Strength: Dead lift, weighted hip extensions
WOD: Double unders, bear complex
“I often get asked about time caps on the metcons I program (WODs). Things like “Why do I put them in place?”, “Am I punishing the people who are slower athletes?”, “How come they are so challenging?”, “Why not just let the athletes finish?”…these are valid questions and I want to explain.
A time cap is the maximum allotted time you have to complete a workout, i.e. you have 20 minutes to complete 3 rounds of 800m run, 20 t2b, 20 wall balls. This is different than an AMRAP.
I put a lot of thought and careful planning into programming to ensure that our athletes are completing work across all of the 9 essential CrossFit movements. I also like to throw in additional gymnastic movements and mono-structural endurance work to ensure that we are, in fact, “constantly varied”. I also take into consideration the different energy systems, the logistics of the class, equipment, etc.
Every day’s WOD is programmed with a purpose and more specifically, a desired time for completion. Once that time is surpassed, it becomes a different workout than it was originally intended for. “Fran” is designed to be completed in under 10 minutes, but IDEALLY, under 5 minutes. It is a sprint. When an athlete exceeds that 10 or even 5 minute time cap, “Fran” becomes an entirely different workout with an entirely different purpose. So the question is, do you stop an athlete who is able to finish the WOD slower than designed and let them gut it out to the end? While there is something to be said for grinding away at a workout, 9 times out of 10 there should be a time cap.
When a time cap is put in place, an athlete’s intensity will remain in the energy system the WOD was designed for. Of course, it will be a mental challenge for the athlete, knowing they have a limited time to complete the movements…this will take guts and maybe a pre-workout internal pep-talk!
Conversely, when there is no time cap, the athlete looses a sense of urgency to complete the work and it becomes a slow, monotonous, grind-fest, just to complete the reps as rx’d. It is largely more beneficial for an athlete to ramp up the intensity and complete the WOD under the cap and “fall short” than take 10x longer to complete all the reps. There is a caveat here: we will never sacrifice form for reps, for time, for glory.
An athlete who doesn’t finish the WOD may be discouraged. Yet, this same athlete will soon learn the benefits of intensity and appreciate the gains they will see in their capacity to complete the WOD under time caps…like anything else it takes a desire to better oneself and work hard.
The advantages of using a time cap for task priority WODs greatly outweigh the disadvantages. We use it as a tool to ensure your success!”