Skills: Before, During, After

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These guys love working on skills before ,during, and after the party! Look at those faces!

After our class warm-up and whiteboard briefing, you’ll often here the coach say, “if you need any modifications or substitutions come chat with me”. While it’s a wonderful opportunity for folks who need a substitution for an injury, these “chats” are not limited to just those situations. While we have standardized rep and weight ranges for our three-tier programming Rx, ADV, Beef, they are still generalized to a large group of people of similar abilities and aren’t always a “perfect” fit for every person’s skill set or needs. In a perfect world, everyone would have their own rep scheme to fit the desired effect we want out of the daily WOD. Luckily, you always have the coaches to guide you!

If the workout of the day has a skill or movement that you’ve just recently done unassisted, chances are you’ll need to scale the reps to match the desired intensity of the given workout. For example, the popular Rx’d “Fran” workout has pull-up reps of 21-15-9. Fran is supposed to be fast. While you may have enough in you to do 1-3 pullups unbroken at a time, the stamina and endurance needed to elicit the desired “high intensity” of Fran would be more around 15 unbroken reps or being able to do that first set of 21 in 2-3 sets. So, I would suggest that exact idea to someone needing to scale. For some, reps of 15-12-9 might be more manageable to do in 2-3 sets, while for others, it could be 12-9-6. The same principle can be applied to someone looking to move up to adv or beefy reps. Our goal DURING workouts is to perform skills with some level of intensity so that you improve your overall conditioning with as many skills as possible.

Now, keep in mind that in order to make continual improvement in skills like pull-ups, or to eventually work your way towards an rx’d or adv Fran, simply waiting for them to come up in workouts isn’t the most efficient. In addition, doing high volume pull-ups in WODs isn’t always the smartest way of learning them. This is why I suggest picking 1-2 skills that can be done BEFORE or AFTER the workout multiple times a week. Some good formats for these are your traditional strength format of 3-5 sets with 1-6 reps while resting as needed. One format we have been using a lot before workouts has been the alternating EMOM of 2 skills for 6-8 minutes. This is an easy format to get skill work in and in a short period of time. You’ve probably noticed us use the term “GOAT” during these. This is just another name for “accountability work” or skills you need to be doing more often. The strength format is best for learning, but the EMOM can be a good tool for developing muscle endurance as you have to repeat the skill more quickly with less rest. While most of us can benefit from skill work each day, it’s important to keep in mind the amount of work you’ve done either before or what you will do after it. I wouldn’t suggest doing a bunch of volume, say pullups or pushups, in an EMOM right before doing a ton of volume in the WOD of the same movements. Split up the skills you need to work on during the week and find a time in the schedule of WODS where you can get them in freshest and most focused.

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