Having Variance in Your Workouts

The definition of CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movement performed at high intensity. This means that your workouts should vary from day to day, your movements should mimic tasks you see in everyday life, and the workout’s tasks and pace should be challenging. Constantly varied does not mean that you should be doing random workouts each day. You should have a methodology behind your training and make sure that you perform several different tasks each day. When you notice something is missing from your program, you need to implement it so that you can become the best all-around athlete that you can be. Another way to vary your program is to change the style of your workout. This article will look at different types of workout structures and provide examples of how to carry them out. 

Task-based workout: The movements, sets, and repetitions of the workout are already given and the goal is to finish those tasks as fast as possible. These workouts are “for time”, and can have any number of movements, repetitions, and rounds. An example of a task-based workout would be Fran. That is 21, 15, and 9 repetitions of barbell thrusters and pull-ups.  You perform 21 barbell thrusters, then 21 pull-ups, then 15 barbell thrusters and 15 pull-ups, and then 9 barbell thrusters and 9 pull-ups. You must complete all of the repetitions of one exercise before you move to the next.  In this workout, the task is given, and you will perform it for time.

Time-based workout: These workouts are where the time is given and you have to perform certain movements within this time frame. This can be in the form of an AMRAP. An AMRAP stands for “As Many Repetitions as Possible” within the given time. An example of an AMRAP would be Nate. Nate is a 20-minute AMRAP of 2 muscle-ups, 4 handstand push-ups, and 8 American kettlebell swings. In this workout the time is already set. You will perform the set rep scheme as many times as you can in 20 minutes.

An EMOM, which stands for “Every Minute On the Minute”, is a combination of task and time based. In an EMOM, the task and time is given. This is an interval-based workout. The tasks can vary and the time can also vary. You can go every 2 minutes, every 3 minutes, or you can adjust the time based on the tasks at hand. You will finish the required tasks as fast as possible and use the remaining time to rest. An example of an EMOM would be 20-minute EMOM of 1 snatch. In this EMOM, you will perform one snatch at the top of every minute for 20 minutes.

Single modality workout:  A single modality workout consists of a single movement. It can be time-based or task-based. Some good examples of task-based single modality workouts would be Isabel and Grace. Isabel is 30 snatches for time and Grace is 30 clean and jerks for time. An example of a time-based single modality workout would be CrossFit Open workout 12.1, which was a 7-minute AMRAP of burpees to a 6-inch target above your max standing reach overhead.

Couplet workout: A couplet consists of a combination of two movements. It can also be task-based or time-based. Fran would be an example of a task-based couplet. Another example of a task-based couplet would be Diane, which is 21, 15, and 9 repetitions of deadlifts and handstand push-ups. An example of a time-based couplet would be Nicole, which is a 20-minute AMRAP of 400m run and max repetitions of pull-ups. In this workout, you will have one attempt of max rep pull-ups before going back to the run.

Triplet workout: A triplet consists of a combination of three movements. It can be task-based or time-based. An example of a task-based triplet would be Kelly. Kelly is 5 rounds for time of 400m run, 30 box jumps, and 30 wall balls. An example of a time-based triplet would be Cindy, which is a 20-minute AMRAP of 5pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats. In this workout, the time is fixed and you will complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in the time given (in this case 20 minutes).

Chipper:  A chipper consists of a combination of four or more movements. It can be task-based or time-based. An example of a task-based chipper would be Filthy 50. This is a series of 10 movements; box jumps, jumping pull-ups, kettlebell swings, walking lunges, knees to elbows, push press, back extensions, wall balls, burpees, and double unders; which you will perform as fast as possible. Filthy 50 is a “For time” workout. An example of a time-based chipper would be CrossFit Open workout 14.4, which was a 14-minute AMRAP of 60 calorie row, 50 toes-to-bar, 40 wall balls, 30 cleans, and 20 muscle ups. The workout consists of five movements but is an AMRAP, so if you complete the 20 muscle ups, you return to the rower to continue the workout for a second round. The workout is over when the clock hits 14 minutes.

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Having variance in your workout routine is a great way to achieve the best results and improve your fitness. It allows for you to become a better all-around athlete. Mixing up the movements that are a part of your routine is one way to establish variance, but sometimes you cannot leave certain movements out of your routine, as they may be critical to your sport. Let’s face it; in CrossFit, there are certain movements that we have to perform almost on a daily basis. Another way to establish variance is to change up the format of your workouts. You can perform interval workouts, time-based, or task-based workouts. The number of movements can vary as well. Having variance does not mean randomness. Random training can get you random results. Do your research, find out what works for you, and always remember to train with a purpose.

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