Your training program should lead to long term health and success. Every day should not be a test or competition. While the program should be designed to help you ‘test’ better or you improve your specific sport, it should also help improve your longevity and not lead to injuries or long-term fatigue.
A common misconception of CrossFit is that every workout should leave you rolling around on the floor in a puddle of sweat. No doubt, the workouts should be hard and challenging, however they shouldn’t leave you rolling around on the floor unable to move. You should be exhausted, but yet in a strange way, wanting more. The workouts should bring you energy rather than leave you depleted.
A well-designed program is well-rounded and progressive. Your training should help build balance in your movements, rather than lead to imbalances where one side (or one movement) is more dominant than others. For example, if you can back squat 250 pounds, but your front squat is only 100 pounds, you are out of balance. Your focus shouldn’t be on improving the back squat, rather it should be looking at why the front squat is low and working to improve that. If you don’t know how your lifts should compare to one another, find a good coach that can work with you on that.
Anyone can start a new workout program and see rapid improvement. These improvements aren’t from new muscle. Instead, the improvement is from improved motor control (the nervous system). A good program should help you continue to see new PR’s (personal records) year after year.
So then what is the purpose of a test and when should it be performed? Testing is performed to make sure your training is working – to make sure you are improving in the areas of strength and aerobic capacity. At our facility testing is performed every 6-8 weeks at the end of each training cycle. Testing (such as a Fran or Jeremy workout) is also interspersed throughout the training cycle.
Be smart with your training and don’t turn every workout into a max effort. Doing so will help ensure you are able to continue to enjoy the things important to you for a long time.
Remember, a healthy life is a better life.
Until next time, Alan