How to make it hurt less post holiday
We’ve all been there where we’ve come back from a holiday and had our ass absolutely handed to us. “Surely I couldn’t have gotten this unfit in 4 weeks” you think as you stare up at the ceiling wondering when the gentle burning throb in your legs will subside and whether you need a hit of that asthma puffer from the medical kit. But fear not humble crossfitter, we’re going to give you a simple format you can follow in order to come back primed without having to sacrifice the relaxation and enjoyment of your holiday.
While on holiday we want to respect a few important principles:
- Low time commitment and motivation requirement = more time for pina colada’s by the pool and less time stressing about the 21-15-9 or 40 min AMRAP you didn’t do.
- Low equipment and space requirement. Check out Fitness HQ facebook page for our series on hotel room workouts.
- Quick recovery and most bang for your buck. Nobody wants to be hobbling around on their exploration of a new country or having a relaxation massage turn excruciating because they did 5000 squats for time.
As for the structure we’re going to look at 5 areas that physiologically and mentally are the hardest to come back to post sabbatical.
- Daily Mobility. It goes without saying rusty un cared for joints and muscles make hitting that squat depth or hanging from a pull up bar that much nastier post holiday. We want to keep it simple and target the most effective drills. We recommend using the CAR’s routine from the world of Kinstretch (that is controlled articular rotations). This will take you 5-10 mins max and increase range of motion, joint control and blood flow to every joint in your body.
2. Breathe work. Meditation and relaxation breathing is fantastic and should be practiced daily, but here we’re looking more at what will directly affect your training. For a Crossfitter tolerance to oxygen debt and high levels of CO2 is what we lose the quickest. So our recommendation is to use the Apnea Trainer app. It means less thinking from you and easier practice with your ability to control the intensity. Do some sessions that are easier and some that push your limits. We can all agree being able to regain and control your breathing makes the workouts your returning too that much more enjoyable.
3. Do explosive plyometric movement. Plyometrics mimic a lot of the physiological responses we get from our CrossFit workouts. Higher heart rates and big increases in lactate and lactic acid which all lead to that all too familiar WOD feeling (it’s a deep burn).
Some examples include: Jumping squats, jumping lunges, burpees, skipping, clapping push ups, dumbell snatches (if there are any available) and v-ups. Goal here again is to keep it short and simple. 10-30 sec sprints with 30 sec to 1:30 rest, for 3-8 rounds based on fitness level.
4. Mechanical tension. That heavy squat didn’t feel the same as before post holiday and even though it only takes 2-4 weeks to feel “strong again” there is a hack you can use to help maintain that strong feeling. Use isometric holds and slow tempo bodyweight movements to create muscular tension and fatigue similar in nature to lifting weight. The principles you should focus on include:
- Whole body tension, prepare the muscles as if they’re lifting the prescribed weight for the day.
- Breathe hold throughout movement.
- Tempo of 10sec -1:00 up and down (or explosive out of the bottom)
- Add holds in at difficult positions for 30 seconds to 2:00
Rep range would be similar to your weightlifting of 2-10 reps.
5. Where possible try to drop into a CrossFit box. They are literally all around the world, with more than 10,000 affiliates strong! I don’t propose you set aside two hours each day to visit them but maybe aim for 1 workout at a box every 7 days if at all possible. This is 100% optional of course.
A Morning Template.
To break it down, this is how it might for a quick 30 min routine you could use to keep the fitness up and get a quick injection of feel good hormones to head into the day of holidays!
- Apnea Breathe work with the app. Increase hold time every 2 days. (5 mins)
- CAR drills and stretches of choice. (6 mins)
- 3 sets of 30 seconds down 30 seconds up x3 reps Air Squat. 1 min rest. (9 mins)
- Workout finisher: 4 sets 30 seconds on 30 seconds off Burpee sprints with max vertical jump. (4 mins)
Total working time: 24 mins (30 if you include breaks
So there you have it, nothing obviously beats the real thing but try this format out and see if you fare better on your return to your CrossFit class. And remember to relax, holidays are an essential part of life balance and recovery from bouts of hard training, less guilt and more living it up!