Last week I talked about working out with a training buddy, but today we’ll go a step further and discuss actually completing a workout with a partner or with a team. On Saturdays we often times do team workouts and you are expected to come up with a strategy in about 5-10 minutes. Now, I’m not picking on anyone in particular, but I have noticed some teams struggling mid-WOD in the last few weeks. Team WODs add another challenge, because you aren’t just counting on yourself. Plus, there are only two classes on Saturday, so you might end up paired up with someone you don’t normally work out with, so you may not know each others workout styles or strengths and weaknesses. To help get through these WODs more successfully, I’d like to throw out a couple of pointers and lessons learned from past experience competing with a team.
1. Understand the WOD. Make sure all elements of the WOD are clear. Is it an any which way, how many people can work at once, will you be rotating stations, does everyone have to do an equivalent amount of each movement, does everyone have to use the same equipment? If you don’t fully understand the WOD before you get started, you won’t be successful at any of the following steps.
2. Learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Go over all of the movements as a team, understand any scalings a teammate may want to apply to the workout, point out which movements you each may move through more quickly than others or will be less taxing on you. Get an idea of what weights/equipment you’ll each need, especially if everyone is required to use the same bar, kettle bell, etc.
3. Set up a rep-scheme. When you’re completing a WOD, especially a high volume WOD (often the case for team style workouts), plan a rep scheme for each movement. It’s important not to go to complete failure in any movement, because once you go to failure, you may struggle to get just one of that movement. Plus, a failed rep is just wasted time. Keep all of your teammates as fresh as possible and waste no time in transition from teammate to teammate doing the same movement. If transition times are long, that can be costly to your time, so take that into consideration when defining your rep scheme.
4. Define a game plan. Before you start the workout, know who is going to start each movement first, or who will start at which station. Don’t just arbitrarily pick either, use some logic based on what you learned about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If you know you’ll struggle with a particular movement if you’re not fresh, make sure you start there, or if one of the movements happens to be someone’s favorite, play your teammates strengths so they can bust out a bunch of reps early on. Also have a well defined rotation pattern so no one is confused about what movement they should be headed to next. Once you have a game plan, stick to it!
5. COMMUNICATION is key! You may have prepared the best game plan in the world, but if you cannot communicate with your teammates mid-WOD, you will struggle. Also, if you game plan isn’t playing out as well a hoped, you need to be able to communicate that to your team and make small adjustments. If you’ve selected a particular rep scheme, clue your partner in to where you’re at, “five more left!” or “last rep!” If you have enough breath, words of encouragement never hurt!
The next time a team WOD comes up in class, try to quickly run through these steps. Hopefully you’ll find that your workout goes smoothly and that your team works efficiently together. It’s a blast to workout with others and really rewarding to succeed as a team!