What to Expect from a Class at Tidal CrossFit
[Note: If you missed part 1 of our programming overview, make sure to check it out too!]
A typical day of Tidal programming consists of multiple parts: a general warm up, mobility, prep, and a combination of strength, skill, and conditioning. These components work together to ensure you get the most out of your class by providing coaches the opportunity to assess your movement mechanics, help you work on your consistency, and motivate you through your workout.
The primary purpose of the warm up and prep is to develop the mechanics of proper movement. Mechanics refers to your properly execute the exercises of the day in the safest and most efficient possible manner. Your coaches will introduce coaching cues, such as “chest up” or “knees out” and explain the purpose behind these commands, working with you to make sure you can consistently perform your best before adding intensity during the strength, skill, and conditioning
The day begins with a general warm-up, sometimes it’s as short as a row, a simple AMRAP, or the traditional light jog. Other days it may be more complex. Regardless, the warm up is meant to get you into class, get the blood flowing, and help you prepare for the remainder of the hour. On top of getting athletes moving, the first few minutes of class also provide an opportunity for assessment. Coaches see how you are moving, ask how you are feeling, and tweak their coaching plan based on their initial evaluation. The warm up is not to be overlooked and sets the tone for the remainder of the hour.
Following our warm up, Tidal classes typically include a mobility component, such as a static stretch (pigeon/couch), self-myofascial release (lacrosse ball rolling), or a dynamic component (front foot elevated split squats). This is an opportunity for our coaches to introduce new members to the community, let you guys know about forthcoming Tidal events, and discuss the goals of the day. Coaches will also use this time to introduce movements appearing in our prep section, review the workout, and make sure everyone is comfortable moving forward.
The most diverse section of our training day is prep. While the movements, structure, and time frame often differ from session to session, the goal remains the same: to get you ready for the workout. Prep is when coaches will provide the majority of their instruction, focusing on either teaching exercises before adding in intensity – more on intensity in a bit – or introduce corrective exercises selected to help teach and improve traditional CrossFit exercises.
Often our prep sections are movement review, especially when workouts contain a variety of challenging exercises, the strength piece is weightlifting, or the class is embarking on a longer workout. This is very much a traditional approach to CrossFit with The Burgener Warm Up a detailed barbell based weightlifting warm up – serving as the quintessential example of a “classic” prep piece. These types of sessions provide coaches an invaluable opportunity to review proper movement mechanics, provide tips, and set you up to get the most of your workout that day.
Non-traditional movement prep days feature exercises that work towards correcting common movement and muscular imbalances that limit mechanics. Our typical squat warm up, a combination of deadbugs, glute activation drills, and goblet squats, is a great example of a non-traditional prep day. This collection of exercises not only introduces the mechanics of squatting but also has immediate carry over to performance with studies indicating isometric core exercises – think deadbug – improve your bodies ability to excel under load – think back squats. These prep days typically provide a few exercises you can do at home or before/after classes to improve performance, correct movement faults, and help make steady progress.
Strength & Skill Work
Strength refers to the barbell lifts, like deadlifts, squats, snatches, cleans, jerks, but may also include various accessory exercises, such as the the step up. This is a great time to practice these these movements and receive some extra attention from our coaches. Once you have consistently demonstrated your ability to execute a particular lift, you will be encouraged to gradually add weight. This is intensity! When performed properly, a heavy deadlift is a very intense experience. Strength days are a great day to work on consistency and slowly learn intensity.
The other half of the Strength / Skill component is skill. Skill normally refers to gymnastics and bodyweight exercises, such as handstand push ups, toes-to-bar, pull ups, muscle ups, and L-sits. Typically in CrossFit classes most of the time spent on gymnastics is during conditioning with the music blaring, people shouting, and the intensity cranked to eleven. Our goal in the skill sessions is to break down gymnastics movements and develop consistency. Getting better at these movements requires a back to basics approach. We will spend time practicing being upside down in various positions, perform slow strict pull ups, and pepper in a variety of taxing core exercises. Once you are on the path to mastery of these movements, you can add in intensity via weight, large sets, and controlled reps.The focused practice of a skill session benefits every athlete, regardless of skill level pays off during metcons!
Conditioning workouts, often referred to metcons – short for metabolic conditioning – are the meat and potatoes of our program. These high-intensity couplets, triplets, and chippers typically make up the smallest section of our day; however, they are often the most potent piece. This is done on purpose. Our entire day is often funneled towards this eight to twenty minute period with the goal of executing the workout at the highest intensity possible, while consistently demonstrating proper mechanics. During conditioning, expect coaches to refer to cues they introduced during the warm up, prep, and strength and skill to encourage consistent movement. If you are moving well, be prepared to be gently pushed to increase intensity! This is your chance to go hard in a safe environment. Have fun.
Recap & Cash Out
We conclude classes with a recap of the workout, celebratory high fives, and a cash out. The cash out serves as a cool down takes a variety of forms. Sometimes we cash out with a static stretch such as the pigeon stretch, other times we perform exercises designed to complement the day, like split squats following a heavy leg day. On occasion, we will encourage you to roll out with a ball or roller. Even if you are pressed for time, we strongly recommend you do something at the conclusion of your metcon.
From warm up to cash out, Tidal’s hour-long CrossFit classes are programmed to give you a focused hour of fitness. The warm up and prep teach mechanics, the strength and skill are designed to help you develop consistency, and the met-con is all about intensity. Come regularly, listen to your coaches, and watch your GPP skyrocket!
Written by: Thomas Wendelboe
Co-Owner & Business Leader | Tidal CrossFit York Mills
(Thom also oversees the development of Tidal’s programming)