Leah, on a PR roll, pulls 295#.

Leah, on a PR roll, pulls 295#.

There is an area of CrossFit, specifically the WODs, that doesn’t get much attention.  Transitions.  Transitions can dramatically improve your time, or completely kill it.  On any given WOD, such as Fran, decently quick transitions will account for nearly 20 seconds of your overall time.  Slower transitions will really bog down your score.

Some transitions are out of a CrossFitter’s hands, especially in a large class, having to travel from the squat rack to the pullup bar for example, but most can be minimized with some smart pre-WOD planning and focused transitions during the WOD.

WOD preplanning is a big one with me.  Get everything set up the way you want it.  Know exactly where the chalk bucket is, or where you are going to do your pullups.  If you are sharing a box or another piece of equipment, setup before the WOD which side of the box you are jumping on.  It may sound overly obsessive compulsive, but during the WOD you want to be able to focus only on your own movement without having to worry about outside distractions.

Transitions during the WOD are even more important.  As I mention above, slow transitions times will just kill your WOD time.  Force yourself to go from the pullup bar to the barbell, or burpees to whatever, quickly.  A change of movement or equipment is not a time to rest.  Don’t spend an overly long time getting your grip.  Grab it and go.  With the kettlebell, on Helen for instance, don’t waste seconds doing little swings to get momentum up, but rather grab the bell from a yard’s distance and use one big hip pop to drive it overhead without the time wasting little swings.

Transitions also occur in WODs where there is no equipment change, such as Grace or Isabel.  If you drop the bar, never step away from it.  Even if you need to take a few breaths rest, take it right in front of the bar without moving away.  Those couple steps back and forth to the bar are just time adding up.  The same goes for any little rest, whether the bar is on the ground as in Diane, or on a rack.

Transitions also occur between each repetition.  Don’t spend any more time than necessary completing your range-of-motion.  On Helen, don’t let the bell hang above your head waiting for gravity to work on it.  Yank that kettlebell down and into the next rep.  Same thing in Fran at the top of the thruster.  Arms locked out, head through the window, and then squat.  Don’t bring the bar down to the rack position and then squat.  Speed up the transitions between each rep and you have dramatically speeded up the repetitions themselves.

Water.  It may be the stuff of life and I want you to drink a boat load of it daily, but you don’t need any in the middle of a WOD.  You really don’t.  Trust me.

Try to really pay attention to the transitions the next time you hit a benchmark.  It can make a big difference.  Every benchmark has its own tricks for a faster time.  Ask your trainer.

How do you deal with transitions?  What are your secrets and tips?  Please post to Comments.


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