Sue is showing a near-perfect hollow position: abs are braced and her butt is squeezed, causing your back to flatten out and her hips to tuck under her. Gerrit is showing the same thing (albeit with greater limb-lengths) in a handstand hold. This is exactly why we've been practicing the hollow position so much. It transfers to everything from push-ups to all forms of handstands and even kipping movements. Keep working on it and don't just "settle" for an ok position, but instead try to make this position as clean and tight as possible.
I want to make a reminder on the what, why, and how of scaling. We've talked about this before but I think we're all due for a refresher.
We put cut-off times on most of our conditioning workouts. There are at least a couple of reasons for this. First, we do our best to be respectful of everyone's time with regard to class. The cut-offs are there to make sure that class can end when it's supposed to. As simple as it may seem, that's probably the main reason we implement the cut-offs.
Secondly, when the workout is designed, we as coaches know, usually with a good amount of accuracy, about how long it should take for someone to complete it. The cut-off is usually 10-30% longer than what it should take because we realize that not everyone is capable of completing it in the "expected" time frame and we don't want most people to not finish. At the same time the workout does have an intended training response to it (based on the movements, loads, and time) and if a person spends 15 minutes doing a workout that is intended to take 5, they're getting something completely different out of it. So, the cut-off also serves to make sure that you're getting closer to the desired training effect.
Therefore, when you're examining a workout and deciding if, where, and how to scale the workout, here are a couple of guidelines:
- If you choose to scale the workout, it should still be challenging in the way that it's supposed to be challenging. For example, if you look at a classic benchmark workout like Diane (21-15-9 of deadlifts at 225/155 and HSPU), for most average CFers, the HSPU will be the limiting factor. Sure, the DL weight might be challenging, but in general people will struggle with the HSPU way more than the DLs. Now, let's say you have to scale the workout because you can't do HSPU but can do the DLs at the prescribed weight. The scaling option that you use for the HSPU (and there are many), shouldn't be so much easier that now the DLs become the limiting factor in the workout. However you scale the HSPU should still be hard, very hard! That's the only way you'll get better at them.
- Don't scale the workout to such a degree that you always know without a doubt that you'll finish under the cut-off. Often times in doing so, you'll make the workout easier than it should be for you. Not finishing under the cut-off is not a bad thing! Remember the two reasons that we use cut-offs? Here's a good rule-of-thumb for you: if you consistently scale your workouts and as a result consistently finish the workout faster than a person who is doing it "as prescribed," then you might be scaling it too much.
- If a particular workout contains a glaring weakness for you, you may need to disregard the clock (gasp!) and just focus on getting better at your weakness. Here's a great example, double unders. Consider another benchmark workout: Annie (50-40-30-20-10 of double unders and sit-ups). The average CFer that can do double unders can probably finish that workout in around 7 minutes, so we'll put a 10 minute cut-off on it (which is pretty generous). If you can't do double unders and therefore scale to doing single unders instead, just so you can "finish the WOD," are you any better at double unders than before you started? No. However, if instead you choose to do double unders and only make it 20 reps into the round of 40 before the cut-off, did you finish the workout? No. But are you now better at double unders? Probably. Is that worth it? Definitely.
- One of our jobs as coaches it to keep you safe. We know you well enough that we're gonna spot before the workout even begins whether or not you doing a certain load or exercise is going to be more than you should do from a safety standpoint. If we see that, we'll let you know. We'd rather see you guys pushing and trying to expand your limits and have to reign you in from time-to-time, than have you always stay within your comfort-zone and never improve. You have our word that we won't let you do something that's not safe for you.
- Lastly, and related to the previous point, it's not cool to switch to a lighter weight in the middle of the workout. As I just said, if you bit off more than you can chew, yes, certainly we'll have you drop the weight a bit (deadlifts are a great example of a situation where this may occur). However, if you get 10 wall balls into workout with 100 wall balls in it and realize this is gonna suck more than you realized, that's not a good reason to get a lighter ball! Is it going to take you longer than you expected? Yes. Is it going to hurt more than you were anticipating? Yes. Is that a good excuse to get a lighter wall ball? No. This stuff is supposed to be tough! Sometimes you just need to grit your teeth and bear it. We've all been in that situation where you look at the WOD on the whiteboard, think it won't be too bad, and then 2 minutes in realize you underestimated it. It's real tempting to take the pain away and grab a band or a lighter kettlebell or take 20lb off the bar. Resist that temptation. Having the mental fortitude to push though a difficult situation will serve you in ways you may not even realize. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
There's your PSA for the week. Choose wisely when scaling.
Hollow holds, 3x30 sec (rest 30 sec)
Hollow holds on hands and feet (see above), 3x30 sec (rest 30 sec)
Notes: If you were successful with the hollow holds on your hands and feet last week, do it again. If you're struggling to do the hollow holds correctly (i.e. slightly rounded lumbar with hips and shoulders off ground), rather than fully extending your arms and legs, bring your knees to your chest and your arms in so that you've got shorter levers to work against (more like a deadbug postion if you're familiar). From there you should be able to shorten the distance between your sternum and your belly button, thereby lifting your shoulders and hips off the floor.
A. NG floor press, 5x6 @ 30X0, heavier than last week
B. Ring row, 5x5 @ 30X1, heavier than last week
Notes: 3:15 clock. The tempos have changed. 30X0 vs. 40X0 on the NGFP and 30X1 vs. 30X3 on the ring rows. That should allow you to go up in weight. Plus you're doing fewer reps.
A. NG floor press, 5x6 @ 30X0, heavier than last week
B. Pendlay row, 5x5 @ 30X1, heavier than last week
Notes: 3:15 clock. See 101.
Set 1 @ 80-90% effort:
20 KB swings, 24/16kg (American preferred)
20 HR push-ups
60 double unders
rest 3 mins
Set 2 @ 80-90% effort:
rest 3 mins
Set 3 @ 80-90% effort:
Notes: Order changes each set. Consistent pace, steady work, is the goal. Take note of how the change in order makes each set harder or easier.
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