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Developing Gears

​Hey Vic City,

As you know we constantly vary our workouts for CrossFit. Some workouts are short, and some are long, with others anywhere in between. In the CrossFit Games this year, athletes completed a workout that was under a minute, and another that was around 3 hours.

It doesn't take an expert to understand that you wouldn't expect the same pace for these two drastically different time domains. In our class workouts, we have a smaller range of variance but we still need to understand pacing. Chris Hinshaw is an expert in his field of aerobic capacity (endurance). He works with many of the highest level athletes to help them improve their fitness, and help them understand how to develop different "gears."

In this short clip, Chris explains how CrossFit Mayhem Freedom (Rich Froning's team) won the Murph team event in 2016. The Murph event was roughly one-hour in length, and like Rich Froning is known for doing, the team came from behind and started making their climb through the field on the back half of the workout. Many of the other teams that were ahead at the start likely picked the wrong "gear" for the duration of the workout, and faded too quickly as the time progressed.

The best ways to know what pace to hold for any workout will be best developed from experience. That method can be supplemented by checking out the whiteboard to see the realistic time domain the workout will take based on the times that other members have performed.

Some obvious examples of when to use different gears would be 10 second Assault Bike sprints vs. Nurwor. On the Assault Bike for 10 second you'd likely give 100% effort without much fade in speed over that interval. On the other hand, Nurwor, around a 20 minute workout, would be best paced closer to 75% effort from the beginning. If you switched those intensities, and did the 10 second Assault Bike at 75% you'd likely wouldn't even break a sweat, or taking Nurwor out at 100% would result in a drastic and painful drop off of output by the second half of round one.

Knowing ahead of time what the time domain of the workout will likely be, will impact the strategy. My challenge for you is to come prepared and think back to a time you did a workout of similar duration. Pacing a workout doesn't mean it needs to be slow, it just needs to be appropriate for the time and fitness level. Being able to develop the different 'gears' will lead to greater fitness gains by challenging your body to not always settling into 1 (fast) or 2 (slow) speeds.




WARM UP: Partner Shuttle run alternated with rounds of 4 medball cleans, 4 pushups

1,2,3,4 laps running


This is what is called an "intensive emom", in which you spend time working one movement for a series of minutes in a row. This style of EMOM creates more specific muscle fatigue than a rotating EMOM in which you move to a different movement each minute.

As a result, intensive EMOMs prepare you well for chipper style workouts in which you are working on a single movement for a large number of reps.

Be sure to scale to an appropriate number of reps to keep your quality high in this wod!

All Groups: 8 min EMOM at each station before moving to the next (32 min). You may start at a different station in larger classes.


1. CTB 4-8 reps

2. DB Snatch or Barbell Power Snatch 4-8 reps

3. TTB 4-8 reps

4. Burpees 6-12 reps

FG2: Regular pullups, Hanging Knee Raise

FG1: Scale as needed for pullups, double crunch for TTB, reduce reps or rounds as needed

CP: Ring MU sub for CTB, DB Snatch 35/50 or Barbell 95-135

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