Yesterday at Summit Strength we had our weekly “D-Day” event, which is a very simple, but very brutal workout of prowler and sled sprints. Everyone who comes to class has to complete 5 of each and the score is the overall time it takes to complete the task. Since we live in Indiana, and it is still somehow cold here in March and April, most of these days have been done inside. However, yesterday was beautiful so we pushed the Westside Barbell prowler outside the door and got our CrossFit on in the sunshine.
What was really obvious, almost from the first rep, was that the people who have been consistently coming to class were able to recover faster between sprints, not because of having a better “engine” as they say in CrossFit circles, but rather because they possess greater strength. Each person was getting at least 90 seconds of rest between each repetition, so all were breathing normally by the time they were set to go again. The difference came because the sled felt lighter to those who were stronger, whereas for our newer team members, the task was not only sprinting 50+ yards, but also moving a fairly heavy object across the distance, as well.
This also manifests itself in classic CrossFit WODs such as Fran. For those who don’t know, Fran is 21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups, done with a 95 pound barbell for men, and a 65 pound barbell for women. Let’s contrast two athletes to demonstrate the point. Athlete A we will call Jack, and athlete B we will call Eric. Jack has a 300 pound front squat, and a 200 pound push press. In contrast, Eric has a 190 pound front squat, and a 130 pound push press. Who do you suppose is going to find the thrusters more difficult between the two? Clearly, Eric. Jack is working at under 50% of his one rep maximum effort, making the thruster portion of Fran a fairly easy challenge. As long as he is in decent shape and can knock out pull-ups, I can almost guarantee Jack’s time is going to be much faster than Eric’s.
The point I am trying to make here is that you can do all the metabolic conditioning, cardio, and gymnastics you want. If you cannot move heavy weight, it is always going to be hard to take down any challenge thrown your way, whether it be a benchmark CrossFit WOD such as Fran or Nancy, or just the couch your best friend needs help moving out of their place.