Crossfit is a bloody tough sport and, as part of its training, it requires us to get strong and to improve our cardio endurance. Developing these skills means we have to spend a lot of time putting the body under a lot of stress, whether that be from a loaded barbell to a fast-paced, lung burner workout.
Unfortunately there is no other way to improve these elements of fitness without some level of pain or discomfort. Yes it’s very important to push hard and move fast to create enough stimulus for change, but if we keep pushing these limits and don’t give our bodies time for recovery, that’s when we break. However, there is a flipside to the intensity of our Crossfit workouts.
Programming a deload week every fourth week balances the strength and cardio gains with muscular recovery and rest. During deload week we place a greater emphasis on mobility, targeting overused muscle groups and joints with rollers and lacrosse balls, and technical lifting where the focus is repetition of good movement with the bar to encourage muscle memory. The WODs are still part of each deload session, but without the overwhelming intensity associated with standard WODs.
So make use of the deload week when it comes around. It’s an opportunity for the body to recover and for the strength and cardio endurance you have been working on to keep building. Respect your body, push it to its physical limits but allow it time to heal and recover so it will last you a lifetime.