Due to an awesome article in the CrossFit Journal last week by James Hobart, theres been a lot of talk in the community about Intensity training (good) and increasing volume (bad).
CrossFit was built upon short, intense workouts. Its what gets us the results we love and its what makes CrossFit stand out and so different in a field flooded with gimmicky hour long classes that may get you sweaty, but don't actually provide the long term results you desire.
However, like any good thing, people want more, they think if they do MORE volume, the results will be better, or come faster. When in fact, increasing volume isnt the always way to go, its possibly the opposite to what gets us the results in the first place.
In the article James explains that; volume isn’t necessary if the goal is simply getting fitter. In fact, it can be counterproductive or, worse, harmful when misapplied. This can’t be said enough. Over the long term, every athlete would continue to improve work capacity across broad time and modal domains with a single daily dose of constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity (exactly what we do in a CrossFit Class).
JUST DO CROSSFIT
I often get asked, "what more can I do?" or "what else should I be doing?" and my answer always remains the same "Just do CrossFit!". Turn up, follow the program, rest, recover and watch the results come in.
There are now over 13,000 CrossFit affiliates world wide, with gawd knows how many people attending classes each day, and what you will see time and time again is that those athletes who stick in the group setting and give their best effort every training session always out-perform those who choose to train by themselves, outside of classes and with the extra volume.
Whilst working a weakness may be seen as extra training, or increasing volume outside of classes, in reality working a weakness should come down to working on your skills and movement mechanics. Using open gym for these purposes (or for mobility work) is a great idea.
If you are attending classes on a regular basis you shouldn't need to be doing conditioning style metcons in open gym. We do this each day in class, adding more volume that will tire you in to the ground isn't going to speed up your results. It will hinder them.
Addressing poor movement
"Similarly, if you struggle with mechanics, then once again volume isn't the answer for you. Increased rehearsal of poor movement patterns and shoddy mechanics—more for more's sake—is a loser's gambit. You will just ingrain bad habits more frequently."
James hits the nail on the head. The best way you can speed up your progress is to work on your movement and ensure the way you move is sound.
Working on your kipping technique will be the best way to spend your time if you are looking to improve on WODs like Fran and Helen where pull up efficiency is so key. Simply doing lots and lots of Metcons with poor movement mechanics is a recipe for disaster, and injury.
He also goes on to explain that if you are frequently scaling movements and loads etc, then the answer isn't to do extra workouts, the way to improve faster is to manage your volume levels and ensure you are pushing yourself on each workout.
Have a good week, train smart.