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Heavy Days, Scaling, and Metcon Productivity


Heavy Days, Scaling, and Metcon Productivity

50-40-30-20 and 10 rep rounds of:
If you have done Annie a number of times in your life, do it backwards today 10-20-30-40-50

Heavy Days, Scaling, and Metcon Productivity

Everybody loves a sexy metcon.  It’s true.  The sweaty long shit-show of a workout that is good for dinner table conversations and producing a “badass” feeling as you walk the streets of Boulder.  But what about the sexy strength day?

Many times we see athletes pack intensity and determination into a metcon but they come up short in transferring the same effort level into a heavy lift.  We’ve posted many times in the past on the reasons why it’s important to go heavy on your heavy days.  Here’s another reason.  It’s affects your scaled effort in the metcon.

Take athlete X.  They walk into max effort clean & jerk Monday.  Seven singles to get to a heavy one rep.  They see today as an easy day and contemplate going for a run this evening to “get in a real workout” while they day dream and work through the class with no focused effort.  They work up to a semi-heavy lift, obviously below their potential – say 125 pounds.  But let’s say if they had put in the same effort level as they do in a Helen or Cindy, they would have clean and jerked 140.

Flash forward to the following week when the shop rolls out a workout with clean and jerks, running, and pull-ups.  A true metcon that is taking people somewhere around 10 minutes.  The coach says, “To get dialed in to the weight you should use for this workout, take 65% of your one rep max clean and jerk.”  The athlete scales their effort from the previous Monday and completes the workout.  They’re disappointed when they feel that the workout was a little less challenging then they anticipated and they have one of the fastest times.  It all goes back to the clean & jerk Monday!

The athlete’s effort scaled to 65% based on 125 pounds: 81
The athlete’s unobtained potential effort of 140 scaled to 65%: 91

THAT’S A 10 POUND DIFFERENCE!  Imagine what that would do to your power output, metcon potential, and your productivity over months and months of training.

The point is that you heavy days are just as important as your metcon days.

When you make the transition to appreciating and going after both, then you have evolved as a CrossFitter.

4 Responses

  1. I’d like to add that you cannot get the hormonal response from a metcon that you get with lifting heavy, and if you’re here because you want to be better, faster, stronger, healthier then you need the benefits of both.

    The best before and after results that I ever saw back in atlanta came from a girl that ate Paleo and did a strength bias crossfit program that we had come up with for her. It consisted mostly of lifting heavy and sprinting and accessory work.

    Check her out:

  2. Caps

    Lifting heavy feels amazing! I don’t know what chemical it releases, but I walk out feeling on top of the world after super heavy lifts.

  3. Collin

    How do you find a balance between going heavy and focusing on form? I don’t consider strength days to be easy days, but I do consider them a chance to work on my form for those lifts, so I end up lifting a little lighter than I could if I let my shoulders roll forward in my OHS.

    1. Shane

      Collin your coaches will help you with that, but there is a fine line between the intensity that we’re looking for and proper form. It’s a fine balance. We expect to see a breakdown in form as you fatigue and we’re here to give you cues as that happens to help you remember your technique.

      Long story short, go all out and let your coaches tell you when it’s too much.