 10 percent, if not more, of those are workout redos.
So why REDO?
For one, REDOS allow you to measure up your current level of fitness across a time period. Whether it’s a year or more out, or even just a couple weeks or months out, you get that snap shot. By looking at your time to complete or total rounds, reps, or weight, you can get a gauge of what has improved, stayed stagnant, or regressed from one time to another. In terms of physiological adaptations, all knowledge is good knowledge. I know that some people approach “testing” with a little more stress than usual, but it’s important to try not to overthink or put so much weight on the results. Think of it simply as a snapshot. Not every re-test I program for the gym or my private clients to is see a PR. These redos are really to see cause and effect. The “cause” being whatever specific training focus I’ve done recently measures up to the “effect” which is the given output. These redos help pave the path of where programming needs to go further, or maybe even stay the same.
REDOs also allow you to learn strategy on the same workout or how to properly approach similar workouts. You can learn how your body can withstand the same workload if done a different way (start out slower, break reps up early, maybe don’t be too conservative, etc). By experiencing the workout again with a new approach, you can learn the best way to get the result you’re looking for. I had Bri recently retest 18.1 and told her, forget the score here, and just do it at a specifically slower pace for 16 minutes and go harder after that. While it was cool to see her PR, the best part was hearing her tell me how much more in control she felt and how less painful that it was by simply starting out more relaxed early on. Going forward, she can now take this successful redo experience and apply it to other similar workouts.
If you’re OK with REDOs, you become a rock, mentally. To keep it simple, you can’t be afraid to fail if you want to see growth. I think this rings true in many walks of life. Let’s face it, it takes a lot of courage to do something that made you feel like complete shit the first time you did it. Yes, there are just some WODs that will always hurt a little, but more times than not, the hurt was put on by either it being the first time stimulus or a bad strategy like not keeping your cool in the early rounds of a workout. All of these things that can get better with a redo. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve redone workouts with a smarter plan (and being fresh of course) and how much less painful it was. Rather than make the workout hurt for 80% of the workout because I went out too hot to early or didn’t break up my reps or take a second to breathe, I made it hurt for the last 20%.