Froning, and The Froning Curve

Gymnastics Warm Up
Strict Muscle Ups (rest 30-90 seconds)
5 x 3 Banded/Rowing/Kneeling Muscle Ups, rest 90 seconds

15 minutes to establish a 3RM Hang Snatch (top of knee).

Wall Balls
Chest to Bar Pull Ups
-straight into-
Power Snatch 52.5Kg/35Kg

20 Minute Time Cap. Post times for both pieces.

A Guide on How to Pace Workouts – Colm

To ensure you get the best out of a conditioning piece, it’s important to have a game plan going in to make sure you a) get the most work done, b) don’t burn yourself out, and c) make it progressive.

Why do we want to make it progressive? Remember we’re training. Today in and of itself is just a part of larger plan. If we go hell for leather today, we’ve missed an opportunity and stunted our long term growth.

For example, if you hit three sets of five pull ups spaced 10 seconds apart you then have a baseline you can improve on. Either you drop to 10 seconds rest the next time or increase the volume you can repeatedly do.

CrossFit deals a lot in muscular endurance, and if we’ve burnt ourselves out in the first set (i.e. 10 Unbroken pull ups out of 15, then 3, then 2) those sets of 3 and 2 are at best not helping you build your endurance, and at worst you’re doing damage. Remember we want to build consistency.

First things we should ask ourselves is “What is the limiting factor in this workout?”

If it’s strength then you’re going to have to select a rep scheme that allows you to get stronger for the next time you encounter this or a similar task. If you can tolerate 1 rep at the prescribed weight every minute you should do just that, and take today as another chance to get stronger. If this is you, getting a fast time at a light weight is not the priority.

Why does strength matter? Strength is a foundational component of fitness. You need strength in order to express your conditioning.

If the limiting factor is local muscular endurance, as it so often is in CrossFit, you need to look at what you can sustainably keep up for the total volume of the workout. It’s very important to look at the total volume here and not just a single round, which we’ll explain later.

How do you know it’s local muscular endurance? In general, bodyweight movements tax your endurance, and large sets of work. We’ll define a large set here as above 10 in a single round or 40 plus in total in a workout.

Going back to our pull up example above, lets say that on a good day you’ve 10 pull ups in a row, and the workout has three rounds of 15 pull ups each. Going for 10 pull ups, then maybe 3 and 2 if you’re lucky in the first round, the second and third rounds are going to be wholly unproductive and unenjoyable.

For bodyweight exercises 40-50% capacity is generally a good guideline, if not less. The larger the total volume of work the more important it is to break it down into smaller sets. I can do 10 and 10 pull ups if it’s two rounds of 20 pull ups. If it’s 100 pull ups in a row, I’m dropping that number per set to 5. Doing short sets with short rest allows you to never tax the body enough that it needs a long recovery or hits failure. It also means you get more done in a given session.

The other limiting factor is cardiovascular/lung capacity, which is generally the easiest to understand. Taking running, we don’t run a 5K then same speed we run a 400m run, and we ease off a bit when we know we’ve a bunch of 400s to do.

Other examples of this are in burpees, box jumps, and double unders. If there’s repeat 50 double unders in the workout, for example, and you can repeatedly do 10 with 10 seconds rest, that’s what you should do. This is way better than doing 15-20 (you’re not really sure how many) then tripping up and doing singles because you’re too out of breath is not a good strategy.

Now that we know the limiting factor it’s time to look at volume and duration.

By looking at the total volume you get a much better idea of what’s involved than just looking at one round. Once you know the total volume you can begin to dissect the workout into what you can sustainably do. “Can I break all the toes to bar into even sets of 10 with 15 seconds rest?” is much better thinking than “I’ll do those first 20 toes to bar as 12 and 8 and then see what happens in round 2.”

Another perspective is to look at final round and work backwards from there. Everyone and anyone can look at the first round and blast through it. Looking at the final round change the perspective. If, for example, in a 5 round workout of wall balls, chest to bar pull ups, and running, you think you could run a 1:45 pace, do 8 and 7 wall balls and 2 sets of 5 in the pull ups in the final round while fatigued, then you should start with those numbers. Sprint and limp is not the way to go.

How long should you rest between bouts of effort? Rest is determined by the nature of the movement. To start off, 15 seconds is a good rule of thumb, e.g. 3 push ups, 15 seconds rest, 3 push ups, 15 seconds rest, etc., until all 15 push ups are done. “Harder” movements, like muscle ups, handstand push ups, or heavy movements, may need up to 1 minute. If you’re patient enough to look beyond today and think of your long term goal, occasionally a movement may come up that means you need to rest up to 2 minutes. If you’re resting longer than that, chances are it’s too heavy.

When pacing a workout like this, you’ll often find you feel round 1 is too slow. As the workout progresses that rest is going to feel shorter and insufficient until in the last round it’s a struggle but you can just about get it done. That’s an indication that you paced the training piece as close to perfect as you could.

By taking this approach to workouts, you begin to discover where your baseline is on certain movements. At the start, it takes more mental effort as you’ve no database of movements to draw from. You know you can hit repeat 4s in wall balls, so next time they come up, regardless of what they’re paired with (to an extent!), you can use that knowledge in the next workout. If you sprint and limp, you have no established baseline of what your capacity is.

Once you’ve established a baseline of what you can do, you can then begin to progressively develop your fitness, rather than haphazardly going at it. You can start reducing the rest period, adding one or two reps to each set you do, etc.

This means the most work done on a given day, AND the fastest way to progress at CrossFit metcons.