Annie Thorisdottir competes at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games.

You might have noticed some additional work at the bottom of the whiteboard in recent weeks “for competitors.”

Do you need to do that work if you’re not planning on competing in upcoming CrossFit events?

No.

And, in fact, most times you shouldn’t.

For the previous months, we’ve all just done the workout of the day, and we’re getting pretty good results all around. Some of you have noticed that you actually have to work out less often because the daily WODs are so intense that you need time to recover. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. The challenge is to work out with high intensity and balance that effort with the right amount of rest and recovery.

Competitors, however, are going to be faced with a very specific set of challenges come the New Year, so we’re adding in some additional work to prepare them.

For instance, they might be faced with four hard workouts in six hours. They might need to do muscle-ups for reps. They might need to push themselves into that red-line area that we ask everyone else to stop short of. They might need to be very confident with the most complicated CrossFit movements in various combinations.

Basically, they need to be prepared for everything, so they’re being given extra work to increase the volume of activity, build specific strengths and master skills.

The tendency when there’s more work on the board is to simply do it because everyone else is doing it and “more is better.” It’s not.

The workout of the day is more than enough to improve your fitness if you give it full intensity. It will kick your butt and make you stronger and faster and better. Hit that workout hard and you will see huge gains—guaranteed. In fact, sometimes competitors should skip the extra work if the tank is empty on a given day.

Ultimately, doing too much will result in lowered intensity and performance across the board, and doing too much too fast will result in extreme soreness and injury.

For example, many people in the gym could do 100 pull-ups in a workout, but what’s the point of doing that? In some cases, the point is preparing you for a high-volume pull-up workout that might pop up in The CrossFit Games Open. Other times, it’s simply a round number that has no business being on the board and will just make you sore for six days.

Consider also “double days.” Is it sustainable to hit two maximum-intensity workouts in a day? Maybe in the short term, and it might be a good idea if you’re trying to increase your volume in preparation for a contest. But many people, and Games legend Chris Spealler is one of them, maintain that doing too much too often is unsustainable.

It’s all about balance. Come summer, the competitors will need to take time off and lower their intensity to recover. They’ll be asked to do something less than the workout of the day, and they’ll spend more time on rehab, prehab, technique and mobility while the rest of us crush Fran. In the end, we’ll all end up doing the same amount of total work, more or less, just at different times of the year.

Are the competitors more important to warrant specific programming? No. They just have specific needs and they’re on a schedule. The rest of us aren’t. We’re also very confident that just doing the daily WOD will prepare you for competition too.

We will cover everything the competitors are doing in class eventually, but we’ll do it at a slower pace where we drill form and technique and emphasize mechanics and consistency before intensity. We will also work up to that intensity to avoid overuse injuries and overtraining.

When you see extra work on the board, please bear in mind that more is most definitely not always better, and it’s certainly not required.

If you have any questions about the workouts, competition or anything else, don’t hesitate to ask your coach!

Upcoming Competitions

FrostFit Games: Jan. 28

Reebok CrossFit Games Open 2012: Feb. 22-March 25

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Debbie Peet

What if you haven’t gotten all the extra training in and you still want to compete? Does that mean you should ask and try to fit it in at some point? I am unsable to be at the gym daily and I havent’ been attempting Wods at home.

    Mike

    You can absolutely compete without doing extra. Our programming is designed to prepare you for anything – including a CrossFit competition. If you’re coming regularly and working hard – which you are! – you’ll be more than ready for a competition.

    In fact, when the Open rolls around, we will be doing some of the workouts as part of our programming whether people are competing or not.

    You’ll be ready!

      debbie

      sweet!!

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