Following on the idea of how to train sustainably, here are some thoughts on how to get the most out of training when you aren’t at your best.  So what if you’re burned out, fatigued, injured or just need to back off the training intensity a bit?  How do you increase the challenge without increasing load or speed (intensity)? 

1) Breathing
Try completing the WOD using only nose breathing, pausing or slowing down anytime your breathing gets out of control.  This is very challenging and will help increase your aerobic capacity while forcing you to slow down. 

2) Unbroken Sets
Instead of trying to finish the WOD as quickly as possible, try doing large or even unbroken sets every round.  It will require you to take longer breaks between sets but it will develop your muscular endurance and mental fortitude.

3) Negative Splits
Set a goal of getting progressively faster each round.  This will only be possible if you start the WOD at 70-80% intensity.  As you fatigue it will become increasingly challenging to match what seemed an easy pace in round one.  Not only will this help you learn effective WOD pacing, it will allow you to challenge yourself and hit (relative) intensity in the later rounds after your body has had the opportunity to warm up at an easier pace.

4) Tempo
Instead of trying to do everything quickly, try using tempo reps and paused reps.  These are phenomenal for mastering movement mechanics and building strength.  One example of a tempo drill is to lower your squat slowly (3 beats), pause for one beat at the bottom, then explode up.  You can play around with different tempos.  Paused reps are similar but you perform the eccentric and concentric phases (lowering and rising) at regular tempo pausing for 3-5 seconds in the bottom position.  Your strength and confidence in any movement will increase proportionately to how much you train the movement pattern with pauses and controlled tempos.

5) Odd Objects
Instead of the barbell try using some odd objects like dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags or axle bars.  Each one changes the dynamic of the workout.  Dumbbells and kettlebells will reduce axial loading (less stress on your spine) and require independent stabilization left to right.  They will make the workout feel much more challenging even at significantly lower loads than you would use on a barbell.  The inefficiency of the sandbag does much the same, making a relatively lightweight feel very challenging.  But this time it is your grip and core that will be most challenged as you are forced to battle the shifting load.  I recently did a sandbag finisher after the 3 rep push jerk WOD.  After 5 sets of confidently cleaning 215lbs and jerking it overhead 3 times per set, I struggled to clean and jerk the 120lb sandbag for a single rep!  The axle bar’s thickness will challenge your grip in a way the barbell will not.  Once again, you will have a tough day even with a much lighter load. 

I regularly utilize a combination of the above options to keep my training fun and varied and reduce intensity while challenging my fitness in new ways by exposing barbell-shaped gaps in my fitness.  Just because you cannot go hard today does not mean your training session has to be a throw away.  There are still lots of benefits to be derived from increasing aerobic capacity to developing left to right strength symmetry to improved grip and core strength to mastering movement mechanics to muscular endurance, better pacing and mental grit.

Get the most out of your training.  Even on your worst days!

Friday Make Up Day
You have a lot of great options to choose from today.  For those who select the newly programmed Empower Reset #21, our coaches will be able to lead both Zoomers and Open Gym attendees through this fun and effective low intensity reset.

1) PairUp ThrowDown
For Time (35min tc) with a partner:
30 synchro deadlifts 125/185#
30 synchro bar-facing burpees
400m run
20 synchro deadlifts 125/185#
20 synchro bar facing burpees
400m run
10 synchro deadlifts 125/185#
10 synchro bar facing burpees
400m run

5 minutes rest

10 synchro thrusters 55/75#
10 synchro pull-ups
400m run
20 synchro thrusters 55/75#
20 synchro pull-ups
400m run
30 synchro thrusters 55/75#
30 synchro pull-ups
400m run

2) Push Jerk

3) 50-40-30-20-10
KB Swings @1/1.5 pood
Sit Ups

4) 3 Rounds:
20 Front Squat @125/185#
7 MU

5) Empower Reset #21
1 min Breathing on Back
30/30 sec Head Nods/Rotations
30 Crosstouch Dead Bugs
10 Egg Rolls
30 Windshield Wipers
10 Rocking Chairs
30/30 sec Prone Head Nods/Rotations
1/1 min Upper/Lower Body Rolls
20 Judo Push Up Rock
30 Crosstouch Bird Dogs
10 Sit Throughs
10 Crosstouch Plank Bird Dogs
3 mins Shin Box Basic & with Hip Raises
1 min Leopard Box Crawl
1 min Crab Box Crawl
10 Full Body Rock
20 Cross Crawls
10 Cross Crawl Squats with head turn
10 Cross Crawl Lunges with head turn
Kung Fu Stick