This past Saturday, the 5K run was programmed. For those of you who don’t know, we get our workouts through CrossFit’s main site with some exceptions here and there. The 5K run is the MOST heavily programmed workout in the history of the main site. There have been workouts there every day, three days on and one day off, since 2001. Hundreds of thousands of workouts and the one that has come up the most is the 5k run. Why? Because it is ESSENTIAL that a human being who is trying to be as well rounded as possible knows their 5K run time. We’re not saying you have to have an elite time Do not misconstrue that. We’re just saying it needs to be done, and you need to know it. This got me thinking, if you could pick ONLY three workouts to judge an athlete off of and find out just how well rounded they are, what 3 workouts would you pick?
I thought about this for a while and in my opinion, these are the three workouts I would pick to judge an athlete: the 5K run, a 1 rep max snatch, and “Jackie.” For those of you that don’t know “Jackie” is 1000m row, 50 thrusters with just a barbell, and 30 pull-ups for time. Now, why these three? Well, the 5K run is an easy one. It gives a GREAT scope of what someone’s cardio respiratory endurance is, plus a little bit of their stamina capacity. IF you don’t have a good 5K time, doing things of moderation duration will be tough on your lung capacity. It’s important. If a situation should ever present itself where another person and I should have to hitchhike for an extended period of time, I know for sure that I’ll be able to make it through.
The 1 rep max snatch is also an easy one. Why not the deadlift? Well, if someone has a good 1 rep max snatch, and I’m talking full squat snatch, then I know for sure they can deadlift with ease. The 1 rep max snatch tells me A LOT. Number one, I know that this person has FULL, HEALTHY range of motion of all of their joints. It’s very unlikely someone with a lack of range of motion has a good 1 rep max squat snatch. This person also has great coordination, accuracy of movement, and balance. This person has a GREAT ability to move external objects in a safe and efficient manner. I’ll know a lot about this person’s strength and flexibility, as well.
So, right there with just the 5K and the snatch I have a pretty wide scope of someone’s fitness. But, there’s a piece missing. Sure, it’s great to have the ability to perform well at ONE thing uninterrupted. However, does life grant us that luxury? No. If you’re helping a friend move, is ONLY your strength tested? No. You have to continuously move objects throughout the entirety of the move. Your cardio and stamina are also going to get tested there. This is why we need a true CrossFit style workout to complete the picture. What happens when you combine a strength movement with something that tests your cardio and stamina right before hand? Are you still as strong? “Jackie” is a great example of that. “Fran” was an easy choice, but I wanted a slightly longer time domain and “Jackie” has that thruster and pull-up combination in it anyway. The row beforehand though tells me a lot about how this person is going to perform when their heart rate is jacked. If you have a good “Jackie” time, it just tells me a lot about your grit. Grit is not covered in the 10 general physical skills, but it’s just as important as any of the other traits. Roger Bannister, the very first human to run a sub-4:00 minute mile, wasn’t an elite track athlete. He actually went on to have a very successful and established career as a neurologist. He did train for the sub-4:00 minute mile, but not just physically. He was doing something the other guys weren’t. Through his studies of the mind, he trained his BRAIN to be able to handle the pain of the run. It wasn’t enough to just be fit enough to handle the run. He had to teach himself techniques to IGNORE what was happening in his body. If you’ve ever seen footage of his run, it really is something. He’s in second place for the majority of the race. The guy who is ahead of him begins to die out on the last lap, and another guy ends up taking over first place while Bannister stays in second. It isn’t until the last maybe 200m that he just kicks it into gear and crosses the finish line at exactly 3:59. A good “Jackie” time is the exact same thing. You have to be able to IGNORE how the row makes you feel. You have to push the row and be able to still have the grit to get right to it on the thrusters and even more so on the pull-ups.
A person with a good 5k run, 1 rep max snatch, and “Jackie” time is as well rounded as it gets. What would your three workouts be?