New look to the WODs

If you have been to the workout blog this morning you will notice a new format to the workouts. This really isn't new, we followed a similar format for quite a while last year, but for many of you it is new and it is a little different than what we did in the past.
I am talking about the 3 different levels to the Strength/Skill work and the WOD. Here is a simple breakdown of what these Levels are and how you should follow them.

Strength/Skill Work:

Beginner/Intermediate - someone who is still fairly new to strength training. And when I say new I mean you have 0 to 18 months of regular strength training under your belt. A beginner or intermediate level lifter is someone who is still seeing strength gains from regular, progressive lifting. For you sticking with the regular 5 reps, 3 rep and 1 rep lifting program is the way to go. If you are still seeing improvement, no reason to change it up. Your goal is to add 5-10# to your lifts/sets/reps each week, if you are doing this consistently - Stick with it.
Advanced - This is the lifter who has more than a year of regular strength training under them and has plateaued with the basic 5,3 and 1 rep lifting regimen. It is time to mix it up and attack the strength training a little differently.

One thing to keep in mind before deciding you should follow the Advanced lifting program is how consistent you are in your lifting each week. If you are not hitting the strength days each and every week, this may be the actual cause of your lack of strength gains and not the reps/sets programming. Be honest with yourself and if gaining strength in the lifts is important to you (it should be), then first get consistent with your lifting before deciding the Beg/Int program isn't working for you.

WOD:

Look at the Levels within the WOD programming as a daily guide. One day you may be a beginner based on the skills/lifts or weight prescription given for the WOD, while the next day you may fall into the Intermediate or Advanced category. Our goal with the WOD is training, and each day we program the workouts to give us a specific training stimulus. If you are not completing the WOD with the right intensity or within the right time frame, you are getting a different training stimulus than what the programming is intending. It is not helping you in the long run.
Each day be honest with yourself and choose the appropriate level based on the skills, movements and desired intensity of the programmed workout.
Let's look at today's WOD -
"Diane"
21,15,9
Deadlift 225/155
HSPU
This workout is designed to be moderately heavy and completed within 5 minutes. Completing Diane in more than 10 minutes means you missed the desired stimulus we programmed the workout for. Don't get wrapped up in the thought that doing a workout Rx'd is more important than the training stimulus we want for the WOD. Falling into this trap will actually hurt your training progress in the long run.
If you cannot perform strict HSPU, for example, with the right range of motion and with enough speed to complete the workout in the right amount of time, you need to choose a lower level to get the right stimulus from the WOD.
Use the levels as a way to find your weeknesses and then set goals to turn them into strengths. For example if today you could easily complete the deadlifts at the rx'd weight but are not able to do HSPU and therefore have to scale down a level, you now know a weakness and should spend time working on your HSPU, whether it be a lack of strength, lack of ability to do proper handstands or both. Fix the weakness, put in some extra work over the next few weeks/months.
So you need to look at a couple of factors when deciding what level you should attempt for the WOD each day:

  1. At what level can you perform the lifts and skills with proper technique and range of motion. If you cannot perform the movements as prescribed properly with the right range of motion for each rep, you need to scale the movement/choose a different level until you can do so.  Form and technique are more important than intensity. Compromising form to complete a workout faster is not smart nor will it give you the training results you are ultimately after.
  2. At what level will you be able to perform the lifts and skills required with the desired speed and intensity for the programming. "Diane" should ultimately be completed in 5 minutes or less, but definitely not more than 10 minutes. You are better off choosing a level that will enable you to perform at a speed and intensity to complete the entire workout as fast as form allows without having to continually break it up into multiple sets of only a few reps each. 

What about the person who can do a few reps of a movement properly but does not have the strength or stamina to complete the whole workout as prescribed with the desired intensity? You will see in some workouts that instead of scaling the movement between the levels we actually scale the reps. But this will not always be the case as most of the time it is the movement that needs to be scaled. However, going back to today's WOD, if you are able to do more than a few proper HSPU with good form but not all of the prescribed 45 reps, it would be a good idea to scale the reps each round to a manageable number so that you can still maintain the proper intensity and speed desired while building your strength in the full movement. This is something you will have to look at each day and let us help you decide if it would be better to scale the reps or the movement. You may fall in between the levels written and that is o.k., we will help you adjust to get the right workout for you.