CrossFit’s relationship with the clock can be seen as an avant-garde approach to functional fitness, or as an ironic self-destruct countdown that will be bring ‘the sport of fitness’ to its knees. A little dramatic, I know.
However, I have found that the clock in CrossFit is the genius behind the sport and also the downfall of many athletes. Just like any good idea; communism, capitalism, or public restrooms, they are all good in theory. However, once you throw in the human element the theory starts to crumble.
I have already written about this before in The No Clock CrossFit WOD, but it bears repeating.
Tick, tock, tick, tock…
“The single greatest innovation the program [CrossFit] advocated was the time clock. The clock measures what each specific workout is and creates a unique performance data point.”
CrossFit really is unique. It wasn’t that long ago that the only question I got in the gym was “How much do you bench?”, as if the bench press is some extraordinary test of fitness or strength. It is neither. Now, in some of the new circles I run in, the question I get is “What is your Fran time?”. While I feel it is a better question and a better test of fitness I can’t help but think…here we go again.
What do I mean? I have seen guys in the gym sacrifice shoulder mobility and all proper form for a 400lb. bench press (which, I guess, is more like a two minute Fran). They just want so badly to get that number… they will do whatever it takes. Is this where we are headed? A sacrifice of full range of motion and half reps to get the sub 3 minute Fran?
If you cannot tell from some of my previous articles, I am not the biggest advocate of the Reebok/CrossFit partnership. While there is a lot of good that comes from the partnership, there is also a lot of bad. It opens the door to everyone. Good, right?
No, there will be people who do it just for the sake of its popularity, not because they enjoy it. It will be something they did for three months and they got that sub three-minute Fran time. It will be another notch on the belt. It opens the door to the Glory Days folks, who may only be 22 years old, to read more…What is CrossFit? It’s NOT The Glory Days…
Turn Your Bad Clock into a Good Clock
“The clock ticking off in the background leads to some unfortunate behaviors which run contrary to good health and training.”
While the clock is good for CrossFit and those who will not sacrifice form for seconds, it is bad for some of you out there. You are just a straight up CLOCK WHORE.
Definition of a Clock Whore: Person who is so obsessed with beating the clock/others that they will prostitute themselves and sacrifice important and vital components of training such as range of motion, repetitions or other performance metrics for a “better” time.
A (nother) Alternative
The first alternative is in the article mentioned at the beginning The No Clock CrossFit WOD. First, try that.
Next, try this…
It is as simple as it sounds. Time only your rests. Get a stop watch for your workout. A wrist watch with a stopwatch feature is ideal. Now, every time you stop doing work start the timer. Once you decide to get back to work stop the timer.
BAM! Rest timing!
You can’t sacrifice form in rest, all you can do is rest more or less. Hopefully resting less will not cause you to have crappy form or else you have just undermined the entire system.
I don’t care what your Fran time is, but is better be a 0:00 rest time or else is doesn’t even matter. Get your rest times down, get your fitness level up.
I have done this on workouts before. It is always surprising.