“I would rather do a heavy Fran any day over regular Fran” said the instructor at my Level One. Even as he went on to explain himself, I thought he was crazy. Heavier = harder, right? He said the reason that he would rather do a “heavy Fran” (ie: with a prescribed weight of more than 95#) is because then you HAVE to rest; the weight would be so challenging that you would be forced to break up your sets more.
I wasn’t buying it. Everyone knows that heavy is better. Also, as an athlete who rarely hits a WOD Rx, if I have a chance to click that little blue button, I’m going to take it!
About a month ago, I came in to ACF to hit the noon WOD. It was a modified Grace – three rounds of ten cleans and ten jerks for time. The Rx weight was 95# for women. The last time I had done traditional Grace, I hit it at 75# so of course I wanted to increase my weight this time around, even if I wasn’t going to hit the Rx threshold.
I loaded up my bar to 85# and when the timer beeped I went to work! I did singles for every round of cleans and by the last round I was breaking up the jerks into sets of three at a time. Although I was one of the last ones to finish, I finished within the target timeframe for the WOD, but a bit on the high end. I was pleased with my performance and gave myself a mental pat on the back, happily recording my score.
About a week later, at a coaches’ meeting, we were talking about scaling and Jay brought up my performance in the clean and jerk metcon. “You shouldn’t have been able to walk away from that workout,” he told me. “You should have been out on the floor when you were done; you went too heavy.”
It was at this point that I finally got it. Just because you CAN go heavier, doesn’t mean you SHOULD go heavier. Some workouts are designed to be done at an extremely heavy weight (ie: the Bear complex) and you should approach those workouts as such, but many workouts are designed to be done at a moderately heavy weight so that you are really pushing your cardiovascular limits and running on full steam ahead, limited only by your mental limitations, not the weight on the bar. As a CrossFit athlete, you need to be able to look at the workout and pick the weight that is right for you and is going to give you that “pushing it to the limits” feeling, without the governor of a weight that makes you stop and rest.
Don’t be a slave to wanting to hit a WOD Rx if the main benefit you are going to get from the workout is the ego boost that comes from that little blue button. Pick a smart weight for you (if you don’t know what that is, ask your coach!) and go full throttle. Doing the work this way will get you to Rx-land, and when you go about it this way, you’ll deserve to be there.