Workout 22 APR 2010, MetCon versus Strength Workouts: Constant Variation Maximizes GPP

Posted: April 21, 2010 by House of Bross in CrossFit, MetCon Training/Workouts, Strength Training
Tags: , , , , , ,
...and what's your image of strength & health?

What are your fitness goals?

Daily Workouts: 0500, 0600, 1630


30 Muscle-ups for time

or if you cannot do the muscle-ups, do
120 pull-ups and 120 dips

Post time to comments.
MetCon versus Strength Workouts: Constant Variation Maximizes GPP

This blog entry is inspired by Drake’s comment to Vic concerning his alternate programming of 16 April (which I endorsed). I have to provide you with full disclosure: I am a hard-core MetCon (Metabolic/cardiovascular Conditioning) junkie. Some time ago I made the initial step toward healing by acknowledging I had a problem, and even now I continue to fight daily urges thwarting my ultimate reformation.

CrossFit discussion boards and affiliation pages are full of arguments concerning the optimal percentage of “strength days” (consisting of single element lifts: deadlift 1-1-1-1-1-1-1) versus “MetCon days” for athletes wishing to excel as CrossFitters and achieve CrossFit Games qualification. Programming composition is integral to the success of an affiliate and its athletes, evidenced by single affiliates who’ve swept the podium (with 1st, 2nd AND 3rd place) at past CrossFit games.
So what really is the optimal percentage, when your aim is to become a better CrossFitter, balanced in all aspects of fitness? Drake and I are gradually gathering programming (contents of work cycles & frequency of recovery cycles) from affiliates who were successful at the CrossFit Games, and are learning that their percentages of extended MetCons and marathon Chipper workouts are very, very LOW. These affiliates live in quick couplets and triplets – and they NEVER miss their single-element strength days. Successful affiliates’ programming honestly looks a lot like the programming on the CrossFit Main Site. You’ve noticed: Ours does too.
We’ve introduced the option of a strength WOD following our prescribed WOD. No affiliate argues the necessity of performing single element strength days on a regular basis – even each cycle (a cycle = workouts in between restdays). Limiting your workouts to MetCon couplets and triplets will keep you from reaching your fitness goals to the degree and with the speed you can reach them by taking your strength workouts seriously. Cherry-picking MetCon workouts exclusively, especially extended MetCons and Chippers, seriously risks overtraining and injury (lengthy, strenuous workouts kick your body’s cortisol production into overdrive). Start cherry-picking out the MetCon days each cycle and skipping the single-element strength WODs, and your General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is going to suffer. GPP keeps soldiers alive.
Don’t tune me out because you are female and think that garnering strength will bulk you up like the incredible hulk. The average male competitor at the CrossFit games (2009) Deadlifts 454, and the female average is 273 (the best males and females Deadlift well over 3 times their bodyweight – see pic of Jodi Banbridge and Caity Matter who can). Check out this sexy CrossFit photo documentary of the 2009 CF Games.
So stop cherry-picking, forget about those 1-hour-plus workout sessions you used to log at the post Globo-gym, and dump your MetCon “Goggles”* (be sure to kick me when it looks like I’ve donned them again): avoiding the “constant variation” prescribed by CrossFit will have a detrimental effect on your personal fitness goal progression, no matter what those fitness goals are.

What's your score?*MetCon Goggles Defined: Blatantly stealing nearly the same concept (Beer Goggles) from some brilliant researchers at the University of Manchester in England, who also evidently had way too much extra time on their hands, I have come up with a formula you can use to calculate the probability you are sporting your own set of MetCon goggles:

Glo = the number of years you held a membership at a Globo Gym (def#1) OR the number of years you faithfully performed one or a series of endurance events.

σ (sigma) is standard deviation of your weight (W) around your personal perception of its ideal.

T-Ed is the combined number of certifications your current fitness instructor(s) hold(s), with one caveat: the certifications must have been staffed or masterminded by instructors laudably featured in past CrossFit Journal articles in order to count (sorry to be elitist, but CrossFit is consistent in endorsing what works).

CT ratio is your culinary temptation ratio x/y – the numerator represents the the number of months you could go without eating your favorite “cheat” food, whatever it is (but most assuredly insulin-spiking and overprocessed), and the denominator represents the revulsion-factor of the substance within/upon which you would be willing to low-crawl naked in order to maintain your right to consume that favorite meal EVER AGAIN in the future (8″ deep animal waste sludge considered a 10 and pristine mountain trail dirt ranking a 1). The CT ratio measures not only any guilt factor impacting your training, but also your powers of resistance – if you can manage to turn your nose up at a large helping of Jamie Oliver’s praline semifreddo (for example), you can resist a MetCon.

A MetCon Goggle (MG) formula rating of less than one means you’ve done your research homework, and you don’t easily surrender to the deceptive glitter of heart-rate spiking, sweat-inducing MetCons. Between one and 50, you insist on doing something moderately/strenuously cardiovascular each strength day because you just don’t feel like you’ve gotten an effective workout otherwise. You are a cherry-picker, performing all MetCon workouts and skipping all Strength Days when you rank between 51 and 100. At more than 100, an hour-long MetCon workout that consistently leaves you injured and useless for the next two weeks will be your favorite, and the one you try to sell to all your friends!

  1. cooke says:

    I would still be there if it was only one muscle up for time.

    My time for 120 pull-ups and 120 ring dips was 23:54.

  2. Vic says:

    120 Push Ups and 120 Dips (12 sets of 10) 19:58

  3. Crystal Laragione says:

    120 Jumping pull-ups and 120 box dips in 14:42

  4. Andrew says:

    30 muscle ups for time

  5. wendy says:

    WOW Crystal 14:42 amazing. …U ROCK!!

    I took 27:35 to do 120 jumping pull-ups and 120 box dips.

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