The Cumulative Effect


Above: the ghosts of workouts past.

In the second round, dropping into your thirteenth thruster, there's a 'blink' moment.  Somewhere between the bar crashing down into 'rack position' and your butt hitting that ball, there's a little glimpse of Angie.  Negotiating with that pullup bar during your final nine, you may flash back to lessons learned under Murph's hard bully pulpit.

The beauty of generalized fitness: overlap.  How is it, after three months without trying Fran once, you can score a 20-second personal best?  How can it be possible that, after six months Michael-free, you can have a 2:00 PR?  And how do you explain, please, the idea that two women have already had personal highs in the clean and jerk today…..without trying them in three weeks?

Something's going on here.   "I think mass hypnosis is unlikely and the fact that this program really works is the reason we're all here." Coach Greg Glassman

This week, we saw personal bests on Deadlift – from a guy who hadn't picked up a bar in three months.  We saw ridiculous times at FranFest that can't be entirely explained away by pullup proficiency.  We saw folks drop 3 minutes off their Elizabeth time without any extra practice on ring dips.

This thing we're after?  It's fitness.  The way we practice?  Large loads over long distances, as fast as possible.  The result?  Faster-stronger-better.  

Yes, we cuss Fran.  We call her names that we wouldn't let our mothers hear us say.  But she's a fair judge, isn't she?  Either you're better, or you're not.  You're faster, or you're guilty.  Fran isn't just a workout: she's a five-minute microscope into your value system.  After that first 21 pullups, you're fully exposed.  You might as well be naked out there.  If you skipped the strength WODs, you'll crumple.  If you cherry-pick the METCON work, you'll sag.  Miss a few WODs this week?  Yes, the coaches will chirp you a bit.  Miss a few next week?  Your buddies will ask you where you've been.  And a few more?  It will show.  Eventually, you'll want to participate in one of these workout/block parties, and the accumulation of skill – or not – will be obvious.  Uncovering weakness is no reason not to participate; rather, it's all the more reason to test yourself.  

Practice makes permanent.  The phrase is true, whether about developing skills or habits.