Stop Changing Your Weights Mid-Workout
Written by: Coach Evan
Many of us find ourselves staring at the whiteboard and the prescribed weights trying to decide what weight to use. Maybe it’s Fran and you finally want to do it as prescribed. Maybe you’ve been wanting to try a heavier weight in a workout, but have been apprehensive. Big weights scare all of us, you’re not alone.
You decide that today is the day. You’re going to try it. You’re feeling good, you’re ready to lift that heavier weight all through the workout. You warm up, you’re feeling confident, even though you might move a little slower, you’re still going to be able to do it.
First lift: smooth. Feels heavy but yea well duh. First round: Oh, man that was a little harder than expected. This is where the doubt and fear sets in. Second round: there’s no way I can finish this. Get to the third round of five: changing plates to a weight I know I can do.
Unless you are hurting yourself or others around you, don’t change your weights mid-WOD. Safety and proper technique are always the most important. The second most important thing is that you are constantly pushed out of your comfort zone. Most of the time you are changing the weight because you’re afraid you won’t finish, or you’re afraid you’re going to fail a rep. You’ve heard this time and time again, but it’s easy to forget and easy to not want to apply it to your situation: failure is a great way to grow. I would encourage you to try new strategies often until you find what works for you to keep growing as an athlete; to push yourself. Then you’ll see your progress soar. Whether the strategies work or whether you fail, you will learn a lot from trying them. If they fail, you can analyze and adjust. If they worked well you’ve found a new strategy to use in future workouts. Not failing is great way to grow, too.
You may also be afraid that you’re going to hurt yourself. One of the great things about Derby City CrossFit is that our coaches are always watching, whether you can see it or not, and we’re paying attention to how you lift, especially in the middle of a workout. If we notice that something is going badly, we will come over and help with technique and possibly suggest that you modify the weight. If we don’t, have a little more trust in us and more importantly in yourself that you are moving well. You might not be able to do sets of 7 or 8 and have to back off maybe even to sets of 3. But just because it feels hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the weight.
I see athletes use the same weights in workouts over and over again who crush the workouts with that weight but then wonder why they aren’t making progress. I also see athletes who are eager to try heavier weights start the workout with them and then immediately strip the weight down only five or ten pounds and then crush that lower weight. Why did they take the weight off? Because it’s hard to live outside the comfort zone.
Unfortunately that’s what CrossFit and growing as an athlete (and everyone in this gym is an athlete) and becoming fitter is all about. You have to be willing to push outside of your comfort zone to get better, which goes for most life situations too. Make a commitment to yourself that as long as the reps are still possible and still safe, you end with the same weight on the bar. Even if you get time capped, even if you barely get through any part of the workout. See it through to the end, and you’ll have better information for next time, or you might even surprise yourself by doing better than you thought. The latter is almost always the case.