I’ve noticed quite a few people learning new skills lately. Bar muscle-ups, toes to bar, pull-ups, and rope climbs, just to name a few.
We’ve been spending a lot of time developing our gymnastics skills and your hard work is paying off.
Now it’s time to start integrating those skills into your WODs.
First, it’s important to note that some of these more “skill” type of movements aren’t programmed every week or even every other week, so you should definitely keep practicing and perfecting your toes to bar and handstand pushups outside of WOD time.
On the day that your newly acquired skill does show up in a WOD, however, there are a few ways you can approach throwing them in.
1. Scale the reps- You don’t have to be able to do the prescribed number of reps in a workout to throw in some toes to bar. I’ll tell you when I was first developing my own gymnastics skills I couldn’t do a workout that had 3 rounds of 20 toes to bar in it, for example.
You have to start somewhere. One option is to do 10 toes to bar instead of the prescribed 20.
You’ll still get a good workout in and you won’t miss the stimulus of the workout.
If the workout doesn’t have a predetermined time (think AMRAP, partner WODs with time caps, or Tabata), the coaching staff has been giving time domains for how long each workout should be taking you to complete.
If the workout is supposed to take you 10-15 minutes, but doing 3 rounds of 20 toes to bar would put you way over the time domain, then maybe scaling the reps down to 10 per round is a good choice for you.
You want to find the right balance of practicing skills and still getting a good workout in.
2. Mix RX reps in with scaled reps- I see this one happen a lot with dubs, but not so much with anything else. We’re pretty good at mixing dubs in with singles when we’re first starting to learn them, but we’re not as good at applying that same concept to other types of skills.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice.
Sticking with our toes to bar example, if you’re getting pretty comfortable with toes to bar but can’t quite hit that high rep number in a workout, try just sprinkling them in.
Maybe do 5 toes to bar, 10 knees to waist, and end with another 5 toes to bar to get your 20 reps in.
Another option could be to split the reps in half with 10 toes to bar then 10 knees to chest.
For something like 5 bar muscle-ups in a WOD, you might even only do 1 RX rep and then 4 reps of the scaled burpee pull-up option.
3. Rope climbs- While options 1 and 2 definitely apply to rope climbs, they’re unique in that you can also do half of a RX rep.
You may be able to do a few rope climbs warming up or outside of a metcon, but when its 3-2-1 go time and your heart rate jacks up they can seem super daunting.
If rope climbs make you nervous during a workout because you start to get tired or have Jell-O arms, try only going half way up the rope or get 2 solid pulls in and then come down.
Just like any other skill, these need to gradually find their way into your metcons too.
The moral of the story here is no matter how you start trying to add new skills in to your WODs, you’re not going to get better at them if you don’t do it.
If you don’t know how you should approach adding them in, ask a coach. We’ll be able to give you good scaling options based on how long the workout is supposed to take you.