The natural evolution of most CrossFit classes has landed in a format that looks like this: 60 minutes in the gym with a warm-up, mobility and/or skill training, possibly some strength, and the Workout of the day. Inside that magic hour, coaches around the world are truly doing great work, in my opinion.
There are, however, things that can really help athletes with specific deficiencies that often won’t fit inside those 60 minutes. Though these missing pieces are often missing more because of a time issue than ignorance or poor training practices, I figured we’d take a look at some common areas where students can put some focus outside of class.
1. Getting a booty. It’s not uncommon for students, especially those without an athletic background, to be largely quad-dominant, posterior deficient movers. Coaching cues and regular class practices might not be effective enough to make changes to this scenario at least on a time scale with any urgency. Taking on a protocol of glute activations and other posterior-chain developers can help anterior-dominant athletes close the gap in their performance outside the time constraint of class. Some cocktail of glute bridges, intentional Russian kettlebell swings, banded good mornings and sumo-stance box squats, among other movements, can be good accessory work for these folks.
2. Getting Mobile. Sometimes it takes more than a minute on each side in Pigeon and some leg swings during class to improve significant, decades-old immobility. Helping students recognize the magnitude of these mobility projects is nearly as important as helping them with the details of how to improve their situation, in my opinion, because it illustrates the need for engagement outside of class. As soon as students take charge of these issues with the other 23 hours a day, we all win.
3. Cooling Down. As a coach, I empathize with the time constraints of class to make room for all these ideas, including a proper cool-down. In a perfect world, classes that include high-intensity efforts often found in class would include a more thorough cool-down. If you watch behind the scenes at the CrossFit Games or even at the Regional level, athletes spend sometimes double and triple the time of any given workout cooling down on the erg, Airdyne or otherwise. In the affiliate, the reality often looks like folks rushing out to get to work and coaches making way for the next class of students coming in.
Without being critical of the format and execution of most CrossFit classes, I think communicating the ability to handle things like the three listed above outside of class will help the lives of both athletes and coaches. Do you or your students take full advantage of time outside of class?