Recovery WOD

Posted by Brian PCF
Sep 22 2010

We’ve found many of our athletes get pretty beat down at one point or another. This seems especially true of athletes that make it past the first 3-9 months.

At this point they’ve gotten over their basic mobility issues, have built some strength, and while they can’t perform many WODs Rx’d, they can at least perform the movements with some amount of intensity.

However, we see a double edged sword at this point, because they are close to Rxd on some days, and when in doubt, they throw more weight on the bar than they should really be doing.

Other athletes simply injure themselves outside of Crossfit programming and need something as rehab. Those athletes that refuse to give up “Jogging” (I believe it’s a soft “J”), understandably are prone to lower body injury and we commonly work around those subbing out Double Unders, Box Jumps, etc.

I am frequently astounded by the number of injuries I see from golf. I have personally seen more athletes that come in on a Monday injured from playing nine holes than from an all weekend rugby tournament.

In all of these cases, a “Recovery WOD” may be the right prescription.


As you remember from my last post, there is a continuum of intensity in functional movement. If we stay on the low side of the intensity curve, we maximize the rehabilitative processes of the body.

The first case we’ll look at is Beth and Stu.

Both of these athletes came to me in the past week complaining of “low back pain” just above the pelvis. Beth’s from an 11 hour flight, Stu’s from the PCF WOD this past Sunday as well as his extremely tight hamstrings..

Stu's hamstrings are literally (not figuratively) trying to kill him.

What I prescribed for them was the same thing, a Recovery WOD:

Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes perform:
3 Deadlift, 65 lbs
3 Air Squat

After this couplet, I had them do six rounds of PNF on their hamstrings as well. Here’s the reports from Beth and Stu:

Beth – “Dude! I get back pain all the time when I’m flying or driving for long periods, and I’ve never recovered that fast!”

Stu – “The dead-lift was brutal. Literally, the muscle right above my waste line on the left side was throbbing during rounds 10-15. I had to pause for over 1 minute because it hurt so bad for the last few rounds. Once I stretched my hamstrings via the AbMat and belt it alleviated all of the pain – it felt amazing! Lastly, my back did not hurt at all during the WOD. Today I am sore, but no more than normal a day after a WOD.”

Both of them were back in the next day to train, and without any back pain.


Key Takeaway: “The magic is in the movements.”

  • Keep it functional
  • Low volume, low intensity
  • Target the area that’s causing the pain, don’t avoid it
  • Ensure that you’re doing mobility after the Recovery WOD

Play around with it, let me know how it goes.

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