An increasing trend in competitive CrossFit programming is the use of Two-A-Days; but, should you be doing them?
You have goals, you want to squat double body weight, have a sub 3:00 fran and perform like regionals competitor. Doing two wods each day has to get you there faster than just doing just one right? Valid question. I personally believe that only a small amount of people in the world are capable of truly benefiting from two-a-days. To find out if you are, read on.
So lets look CrossFit’s definition of fitness.
Increased work capacity across broad domains and time.
So the whole work capacity thing equates to what your body can do. That includes recovering from doing said thing and being ready to do more things afterwards.
Domain is the breadth of movements, skills, tasks and loads that you can do and lift.
Time is just that. How fast can you do x? How long can you do x? How many rounds of x can you do in 8 minutes?
As we exert ourselves, we decrease our energy stores and ability to perform (work capacity). We also increase our time needed to recover. The intensity to which we exert ourselves amplifies this effect.
So if you do filthy fifty at 7am for some killer cardio and then hit up heavy front squats or Fran at 6 pm, how awesome do you think your Fran time will be (time)? How many times do you think you will hit 85% on front squats without rounding your back or dropping the bar(work capacity, domain)? The only way you can do well in that second hour or so of training is to possess a trained body that has the ability and proper nourishment to recover from filthy fifty that morning, OR just be someone to whom filthy fifty is just not that big of a deal.
In my and other coaches’ opinion, 99% of people that walk in the door to the box are just fine getting in one wod per day. Here is why, because they can devote 100% to that wod. For this article’s sake, a wod consists of the training that your box or coach programs for 1 visit.
So are Two-A-Days right for you?
Lets look at two options.
- You do not need to do two workouts; you need to do your one workout harder.
- Test it:
Day 1, do Fran or Diane or Grace and record your time.
Day 4, After a two more days of wods and a rest day: Do 3 rounds of 15 chest to bars and 400m runs in the morning. Then do the same benchmark in the evening (VIDEO IT) and see how your performance fairs. Of course, it will not be a PR or even the same time. But if your feel fatigued sluggish or are missing standard points of performance in the movements(review the video), then Two-A-Days are for later down the road when you are more ready as an athlete. If these factors didn’t apply to you in your second workout, then consider adding a Two-A-Day here and there in your training and see if your performance benefits.
But what about supplemental strength programs like 5/3/1 and Cube?
These are totally fine as a supplement, especially if you are lacking strength in the powerlifting area. Does powerlifting increase work capacity across broad domain and time? Yes. Does it do as good a job as straight up CrossFit? No. Just don’t sacrifice performance and intensity in either of those to pursue the other. Your coach can explain their plan to you for not letting them overlap.
So there you have it. If you don’t fall into the Two-A-Day category, then keep on rocking one wod per day. If you do find yourself still hungry after the Two-A-Day test, start simple, sled drags for recovery work, sprints, swimming, rowing etc. No need to jump into double “Murph” and “Nasty Girls” in the same day
Keep in mind, there are numerous regional and games competitors that are 1 wod-a-day kind of people until a few months before their competition. I have known and judged them in person at regionals and they seemed to do just fine.