Recovery: Maximize Your WOD

The importance of properly recovering from a Wod cannot be understated. Failing to maximze recovery can lead to injury, prolonged fatigue, tight/sore tissues, and decreased performance. But optimum recovery consists of more than rehydrating, sleeping, and pounding a protein shake. There are several ways immediately after a workout to ensure your performance increases with every Wod.

Cool down

How good of an idea do you think it is to stroll into the gym and immediately jump into 14.5? Most elite athletes wouldn’t dream of it, and for good reason. Warming up gradually primes our bodies for the output any given Wod (especially the Open) demands, leading to better movement, reduced risk of injury, and improved performance.

Cooling down after a Wod is no different. Collapsing to the ground post Wod may feel like the only realistic option, but easing your body out of high intensity provides significant benefits. Continuing to move (light jogging or rowing) after a Wod:

  • Promotes blood circulation: In addition to helping supply oxygen to your tissues, your blood recycles tons of chemicals and hormones released during a workout your body needs to do process once they have served their purpose. One such chemical is lactic acid, and promoting blood flow after a workout prevents build up in your tissues which leads to soreness.
  • Prevents tissues from stiffening: We’ve all felt it: after high intensity situations our tissues adapt by getting tighter and stiffer, and we want the opposite. We need to work to stay loose post Wod, doing so maximizes the window in which we can make significant mobility gains and ensure we are fresh for the next Wod.
  • Make a statement: CrossFit is a sport and in no other sport does the victor collapse to ground in exhaustion after winning. Look at the picture below:

Which of these men would you guess won? Winning is a mindset as much as it is physical (if not more) and each Wod you remain on your feet afterwards declares “I conquered this Wod.” Perhaps Mikko Salo said it best:

“I once read an article about it: when animals surrender they go lying on their back, from then on I decided I would never go lying on my back. It’s a sign of weakness and surrendering. I’m never lying on my back.” -Mikko Salo

(Disclaimer: This last point may not be for everyone, no judgement passed on those who choose to collapse)

Mobility Work:

Just like with nutrition, the post Wod window (approximately one hour) is a strategic time towards making gains in mobility when your body is most malleable and accepting to change. Your body just survived some insane Wod and is now prepared to adapt to pretty much anything you throw at it. The post Wod window presents the biggest “bang for your buck” mobility timing and a unique opportunity to put yourself in positions you normally can’t. For an extra bonus, focus on specific muscle groups and positions just tested in the Wod. For example, after heavy deadlifts go after your back. Pull ups: hammer those shoulders. Squats? Work those hips. Maximizing is key to reaching your position, movement, and mobility goals.


As said above in the “make a statement” section, CrossFit is a sport, and like all sports the mental/strategic element exists along with the physical. Any athlete or coach worth their salt will spend time reflecting on their performance and draw insights from mistakes and successes in past competitions. Each Wod offers an opportunity to assess yourself as an athlete “What did I do well?” “What could I have done better?” “Where do I need to improve?” Thoughtful answers to questions like these lead to smarter training, better preparation, and increased performance.

Pay attention to other athletes in your box as well. Surprised you were passed by everyone on Toes to Bar even though you were the first one off the rower in 14.4? Wondering how you lost to that guy you have 15 kilos in 14.3? Understanding why things happen is crucial to progressing as an athlete and competitor Looking for an edge to help you jump 200 spots in next years open? Take every Wod as an opportunity to learn and grow as an athlete.

If you don’t believe me, listen to the MAN:

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