My buddy Craig Weller is an ex Special Forces ninja, as well as having a heck of a brain. He runs Barefoot Fitness Systems, a top training facility, and during a recent interview with the website AskMen, he talked about a form of training known as Eustress.
“Eustress, in basic terms, means good stress. In fitness, it equates to working out at a comfortable level — a much different approach than the “no pain, no gain” mentality associated with most popular workouts, which tend to use distress-based techniques. But pain, he says, is not a good way to measure the quality of a workout, and it often leads to injury. “Look at anyone who’s been training hard for a long time, or an ex-athlete — we’re all injured, we all hurt somewhere,” he says. “We’re doing something fundamentally wrong.” Enter eustress training, which emphasizes high-quality movement, gradual progression and long-term well-being. ”
Now Craig is not the biggest fan of CrossFit (I did manage to get him to do a couple of WODs while he was here though…..), but we agree on enough of the basic principles of strength and conditioning to get along…
Yes, the average CrossFit workout tends to be a fairly uncomfortable experience. But I would argue that there is a good place for more of these eustress type of workouts in the your training regime.
I’ve talked about it with many of you before.
Simple adjustments that you can make to the workout.
- like completing the workout at a steady pace, resting whenever needed.
- avoiding the timer altogether and completing the work with an emphasis on quality over speed.
- cutting an AMRAP in to 2 shorter workouts with a longer rest between
- during strength pieces, sticking with 80% of the intended weights and just accumulating more sets. Eg: instead of 5 x 3 @ 100kg, do 10 x 3 @ 80kg. 1500 vs 2400kg lifted in the session, almost twice as much work, but nowhere near as stressful.
- at the least, you should always be focusing on efficient, calm, smooth movement.
- trying to avoid the pain face. Move steady not rushed. The bonus of the amazing functional movements we do, is that they will have benefit even if you do them slowly.
Now sure, if you want to get to the Regionals or the CrossFit Games, or even just want to get your best possible placing in The Open, you are going to have to do some workouts that HURT. But I can imagine that managing your recovery between Open workouts might include days that look an awful lot like a eustress session.
So who does Craig think is an ideal candidate for regular eustress training?
“Stressed-out people who have a lot of injuries or a lot of movement pattern problems. They want to get stronger but they don’t need any additional stress in their lives, they don’t need to add to their daily cortisol levels. And they need to spend time working on developing movement patterns without injuring themselves. That’s actually a lot of people…..”
Does that sound like you?
Today Fitness is doing a short gassy metcon piece and Performance has a slightly longer one, with an accumulation of pullups that could see you fall apart if you don't finish each round calmly and efficiently. Breath deep between sets, and focus on your heartrate.
Try to hold your pace, with reps that look as good at the end, as they did at the start, rather than start hot and finish slow and ugly…
5 x 6 e/leg
5 x 6-10
5 x 6-10
10 DB Pushpress
AMRAP in 6mins
Max reps Wallballs
5 x 6
AMRAP in 10mins