Dissecting a Workout
This blog is dedicated to those of you out there who, like me, enjoy geeking out on numbers and thinking analytically about useful and useless subjects. Today we talk about dissecting a workout with the goal of figuring out what is humanly possible, individually possible, how that applies to your workout, scaling, and in the end, the development of your fitness.
This Blog idea came about a few weeks ago when we decided that we were going to retest a workout from 1-½ years ago, which we opted to call “The Cavern.” This name was fitting because the movements and rep schemes were doable and allow anyone who was willing to go “inside” of the cavern the opportunity to experience an amazing workout stimulus.
Dissecting the workout into what is possible:
80 Double Unders
60 Double Unders
40 Double Unders
20 Double Unders
The rep scheme of double unders 80-60-40-20 equates to 200 double unders.
The wallballs at 40-30-20-10 adds up to 100 total wallballs.
On average, +/- a few seconds, 100 double unders takes about 60 seconds.
30 wallballs about 60 seconds.
This allows us to break things down further into rep times. It takes about 0.6 seconds to perform a dub and 2 seconds to perform a wallball.
At average unbroken pace, 200 double unders will take an athlete 2 minutes.
At average unbroken pace, 100 wallballs will take an athlete 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
So, if you went ham on this one, you could potentially complete all of the repetitions in 5 minutes and 20 seconds.
The last factor to consider is that there are 7 transitions in this workout. From the rope to the ball and from the ball to the rope. Say these transitions take you 3 seconds. That equates to 21 seconds.
Reps + Transitions = 5 minutes and 41 seconds as the fastest pace that the workout can be completed in, given our numbers.
So how could we improve upon the 5:41 time? The simplest improvement would be, Can I transition faster than 3 seconds each time? After that it comes down to rep speed. Can I wallball at 1.9 seconds per rep? Can I spin the rope and jump faster? Transitions are effort based and often times logistics like equipment placement and distance are a factor. Logistics you get the better end sometimes and the worse end sometimes. Don’t worry about what is out of your control. As for the reps, QUALITY, CONSISTENCY, and only then QUANTITY. How well do you squat? Well? Then how long can you squat well for? A long time? Now you can add speed to your squat and not break down your body. If you want to wallball faster, for longer periods of time, you need to improve your air squat. When we have air squat workouts, I like to step back on those days from speed and really focus on the movement pattern and doing it as perfectly as possible, each and every rep. I’m trying to build a habit. Arms up, hips back, knees out, ankles flex, torso upright, hips below knees, drive through feet to full standing position with hips all the way open. Does it slow me down? Yes it does. But you better believe on wallball day it reaps major benefits. It gives me the confidence that I can push my squats deep in a workout, knowing that my quality is sufficient and that I can push myself without fear of breaking down my body.
What does all of this mean for us? I often hear athletes discussing workouts. Someone will say, “I don’t know how ‘so and so’ did that so fast, I was moving the whole time and they beat me by ‘X time’.” If you’ve found yourself saying or even wondering this, consider the following:
Did you truly go into “the cavern?”
Were you unbroken on your reps?
Were your transitions 3 seconds? Or were you taking an extra 5-10 before picking up the equipment.
Were your logistics different than theirs?
Did you choose options that allowed you to maintain a fast 1-rep speed?
Going into the cavern means that you are willing to run/jog your transitions. That you pick up your equipment right when you get to it instead of looking at it for a few seconds. You just get started, 8 times. It all hurts the same whether you take an extra 2 seconds or go for it. But that 2 seconds sure does add up.
When we look at this workout, the hope is not that everyone does it unbroken. The hope is that everyone chooses options that allow them the best opportunity to achieve the desired stimulus. If opting for a 10 pound ball instead of the 20 allows you to maintain a 2-second per rep pace across 100 wallballs, then why not lighten the load? If dialing back the number of dubs allows you to transition back to your wallball so that there isn’t an over-extended period of time between your squats, why not do that? Could you have done the cavern unbroken with the 6# MB? 8#? 10#? We’ve got options so that you can MAINTAIN your SECONDS PER REP and hit the stimulus, improving your abilities in the 10 Components of fitness: Cardiovascular & Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. When you consider these 10 components and the wallball you see that only 1 of the 10 are biased towards choosing a heavier or “RX” wallball and that is strength. A case can be made for power but that comes down to the individual and some math. However, we do strength sessions to hone raw strength. Metcon time is time to focus and choosing a lighter wallball allows you to positively benefit the other 9 and in turn mental strength also!
There is no shame in scaling. In fact I think that scaling is COURAGEOUS. It shows an understanding and acceptance of one’s self. It shows that the ego is being set aside in pursuit of a better fitness. The athletes I see progress their fitness the fastest scale workouts often, regardless of whether they are capable of a movement or weight.
Thanks for geeking out with me on rep speeds and scaling. You all are the best and watching you each succeed fills my heart.