Have you ever thought something was impossible? Have you ever looked at a workout and said “No Way” or that will take more than (XX:00 time)? Have you ever wondered if it was possible to do some movement y times unbroken?
On the 6th of May 1954, six runners gathered at the track at Oxford College in England. One of the runners was pretty famous locally for setting the British 1500m record at the Helsinki Summer Olympics in 1952, although he had finished in 3rd place. At the starter’s gun, two of the runners, both named Chris (Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway), provided pacing for the local hero who had been training around his rigorous medical studies. They ran only 4 laps together for a total distance of one mile. When the time was announced, Roger Bannister had broken the world record with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, a feat that was thought to be impossible. His record stood for an incredible 46 days.
As amazing as Sir Roger Bannister’s achievement was(…and it was amazing), what I find spectacular is that his record was broken in 46 days and now (10-8-18) there are at last count 522 American athletes who have broken that record (10 while in High School). Link
Why is it that what was once impossible, is now common (although still brutal)?
This is one of the reasons we put scores on the whiteboard (or in wodify). Our minds are incredible things. Once we see something as possible and not impossible our outlook changes and we stop wondering if, and start thinking about how. All of a sudden the pain that was intolerable, is almost too much, but we can stand it. It is why we strive together and can often do better with a stronger pack or someone working out right next to us.
This whiteboard phenomena is why we see such incredible changes in our members’ performance and physical fitness. What we have learned is that high intensity elicits the best response neurologically and hormonally, and ultimately this is expressed in physical adaptation (muscularly and in our energy systems). One of the tools that we use to get higher intensity is posting scores on the whiteboard. It is not just the pride of accomplishment, it is also the knowledge of the possible.
We use the whiteboard for other things as well. We track performance records and, like the refrigerator when we were young, it gives us a chance to show our work to those we hold as friends and teammates.
Roger Bannister died on March 3, 2018. He was 88 years old. He was a distinguished Neurologist, the first Chairman of Sport England and was knighted in 1975.
Sir Roger knew what was possible and achieved it.
The many colors of open gym
Use #1: Practice, practice, practice or developing a skill
One of my daughters plays the piano…I know I said open gym, just hang with me. Anyway, one of my daughters plays the piano. I enjoy hearing her play. That wasn’t (and still sometimes isn’t) always the case. It seems that playing the piano takes practice. It is a skill that is honed through repetition. You play different pieces, scales, etc to gain a touch, an ear, the ability to read ahead and see chords and music and not just notes. Developing physical skills is much the same.You develop skills through practice. Not always trying to do the maximum weight or number of reps the fastest. Runners learn to move better, gymnasts learn control, weightlifters learn timing and feel, you get the picture.
How do you do this during a pretty tightly scripted 1 hour class? It is hard. Sometimes we don’t get to a particular skill that often…even if it is your jam, or your wanna be jam.
This is where the first type of open gym use comes in. Skill accession and mastery. Trying to learn and do a skill better. Perhaps you have taken an olympic lifting, gymnastics, aerobic capacity or powerlifting class or just want to get better at one of those skills. This is that perfect opportunity to get in additional training time to work on those skills over and over. Like the master Bruce Lee said, “Don’t fear the opponent that can do 1000 moves, fear the opponent that has done one move 1000 times” (or something like that…look it up that’s what google is for).
So, use #1. Master that stuff.
Use #2. Take a self guided tour.
When you go on a cruise, the ship itself is a main part of the experience. The food, the care, the cool towel sculptures, etc. However, when you get to port, you have a choice. You can go on an excursion with someone that the company has contracted for you, or you can take a self guided tour of the area. Both of these have their benefits. Sometimes it is really fun to look around yourself, and take in the sights at your own pace. Sometimes you want to really explore a thing on your own. Perhaps you want to spend some serious time lifting weights, do some curls, or just be able to work on rings skills.
Some people use open gym the same way. They spend time on their own doing specific programming for something they are trying to accomplish. Perhaps they have a goal of back squatting 500 lbs or doing a 2x body weight clean and jerk. It is unlikely that they are going to get that specific goal in a timeline that is acceptable to them doing regular programming. They need something bespoke, and time to work. Open gym provides the equipment and environment. They have to work on the programming and coaching on their own.
Use #3- Catch up (not the stuff people put on french fries!)
We have all had a busy week, a new client, friends and family in town, school, etc… Sometimes this causes us to miss our favorite class time. While we miss the coolest peeps in town, we also want to work out so we don’t lose our gains or sanity…(you know… cause MIL). This is another great use of open gym. The programming is already there from the daily WOD or Shred. All you need to do is just do it. You may have to youtube a Z-press or ipsilateral dead bug, but… the equipment is there and you can even put your own Harry Connick Jr music on.
What does open gym cost?
When you come in to open gym you just scan in like normal. If you are unlimited, you won’t be charged. If you are on a different plan it costs one of your regular visits. If you are coming in for an extra time, then we charge you a drop in fee. Our drop in fee for members is $15, we sell them in packs of 5 for $75.