You probably know this, but variation is important. You've also probably got a good amount of variation in your training. But is your training as varied as it could or should be? How often do you try something completely new? We've assembled here five training formats that we think are somewhat underused, and that provide a stimulus different from anything else. We hope you'll add your own to our list.
1) Litvinovs. More commonly known as Litvis, Litvinovs are one of my favorite things ever. I think they should be an Olympic sport. Litvis are as simple and primal as it gets: Lift something heavy, run really fast, time the entire effort. Litvis are metabolically devastating, and the format can be manipulated to elicit any number of effects. A few we've used at CrossFit Monterey:
3 clean & jerks, 185lbs/135lbs
8 thrusters, 155lbs/105lbs
7 power snatches, 45lb dumbbells/25lb dumbbells
50m sand dune sprint
3 power cleans, 205lbs/115lbs
You can add resistance to the sprint (drag a tire, sled, moderately sized person, etc), or do it up a hill for variation. We've also used "sprints" that aren't a run. Rowing, box jumps, double unders, bike sprints...anything can work, as long as it's metabolic hell.
Always recover fully between rounds.
2) Lullaby Style. I first saw this done by Blair Morrison, but I believe it originally comes from CrossFit Coronado. At the top of the minute, perform a set number of reps of exercise A. For the rest of the minute, perform as many reps as possible of exercise B. Repeat this process at the top of every minute until you've completed a set number of reps for exercise B. For example:
At the top of the minute, perform 5 power snatches with 95lbs.
For the rest of the minute, do burpees.
Repeat at the top of every minute, until you have completed 100 burpees. Record your total time.
3) Sprint Start. As obvious as it seems, we don't see this done enough: rather than ending with a sprint (like in the Litvi), start with one. For example:
400m sprint (SPRINT)
Max ring dips
Full recovery between rounds.
Russ and I did this with 20lb vests. It was awful. I thought I was going to die. Something about running an all out sprint and then having to keep working left us wrecked like few things ever have: Russ was resting close to 30 minutes between rounds, and after the second round I was shocked at myself for even considering a third. Try it. You'll like it.
4) Reps Over Time. How many reps of Exercise A can you complete over alloted Time X. That's it. This SUCKS. For example: How many 225lb back squats can you do in 20 minutes? How many muscle-ups can you do in 10 minutes? For a more multimodal stimulus, how about 10 minutes of handstand pushups, 5 minutes of air squats, 2 minutes of pullups, 1 minute of pushups, with no rest between? We're talking some serious metcon and muscular endurance.
5) Max Rep Supersets. Max reps of Exercise A followed immediately by max reps of Exercise B. Rest. Repeat. Plenty of CrossFitters have done the WOD "Lynne," but apart from that, I don't see this format as much as I'd like to. Try these on for size:
Max reps, press 135lbs/95lbs
Max reps L-Pullups
Max reps, overhead squat 95lbs/65lbs
Max reps pullups
Max reps, front squat 135lbs/95lbs
Max reps, pushups
Got some uncommon training methods you've used successfully? Post thoughts to comments.