Why No Strength and then Metcon (Generally)
When Kim and myself began as CrossFit athletes we began in a system that did a strength and then a Metcon. This was all we knew, hence when we opened the doors of CrossFit Bearden that is how we operated. However, very early on we became aware that this is not truly the CrossFit Methodology.
To clarify, what we mean by a class that consists of strength and then Metcon is:
5x5 Back Squat
10 Box Jumps
A strength and then Metcon can seem great, the whole hour of class is filled with something, we believe we are getting way stronger because we are doing more, and most of us love moving barbells. But strength then Metcon also has some glaring weaknesses, and there is good reason CrossFit (and CrossFit Bearden) isn’t set up this way.
The first weakness being that strength and then Metcon allows very little time to actually work skills. It allows coaches to set up and run a class smoothly without ever really having to coach the basic principles of a movement, or actually work specific technique. This doesn’t mean the coach isn’t capable, but it does mean there there is not enough time (generally) to work through the skills of a movement.
The second big problem is volume. Though we will address volume and skill work in a whole separate blog post, most of our goals are to be fit and healthy. This means that one workout, instead of 2 per day is sufficient as long as we commit and give it everything we have got.
Which leads into the third problem…..sandbagging. In general if we look at 2 workouts per class we will prefer one over the other, thats natural. The problem when strength and then Metcon is programmed is that we will choose the one we want to do well on and sandbag the other one, making it relatively pointless to do in the first place. If I like back squatting then I'm going to focus on that part of the workout, and not the Metcon that is to come after it.
Our goal at CrossFit Bearden is to allow time to develop skills in the first part of class. This means getting good amounts of progressions and reps in the movements that will be coming up in the Metcon. While we know there are a lot of movements in CrossFit, and to do strength then Metcon means we get more of them in per week, it doesn’t mean that the quality will be there. It also doesn’t take into account the fact that the movements we do each day will make us stronger and benefit other movements. Spending time building capacity and skill in the handstand push-up will benefit our presses, and vice versa.
By utilizing our one hour of class time to focus on one workout we are pursuing progress, we are pursuing virtuosity, and we are following the true CrossFit methodology.
Our goal is for our athletes not to be afraid of practicing skills in order to save them for the Metcon, that is not how we get better. We get better through skills practice, through refinement. That is what the first part of class is for and that is the reason why we generally stick to one workout per day.