For the most part, slowing down in a workout is unavoidable. Unless you know your body and a workout perfectly it is going to be very hard to negative split every single workout, so at some point in time there is going to be a degradation of speed.. There are many physiological factors that can come into play for this, most prominent being lactate threshold. This is a trainable characteristic that we can improve, but it becomes quite chaotic in the sport of CF. We will examine some ideas below. More often than not though you find this limitation in more powerful athletes. Where their aerobic system doesn’t match their ability to generate speed of contraction in a given movement. We will dive deeper into this as this is the easier of the two to train, lactate threshold might also improve by training this component. As well we will examine training models that can help to create better pacing structures for athletes.
For Training lactate threshold we are going to break this into two types of athletes. A More powerful athlete and a less powerful more aerobic athlete. The more powerful athlete will have training paces with very little lactate generation as they need to understand how to create minimal contractions in order to accomplish a movement, and work towards hypertrophy of slow twitch muscle fibers. While a more aerobic athlete will be operating at higher intensities and creating a ton of lactate in order to better teach the body how to clear this lactate.
Row 500M @ 5k Pace
Chest to bar Pull ups @ 40% of Max UB Set
Rest actively 2 min on AB Btwn Sets
3 min AMRAP
Row 500M @ 2k Pace
Max Chest to bar Pull ups in remaining time
Rest 4 min between sets
As you can see these are very different pieces that will elicit relatively different responses, but can accomplish the same goal. Operating at a slower pace for the more powerful athlete and giving them a lower set of chest to bars to hit then allowing their body to clear the lactate on the bike teaches this athlete how to minimally contract in order to get the work done and then clear whatever waste has been created while still continuing to move. This will help to develop the aerobic system along with former mentioned stuff.
In the aerobic athlete we are generating a lot more lactate. The pace on the rower is much faster, and not capping their work allows them to build up a lot of lactate while teaching their body to utilize it while working. This will be or should be a pretty intense session for the individual so you may look at having some easier work the day after depending on how they respond to this.
The next thing we are going to look at is volume development. This is the easier of the two to train in order to develop a better aerobic system and sustain speed of contraction in workouts. If we look at most CF workouts, there are almost always a given number of contractions. They tend to end somewhere with a 0, 30, 50, 100, 150 ect. If we are able to raise our contraction volume well above the numbers we are going to see in a workout, our ability to sustain power output is going to stay relatively higher to the max output we are able to produce. There is nothing fancy about this training, it really is just put your head down and work. Here are a couple different sessions.
EMOM 20 min
Min 1: 12 Lateral burpees over the Bar
Min 2: 12 Chest to bar Pull ups
*In remaining time of each minute Easy cyclical Machine of choice
15 Toes to bar in UB sets of 5
15 Cal Bike
12 HSPU In UB Sets of 6-6
15 Cal Row
9 Chest to bar Pull Ups In UB Sets of 5-4
15 Cal Ski Erg
Rest 2 min between sets
Rest 5 minutes between sets 5-6.
*Goal is same time per round
As you can see, just put that head down and work. There is shorter rest during these and these will take up a bulk of your session but this can be potent for developing the ability to sustain across a given CrossFit Workout, as you now have the contraction volume that is well above what you will see in a TYPICAL (not all) CF workout. From here and going into the season we would begin working density sets, and create a lot more fatigue you will be experiencing in CF workouts, but this is a great start for building in a pre comp phase.
Finally we have a more interesting concept in negative split, these tend to develop the athletes ability to understand pacing workouts. The concept is pretty simple. Go faster each round. It is the execution especially for a CF’er that is hard.
3-4 Sets Increasing Speed each set
30 Wallballs 20/14lbs
10 Power Snatches 135/95lbs
Rest actively 3 min on EB btwn sets
*Goal is to decrease time per round each set.
50 Toes to bar
50 Power Snatches 75/55
50 Cal Row
Rest 5 min
*Second set MUST Be faster than first set
Performing these sets in a negative split style will allow the athlete to only create a “suffering” exposure towards the end of the sets, maybe set 4 and 5. VS coming out too hot and now suffering for sets 3-4-5. This allows the athlete to better develop their aerobic system, and teaches them how to better pace in a longer workout like this. You might not get it right the first time, but over time you will understand how to come out slower, and begin to learn what it feels like to bring your body to a maximal effort stage.
Hopefully this gives you a basic understanding of what might be happening to cause you to lose power in your workouts, and give you some ideas of how to train it. As always if you are looking for some help or guidance please reach out, we would love to be able to help!