Friday, February 4, 2011

Team WODs: Point/ Counterpoint

This is a direct quote post Katie Bell sent me to include here.  It is unedited by me.  I will provide my commentary at the end.
My Case for the Team WODs

Like all families, CrossFit 540 has traditions. For example, we usually go to same restaurant on box excursions (Mojito’s). We have our own signature WOD (The 540 – 50 OH Lunges 35/25, 40 pull-ups, 30 Thrusters 95/65, 20 Burpees, 10 Squat Cleans 135/95). We celebrate all national holidays (and apparently local snow days) (or any other day Trevor deems appropriate) with the Filthy Fifty. And, new to the list, we do team WODs on Saturday mornings.

I had already come to look forward to the weekends at CrossFit. Without the schedule of my weekday duties to fret about, I feel like I work out on Saturdays and Sundays with a clearer head and more focus. There’s a particular gleam to the equipment that only occurs during those mid-morning to early-afternoon hours, when the garage doors are open wide, the sunshine is streaming in, and children are climbing up and down the tractor tires. Also, I have free time and I appreciate being able to develop technical skills before and after the WOD. I like catching up with the people who’s weekday schedules don’t coordinate with mine. The addition of the team WODs has given me even more to look forward to.

I was scandalized when I recently found out that not all members of the CrossFit 540 family love the Saturday morning Team WODs the way I do. And they don’t just not love them; they hate them to the point that they are considering not coming on Saturdays at all. DON’T DO THAT! I guess I can understand some of the reasons why a person might feel like Team WODs are more of a test of nerves than of fitness, but I can think of lots of reasons why showing up is a better idea than staying home:

1. A missed workout is a missed opportunity. Every workday of our four-day cycle is a chance to get stronger and faster. Systematically skipping a workday is a sure way to delay progress. And I don’t care what you say – you’re not going to get comparable benefits doing an alternative workout somewhere else. If those workouts really worked, you never would have signed up for CrossFit in the first place.

2. The Team WODs build a stronger community within CrossFit540 (which is my very favorite thing about our box). I know that we typically buddy-up with people we already know, but it doesn’t always end up that way. The Team WODs give us an opportunity to get familiar with CrossFitters that we may not regularly talk to. And when you team up with someone you already know, spending approximately 40 minutes sweating together is a great way to really close.

3. No man is an island. Or in less dramatic terms, working as a team balances each person’s strengths and weaknesses requiring that we support and rely on each other to complete the WOD competitively. The fact that one person takes an inordinate amount of time to do burpees is balanced by the other’s utter inability to perform double unders; and in turn, the one person makes up time lost with incredible dexterity to do wall balls, and the other speeds through push presses. In the end, it all evens out, and we are better for it.

4. Accountability makes us better. Knowing that someone is counting every single rep, or is going to chastise you for missing the full range of motion, or is losing time or holding a squat longer because you are slow will motivate you. That motivation may push you enough that you will get out of your comfort zone and make improvements that will be reflected in your regular WODs. Forcing someone to share your misery with you sounds awful, but the silver-lining is that we all expect this to be reciprocated. For example, I’m telling you that your squats aren’t deep enough because I think we are friendly enough that you will tell me my butt’s sticking up in the air during push ups.

5. Physical qualities aren’t the only things developed by CrossFit. We also improve perseverance, conviction, dedication, self-respect and moral fortitude. Team WODs reflect qualities that aren’t always represented in individual WODs, like adaptability, humility and generosity – things we can all stand to improve.

6. Injury is not a legitimate excuse to skip a team WOD. I certainly am not encouraging a person to work out if they should be letting something heal. I am, however, encouraging someone to work out if they should be limiting the use of something and would have come if the WOD was individual. Teams WODs can be modified and scaled just like individual WODs. Similar to the argument I made in 3 above, we all have weaknesses. You deny yourself the opportunity for a workout of the healthy parts of you, and you deny your potential partner the opportunity to get stronger by compensating for your injury. Further, each person brings more than physical performance to the WODs; the team is denied any encouragement, technical critique, and fraternization that you would otherwise provide.

7. Team WODs simulate competitions held outside of our box. If you aspire to compete in the National Games, or just to get involved in some small local competition, the Saturday morning Team WODs are a great way to practice.

8. Finally, you signed up for this. You pay CrossFit 540 to challenge you and hold you accountable to an increasingly higher standard of physical fitness. And if that’s what the Team WOD’s do, then on Saturday mornings, you’re getting your money’s worth.


For the most part, I agree with Katie.  I think many of her points are valid, especially #3, 4 and 5.  That said, I COMPLETELY understand the nervousness and apprehension of team WODs.  Each WOD has contained at least one exercise where I am severely weak.  Also for most team WODs, I've had a stronger partner (it's really easy for me to find a stronger partner :D).  I've worked harder than ever before.  I push harder because I don't want to let someone down.  

Here is the cool thing.  At least once during each WOD, I've been the stronger of the two of us.... even just for a moment in time.  It felt great and motivated me to keep pushing.  For at least one of the WODs, I probably only did 1/3 of the work.  But during another, I did 2/3s of the work.  You know what, I enjoyed the 2/3s more than the 1/3.  In other words, if you aren't able to do as much, you are helping your partner feel better about themselves!!!

If you are nervous about the team WOD, find somebody during the week you enjoy being around and coordinate a time, and go be partners.  Then have some fun.

Thanks Katie for the post.

No comments:

Post a Comment