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Strengths, Weaknesses, and Just Checking the Box


Strengths, Weaknesses, and Just Checking the Box

5 rounds of:
3 minutes of rowing
3 minutes of rest
Post total distance rowed.


Bird hasn’t let a setback stop her from getting fitter.

Strengths, Weaknesses, and Just Checking the Box

Last week we talked about hitting WOD’s with all-out intensity vs. pacing and how both methods have a place and should be a part of every athletes toolbox.  Today I want to discuss the considerations that should be made when you see a WOD.  
In any WOD there are going to be things that you’re good at and things you’re bad at.  Sometimes the entire WOD consist of things that are weaknesses and other days, though they seem to occur much less frequently, are all strengths.  Depending on which category the movements fall into our approach to the WOD as a whole changes.  Strengths are going to be attacked.  These are movements we are proficient at, we feel confident with and typically know how hard we can push ourselves through them.  Weaknesses are movements we know we will struggle to get through and if attacked too aggressively will lead to redlining our heart rates.  These also tend to be movements that frustrate us quickly.
When looking at the daily WOD see what your strengths are and plan to attack them hard.  This is where we need to make-up time because we know there will be plenty of rest once we get to our weaknesses.  Once at our weaknesses we need to have a plan.  Break things up into smaller sets or just take a slower pace in general and chip away.  If a workout plays to all strengths then it’s going to be a great day and you should go into it with a PR in mind.  If you’re looking at all weaknesses, then buckle up and get ready for the ride.  Stay patient, keep calm and just keep moving.  Remind yourself often that a weakness won’t become a strength in one workout.
Now, the last category a workout may fall into is what we like to call a “check the box” kind of day.  I first heard Nicole use this term and I think it sums it up perfect.  Some days you’re going to come in feeling beat-up, wether it’s because of a long day at work, a vacation of crappy food and drinking, a night of little sleep or maybe it’s been a tough week in the gym.  On these days you just need to come in and get the workout done.  Check the box.  Did the workout; Check.  No expectations and no beating yourself up when it’s over.
Approaching the WOD with a realistic attitude of how things are going for you that day, that moment, will help you keep things in perspective and get more out of your training.  When HQ throws you a bone, jump on it!  When they throw you a curve-ball stay calm and chip away.  If it’s just an off-day, then recognize it as such and just check the box.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Have you ever just checked the box?

4 Responses

  1. Ian Cofrin

    Great post Shane! I definitely “check the box” more than I’d like. Fortunately, getting better at using rest/mobility/recovery days has helped reduce the frequency of my “off days.”

  2. Googs

    Shane, this post, and the one from last week you reference, are great. Regarding intensity and pacing, I feel like this is something I’m still learning how to get right, and the more I do this CF stuff the more I appreciate the coaches at Roots, because you are all very good at helping me with weights, reps, and pacing to derive the right benefit for any given workout. As far as “check the box” days, oh yeah, I have them. Some days I come in just to move my beat up body, because I have learned that’s better than letting it get even tighter on the couch — check the box. Some days do some ridiculous scale because I’m so far from the prescribed movement it’s silly — check the box. Some days I’m just not feelin’ it during warmup, but shit, there I am at 5:45 in the friggin’ morning with a goddamned barbell in my hands, so, yeah, move through this one, don’t get hurt, and check the box!

  3. Nice post. I know a few decent elite athlete coaches, and one pointed out that in no other sport – or perhaps in the canon of sports physiology research – it is advised to push hard every workout. I experimented, before my last break, with “easy”, “tempo” and “hard” days. In a few weeks I saw some big gains. The body want to stress and adapt. But too much stress digs a hole. Especially in CF “mellow” days are good for skill work, movement, taking a step off to help others, or just put a bounce in your step. Then 6-8 workouts like that and you walk in ready to bite the ass off the bear.
    Nice thoughtful post, Shane. Thanks.