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Dominate Your WOD

So that 10-second countdown is on the timer again, and panic strikes. Are my shoes tied? Where’s the 400-meter run again? Did I take my nervous pee?

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Instead of freaking out about your WOD, here are some tips that’ll help you dominate it:

 1. Prepare

Always practice a few reps of every movement you’ll be doing in a workout; that’s doubly important when it involves weight. Set up your area so you know where everything is and it’s laid out in an efficient manner (avoid crossing back and forth across the room). Pay attention during warmup and ask your coaches about movements you’re unclear about.

 2. Strategize the Workout

Take a best guess at how you’re going to attack the WOD. If for example you’re doing Elizabeth (21-15-9 squat cleans and ring dips) make a guesstimate of how you plan to break up the first set of squat cleans. Two sets of 11 and 10? Three sets of seven? Seven sets of three? There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s helpful to come up with a plan based on your level of ability. The more often you work out, the better you’ll know how to approach your workout.

 3. Focus on Technique

Never rush so quickly through a WOD that your technique gets messy. Not only is this potentially dangerous, but it becomes inefficient. If, for example, you’re doing push presses and you focus on keeping a strong core with an aggressive dip and drive, you’ll get that bar up overhead with less upper body work. That will save your shoulders from fatigue if there are a lot of reps.

 4. Manage Your Rest

Unless you’re doing a short WOD like Baseline, you’ll invariably need to rest. Just as you make a plan for when to work, make a plan for when you’re going to rest and for how long. If you’re doing Karen (150 wall balls), maybe you’ll do 10 wall balls at a time and then rest for 10 seconds. Don’t rest for too long or you’ll lose momentum and start to cool down. Another technique is to count your breaths. Instead of allotting a certain amount of rest time, you might allot yourself three to five good, deep breaths.

 5. Don’t go to Failure

Once you completely burn out on a movement (like, say, pushups or toes to bar) it becomes significantly more difficult for your body to recover. Instead, work to 80-90% of failure and then rest. If you fail at 10 pushups, then only do 8 or 9 before taking a break. Always keep just a little bit left in the tank until you’re at the home stretch of the workout. Then you can burn rubber and gas out.

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