I finally got my copy of Power, Speed, Endurance by Brian MacKenzie of CrossFit Endurance. I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect – maybe 100 pages filled with controversial ideas. What I got was:
- A beautiful, thick, large-format book packed with hundreds of slow-motion stills of every CrossFit exercise as well as running, swimming, and cycling technique.
- A nuanced view of the pros and cons of traditional endurance training and the CrossFit approach.
- Finally, a clear explanation of CrossFit Endurance programming that “clicked” with my brain – I never really understood the methodology behind the website programming until I read the book!
- A comprehensive “manual” of CrossFit, incorporating weightlifting, gymnastics, sport skills, mobility, and nutrition.
In short, it far exceeded my expectations. It deserves a place next to Tudor Bompa’s classic Periodization for Sport on my bookshelf, representing a radically alternative philosophy. PSE advocates constant variation with a lot of flexibility in programming, but also admits that in order to compete in endurance events, you have to practice the skill of the sport and do time trials at distance. Bompa agrees on the skill aspect, but advocates a highly regimented program that is proven but breaks down easily if you don’t have 800-1000 hours per year to devote to training. It will be interesting to read (or re-read in the case of Bompa) both books and draw out the nuggets from each.
I will tell you the following impacts in the first week:
1. I found out that what I thought was Pose running was not. When I tried it after reading the running skill section in the book, I was exhausted and felt like I had just done 1000 deadlifts, meaning that I was using completely different muscles. Humble pie indeed. In 25 years I had never thought about midline stabilization when running. Duh.
2. I got in the pool and found out I was actually swimming pretty well. Core engaged – check. Both push and pull on the kick – check. Etc. Etc. Again, never really thought about it before. Eye-opening.
Congrats to BMack on a great product. Plus it’s heavy enough to turn my backpack into a weighted vest!
Technorati Tags: crossfit
,Power Speed Endurance
Winter is winding down, CRASH-Bs are over, and the docks are going in soon in the East. While for many this means that the CrossFit Open is starting and they are looking forward to the CrossFit Games, for me it means that it’s time to become a cherry-picker.
What I mean is that I have spent the winter doing whatever CrossFit threw at me, because it made me stronger and less prone to injury, and it made winter training interesting and motivating.
Now it’s time to focus on how CrossFit can make me stronger as a rower, specifically. This means developing power and acceleration in addition to strength in the specific movements that make up the rowing stroke. There are 3 principles I plan to implement:
1. Maintain the “constant variation” theme, but try to bound it within a set of WODs and exercises that relate to developing specific rowing power:
- Russian kettlebell swings – more closely models the speed and cadence of rowing.
- Jump squats or burpees, with emphasis on jump height vs. max reps.
- Box jumps, broad jumps, and other plyometric jumping variations.
- Ring rows and pullups.
- Back/core exercises: single-leg kettlebell deadlifts, hollow rocks, planks, toes-to-bar, L-sits, supermans.
- Light thrusters or wallball shots, training for maximum acceleration instead of max reps. I might even take the wallball outside and see how high I can shoot it vs. how many standard-height shots I can do.
2. Use weekly training volume and periodic testing to add periodization to my plan. While the CrossFit philosophy blows up traditional highly-planned progressive periodization cycles, the concept of varying volume and tapering can still be applied in terms of the number of workouts and how they are cadenced within a 1-week microcycle.
3. Make sure that no week passes without doing at least 1 core strength WOD in the following areas:
- Back Squats
- Some type of single-side injury prevention work such as single-leg kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell lunges, kettlebell snatches, or Turkish get-ups.
Not to say I won’t still try to get better at things I can’t do well like double-unders or handstands, but these are not going to be as effective in generating a 3:40 1K time in the single scull, which is what I need to be at by the end of July.
The good news is that the first Open WOD, 7 minutes of burpees, is squarely in line with my transitional focus, so that will be an exciting start to the weekend.
Technorati Tags: crossfit
,specific rowing power
,crossfit games open