More Is Not Always Better: Advice From a CrossFit Trainer
As a strength and weightlifting CrossFit coach, my trade is very numbers-driven. As coaches, we regulate the total repetitions performed by athletes in each training session, week, month and year to ensure that they are being worked enough but not too much. It is very easy to control the volume of training when your athletes are performing lifts and accessory movements. However, one of the challenges we have in CrossFit is to get athletes to understand that more does not mean better when it comes to a training program.
Oftentimes, the long, grueling, 20-30 minute workouts are the fan favorites in any CrossFit gym. Why is this? The human mind equates longer, harder work with better results. In actuality, the science tells us that performing shorter-duration sprints or short workouts at high intensity is actually more beneficial than those long grinders. One of the single-most important added benefits of this is the reduced wear-and-tear that shorter, higher intensity bouts provide.
Logging the miles, hitting every group fitness class under the sun, doing multiple workouts in a day—these are all things that will lead to injury, improper recovery and reduced fitness in the long run. Even the most successful competitive athletes do not train this way, although that is society’s perception of the matter. Moreover, distance runners, cyclists, triathletes, etc. benefit from exchanging many of their longer sessions for higher intensity, shorter-duration workouts.
In CrossFit, we encourage athletes to work up to four to six workouts per week, broken up by proper recovery times. However, these workouts are intensive one hour sessions, thus providing athletes 23 remaining hours in the day to properly recover through hydration, proper nutrition and sleep.
Justin Wright is the head Strength and Olympic Lifting Coach at Reebok CrossFit Back Bay.