Got Rest?

Rest Days by Hari Singh

Two big mistakes are taking too many rest days (being lazy) and taking too few (being dumb). We designed our new programming with the understanding that all of us have hectic lifestyles. None of us can show up three days on, one day off, week in and week out. That standard is an ideal. The question is how can you intelligently vary from that ideal.

In a 12-week period during which a CrossFit monk maintains a perfect 3-on-1-off routine, she or he does 63 WODs. Compare this to a more realistic routine, taking two regular rest days per week, say Wednesday and Sunday. While this would be tough–and not recommended for people in their first six months of CrossFit–it is at least more practical for someone who is not a full-time athlete. It results in 60 WODs over 12 weeks, just 3 less than the theoretical ideal.

Following a 2-on-1-off schedule results in eight-ninths (89%) of the ideal (56 WODs over 12 weeks, compared to 63). Following a 1-on-1-off results in two-thirds (67%) of the ideal (42 WODs over 12 weeks). Three days per week results in 57 percent of the ideal. If you’re a normal person, 57 percent of the CrossFit ideal is pretty damn good!

The point is that you should be reasonable; and if you’re not reasonable, injuries, fatigue, and boredom will force you to be. Three days per week is a good target. Four days per week is a better still. Five days per week is a lofty goal, but in reality I don’t believe there are more than two or three members of our Box who have averaged over 4.5 days per week over the last year (234 WODs).

When we were following Main Site programming, many people were concerned with doing or not doing Rest Day WODs (i.e., our in-house programming on days that did not provide programming) and/or not missing certain Main Site WODs. We have now come up with a balance that offers no advantage or disadvantage in terms of WOD selection, regardless of when you take rest days (assuming you don’t consistently avoid specific types of WODs.)

Whether you settle into a Mon-Tue-Thurs-Sat or a Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun routine, you will get the same balance. The is true for a Mon-Wed-Fri or a Tues-Thurs-Sat routine. If you vary between three and four days per week, depending on your schedule, you won’t need to pick and choose which days. If you get stuck at work, you don’t need to go crazy.

If you want a good way to measure your attendance, don’t just count days; count days times effort. For example, if you come in five days and put out a 60% effort, give yourself a 3 for the week (5 * 0.6). On the other hand, if you come in four days and put in an 80% effort, give yourself a 3.2 for the week (4 * 0.8). People wonder why they sometimes feel wrecked. The answer is that they have switched from the former example to the latter. They have worked harder and done more work in fewer days. Sound familiar?

Monday 111219

A: Clean 3-3-3 @ 85% of your 1 rep max

B: “Jackie” (Compare to 110817.)

Row 1000 meters
50 Thrusters (45#/33#)
30 Pull-Ups

NOTE: Today’s NYC Endurance workout will meet at the Black Box at 6:30am and will then do their workout at Madison Square Park with Coach Rickey.

All about the pull-up
Growth is inevitable, change is optional
R.I.P., Bonnie Pruden (see also)
Heavy mettle
How muscle fatigue originates in the head

Coach Will rocking the pistols AND the handstand walk at the King of Queens competition:

Jason W. has a quiet moment at the King of Queens competition:

* * * * *
Here’s what’s on tap for Tuesday’s WOD classes:

A: Skill: Turkish Get-up

B: “Lynnish”

5 rounds, not for time:
max reps, 45#/25# weighted push-up
max reps, strict pull-ups

B. “Judah Maccabee
8 Rounds of 8 Reps of:
Hang Power Clean (95/65#)
Front Squat (95/65#)
Push Press (95/65#)
Box Jumps (20″)


  • Kate J

    13:54 33#, black band for pull ups.
    This is 90 seconds faster than my previous time with 22# and the gray band for pull ups. Yay!

    • Anonymous

      Excellent improvement Kate!

      • Kate J

        Thanks Reis!

        I was thinking exactly what Hari said to you below once I finished the row in 4:10 (which is a PR) and my only set of thrusters that were unbroken were the last 10.

  • Anonymous

    13:07 (black band)

    Row time: 3:47

    First Jackie.  I could have broken up the thrusters less than I did.  Somehow my pull-ups are getting worse…a bit of an off day for me.

    Congrats to our representatives at the King of Queens.  Very inspiring…

    • Hari

      I suspect that you could have cut one or two minutes off your time by allowing 15 to 30 seconds more for your row; that is why you had to break up the thrusters more than you expected; and that is why your pull-ups seemed to be getting worse.

      Unless you’re shooting for an 8 to 10 minute time, it probably wont help to row less than a 4:00 1K.

      • Anonymous

        Makes sense…tough not to go hard on the rower, but it seems I suffered the consequences this time…

    • Jason W

      another thing to try is just to bag the last five to ten strokes. and by bag, i mean 3/4 pressure. by the last five to ten strokes your time is pretty much determined and short of falling off the erg, there’s not much you can do to finish with a dramatically different time than what you rowed your previous 900 meters at. bagging it for a bit might skew you by a couple of seconds, but you’ll feel much better getting off the rower.

  • Jamie F.

    Wendler: Squat

    5 Reps @ 195 LBS
    3 Reps @ 220 LBS
    Max Reps @ 245 LBS – 11 Reps

    8:15 RX’d (1:21 PR over August 17, 2011).

  • Hey folks–please note that I posted a new WOD for tomorrow.  Just got a few programming changes from the owners that will help us celebrate the upcoming holidays.  Enjoy.  🙂

    • Anonymous

      Oy gevalt!

    • Jim S

      Happy to report that tomorrow is a rest day for me. That looks like a hum dinger.

  • Jason W

    8:54 rx’d strict pullups.

    30 strict pullups is harder than i remember.

