I remember like it was yesterday…
Staring at my computer watching the 2014 CrossFit Games final event:
60 Clean and Jerks (135/95)
The best male athletes in the entire world were standing shoulder-to-shoulder getting ready to go to battle.
Everyone knew who was going to win…
Sure enough, he did.
Rich Froning Jr. dismantled his competition and finished his individual career with another CrossFit Games victory.
The most impressive part?
Well… I call it a “secret”, but I’m sure other people know about it.
Some might call it a “technique”.
However NO ONE ever really talks about it. I want to break the silence:
Rich Froning counts his breaths.
I’m not saying “yeah, he focuses on breathing.”
That would be nothing new. All great athletes breathe (and you should too).
No, what I am saying is that Rich Froning literally counts his breaths– it’s almost like he’s a robot. (maybe…he…is?)
I first saw this phenomenon during the “Double Grace” in the 2014 Games.
He deliberately took a calculated rest in between every single rep. The rest was timed by his breathing. Two breaths between every rep- approximately 2.86 seconds between when he dropped the bar and picked it back up.
Every. Single. Time.
Other than the first few reps, he keeps his pace the same throughout the ENTIRE workout.
After watching this unfold I started watching as many Froning YouTube videos as I could possibly find. I studied them. I took notes. I used a stopwatch. I had to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.
Sure enough, he is amazingly consistent.
How? He uses his breathing pattern as a timer between reps.
I break down the details here in this video, check it out:
(and yes, sorry for the blurriness, but it’s worth watching I swear!)
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? HOW CAN YOU APPLY THIS?
Like most things, you need to practice!
The next time you are in the middle of a workout; whether it is using a barbell, doing pull-ups, or even wallballs, try to keep track of your rest by counting your breaths!
- Try hitting “Fran” and only allowing a three-breath break at any time.
- See if you can get through “Grace” with a one-breath rest in between each rep.
- In your next metcon, try to keep a strong, steady pace without changing your “breath breaks”.
It will take some time, but it works.
Personally, I’ve used this in my own training and seen incredible results. It works especially well during workouts with high reps at a moderate weight. (Like the cleans in Open WOD 16.2!)
Ever watch yourself do workout on video? If I had to guess, you were probably shocked with how long those “quick breathers” actually take. Unless you hold yourself accountable, there is a good chance “just a breath” actually turns into 15-20 seconds!
(Don’t believe me? Film your next workout!)
THE BIG TAKE-AWAY:
When you are mindful of your breathing, you will see MASSIVE improvements in your workouts.
Furthermore, when you take it a step farther and implement the “Froning Secret” you’ll take things to the next level.
SO I CHALLENGE YOU:
TRY IT in your next workout!
Be mindful of your breaks.
Count your breaths. 🙂
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This is a guest post from Ben Dziwulski, the founder of WODprep. He is a former affiliate owner that specializes in teaching athletes in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Right now, he is traveling around the world with his wife and does 100% of his coaching online!