How to handle CrossFit hero workouts

How to Crush Your Hero Workout Recovery

Are you a CrossFit athlete who will push yourself to a workout’s edge on Memorial Day? CrossFit hero workouts have become ritualistic, often with fundraising involved for veteran’s groups. These long, demanding functional-fitness challenges are typically held on holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th and Veteran’s Day.

CrossFit hero workouts invite participants to push beyond perceived limits. Both physical and mental. Starting a hero workout with pliable muscles and recovering that pliability afterward is key both to performance and longevity. Maintaining or recovering natural pliability will do two things for those taking on a hero workout or similar extreme effort, like a 20-mile training run or 100-plus-mile bike ride.

Performance. One, being pliable—able to execute athletic movements with muscles staying long, soft and elastic—allows for a true best effort. When you’re pliable, you can deliver movements with power, speed, coordination, and grace. When your muscles are tight and dense, it constrains top performance. Injury risk goes up.

Recovery. Two, performing pliability sessions before and after severe workouts can limit the damage. If pliability is at the heart of your workout recovery program, you will not only perform hard work with muscles in a pliable state, you will teach the connections between your muscles and the nervous system to remain pliable.

For those new to the benefits of pliability, a good test would be to perform a hero workout on Memorial Day and then follow it with another hero workout on July 4. After six weeks of consistent pliability training.

For this coming Monday, TB12 recovery methods can improve performance and speed recovery. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common problem for those new to exercise or those who aren’t so new but take on a challenge to push their limits. TB12 recovery can help.

On Monday, CrossFit gyms across the country will schedule the hero workout Murph to honor servicemen and women on Memorial Day. Named after fallen Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL from Patchogue, N.Y.,  killed in combat on June 28, 2005.

“Murph” is a CrossFit Hero workout of choice performed across the country on Memorial Day.  One of Murphy’s favorite training sessions, (he performed it while weighted down with body armor) it comprises a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another one-mile run.  The advanced athlete will also wear either body armor or a weighted vest.

Murph is performed “for time.” Meaning it’s a time-trial structured workout. Elite CrossFit athletes can clock Murph in 40 minutes. For CrossFitters, breaking an hour is a significant achievement.

For anyone, Murph is a test of strength, mobility, stamina, and endurance. The combination of fatigue and the breakdown of good movement form is a surefire recipe for soreness and the potential for injury.

Here are several big recovery mistakes to avoid making when taking on CrossFit hero workouts or big workouts of any variety.

Being sleep deprived

Getting limited and/or poor quality sleep has physical, cognitive and emotional consequences. Getting the right quality and volume of sleep is essential to optimal recovery. If you’re heading into a big workout (or big game) hampered by insufficient sleep it will impair you. Sleep expert Dr. Kirk Parsley, MD, a former Navy SEAL, says that if you were to get two hours of sleep less per night than your baseline needs—for 11 nights straight—your ability to think and perform would be about the same as if you had stayed awake for 24 consecutive hours—meaning you’ll be just as incapacitated as if you had a blood alcohol level of .08% or above.

Going into Crossfit Hero workouts dehydrated

Chronic dehydration will undermine your performance and recovery. In a dehydrated state, the heart must work harder to supply blood throughout the body. Tight muscles and fatigue are the consequences. Water elevates the speed and depth of your recovery. You also pay a cognitive price. It affects the capacity to concentrate. So are the psychomotor capacities at work within mind-body coordination, manipulation, grace, speed, and strength. Be sure to optimize your hydration by drinking half of your bodyweight in ounces and enhancing your water with TB12 Electrolytes.

Not using active recovery in the days after a hard workout

Active recovery can speed recovery and help dilute DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. We emphasize active recovery on a day following a high-intensity workout. The TB12 definition of active recovery is specific. We suggest low-intensity resistance workouts with TB12 Resistance Bands, the workouts framed by pliability training. The resistance work speeds up oxygenated blood flow to the muscles, joints, and the body overall. Pliability training before the workout helps to activate not only the muscles but also the nervous system. The aim is to teach the muscles and the mind to keep the muscles long and supple while executing the movements in the workout. Post-workout pliability helps to affirm this re-education. The benefit is to prevent muscles from getting stiff and dense—a state that can build into imbalances that can lead to compensation. That can lead to injury.

Not meeting your pre- and post-workout protein needs

Muscle breakdown is especially heavy after CrossFit hero workouts and long stength-and-conditioning workouts in general. Research indicates that consuming approximately .4-to-.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight — both immediately before and after the workout — “is a simple, relatively fail-safe general guideline that reflects the current evidence showing a maximal acute anabolic effect.” For example, if you subtract your body fat from your overall weight and calculate your lean body mass to be 150 pounds (around 70 kilograms), consuming 28 to 35 grams of high-quality protein before the workout and then another 28 to 35 grams after your workout will have a significant impace on the speed of recovery.

Pliability is the key to cruising through CrossFit hero workoutsFuture CrossFit hero workouts: get pliable

We know CrossFit workouts for their trademark combination of constantly-varying functional movements performed at high-intensity. Max efforts circuit workouts including Olympic lifts, power lifts, gymnastic moves with functional endurance movements like running can make for a great deal of wear, tear and reduction in muscular pliability. The traditional model of CrossFit programming is a workout per day each day for three consecutive days followed by one day off. Repeat. Failure to invest time and energy recovering pliability has a snowball effect. Muscles get stiff, dense and short. Imbalances develop. Followed by compensation that spurs injuries. With injuries come muscles that atrophy. Pliability training with a TB12 Vibrating Device can intervene with this downward spiral and help the athlete restore pliability, balance and full athletic power.