  • Paul B.

    cleans: 115-115-115
    wod: 11:17 Rx’d

  • 135×3, 155×3. thanks Craig P for the tips.
    Jackie: 8:05 Rx’d. 3:24 row

    • Jamie F.

      And a Happy Birthday to you sir!

  • Justin Katz

    A: 65-65-65
    B: Jackie 13:37 RX’D

  • BenS

    Jackie: 13:35.  3:40ish row didn’t help on the thrusters and pullups.

  • jenntang

    Jackie: 10:29 Rx (42 second PR from August)
    Row 1K: 4:05
    Thrusters broken into sets of 10. Pull-ups in sets of two… then singles. Still suck at stringing pull-ups together.

  • Jim S

    Hari made me curious. So I went back through my log for 12 weeks. 59 wod’s. Stuck almost exactly to a 3 on 1 off except for five days in Germany (no wods) and a stretch or two of 5 on 1 off. Over the last year that’s been my pattern. 3/1 except when travel makes for an obvious rest period. To Hari’s point that, that has definitely left me with a few periods of burnoutitis. Usually a week or so where I really have to force myself to do a wod. It’s a trade off for me between doing too much and getting burned out vs. being consistent and not falling off by missing too much. 

    After a couple of years I’m really focused on making this a long term way of life. I’m curious what other people do to stick with it in the long run.

    • keller

      yea i’d be curious to see the member statistics.  i would definitely think i am in the 4.5 days/week average on the m,t,t,f,s schedule.  wednesday rest day = best day of my life.

      • I stick to a strict 3 on 1 off schedule, especially when not traveling. I will even go 4 straight if the WOD on my rest day is something that includes movements that I haven’t done in a while, or if it’s something I love doing, in today’s case – Jackie. One of my favorite women fell on my rest day.
        When I am on the road (about 130K miles a year with Continental/United), I catch myself doing two-a-days at times if I feel good. I do this out of boredom, I love exploring new boxes around the world, and my diet usually goes to $hit so I feel better knowing that I am hyper-active when traveling (plus it helps battling jet lag). My rest days, though are just that. I don’t do anything and let my body recover.

      • Jason W

        I’m 3-on-1-off-2-on-1-off.  I find pegging myself to a 7 day week schedule really helps when it’s time to add in ancillary work like wendler 5/3/1 or running. this way, i can preserve my rest days and have a consistent workout schedule (i.e. running every tuesday or wendler every m-t-f-s)

    • When I started Crossfit, I was in the gym as often as possible. Sometimes six days a week. I made some breakthroughs this way (first pullups, kicking into a handstand, etc), but after more than a year and half of doing this, I still wasn’t making real progress. My deadlift max was just over 300 lbs (after over a year and a half of training!) my benchmark numbers largely stayed the same, and I grew kind of disillusioned with training. It wasn’t until I really embraced the idea of quality rest (and a focus on strength training) that I made real progress. I have easily progressed more over the last 6-8 months hitting the gym hard three days a week, than I did for the first 12+ months of training. I think embracing recovery days and focusing on getting stronger are they keys to my success.

  • Naveen

    I was feeling pretty weak today.  I did my 3×3 cleans at 155, which is around 70% of my 1RM.  Jackie was 9:55 rxd.  Last Jackie was over the summer and 11:00, but I thought it was a 1500m row, so that seems like a better showing.

    Re Blog: I personally believe that training capacity increases with work capacity even adjusting for the corresponding increase in intensity capacity.  When I first started, 1on/1off felt like overtraining, and when I’ve been in peak condition, I could do real two-a-days (like a sub-9 Helen PR followed by an Annie PR an hour later followed by speed squats another hour later) without getting wiped out.  I think everyone needs to feel where they are and learn what overtraining feels like so they can know when to pull back.

  • David T.

    Clean triples @ 205, 215, 220

    Jackie 10:34 Rx’d

  • Jim S

    A: 145 145 145
    B 11:23 Rx’d

  • Peter F

    10:26 RXed.   

    cleans: 85/85/85

    And thanks, Allison, for including Endurance updates!  Now I have no excuse to skip out on Wednesday.  ;

    As far as rest is concerned, I’ve been going by the “when I feel like crap, its time to lay off” principal which has me averaging probably a bit more than 4.5 times per week since August, occasionally 5 days in a row depending on what we’re doing.  I’m still in that magic zone in which almost every day is a PR, which has been feeding the addiction.  Hearing other people’s opinions on rest has me wondering if I would improve more or decrease my chances of future burnout if I more consciously designated rest days.  Its something I should probably experiment with. 

  • Michael North

    At Crossfit Blizzard in Tahoe

    Helen: 16:38

    27 sec slower than Dec 8 but I suspect the 5,800ft altitude may have something to do with it…

  • Steve Lynch

    5/3/1 Squat
    3 at 211
    3 at 241
    12 at 271

    3 at 105
    3 at 119
    6 at 134

    Strict Chin-ups 10-10-10-10-8

    32kg russian kb swings
    hand release pushups

  • Sam G.

    5/3/1 Squat Press

    3 at 240
    3 at 275
    11 at 308

    3 at 120
    3 at 135
    9 at 154


    32pood kb swings Russian style pushups 1:59

    My thoughts on rest.  Please be aware on what your body is telling you, it might seem badass to come in and “kill” the wods with a three on one off schedule, but if you shlep your self into the gym every time and see little gain in numbers and performance, do yourself a favor and rest (listen to your body). 
    Over training does not happen over night, it will take months to accumulate a injury that you over batter, if you feel like shit, stay home and rest.  They use to say when I taught junior high, if your sick stay home and don’t get the kids sick, same principle applies here if you are sick, don’t bring in a slow performance and make everyone else watching you sick, just stay home, recover and “kill” the wod with a strong performance.