Safety and Mindset: The Key Points of Emphasis for Coaching CrossFit During the Winter

December 14, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Ryan Avery / Hybrid Farm

The calendar has turned to December, and hundreds of affiliates in the northern hemisphere are dealing with the onset of winter weather. Snow, sleet, darkness, and other factors create potentially unsafe conditions and force coaches and affiliate owners to make significant adjustments to keep their athletes safe and motivated. It can also be a very, very good excuse to hit that snooze button and go back to dreamland rather than face a frozen barbell. 

For a big bulk of our year we really don't get to have running programmed in our workouts.

Keila Huelle, owner of CrossFit Anchorage

One big thing: The arrival of winter weather in the northern parts of the globe results in coaches making two significant adjustments. Many remove running from the WODs, especially in areas of Alaska or Canada where there are concerns about wind chill and bare skin. They also increase the length of warmups to ensure that the internal body temperature is up to an acceptable level. 

  • “It’s probably more encountered with the early morning classes because they're rolling out of bed and it's generally much colder at 6 a.m. than it is by the time the sun comes out in the afternoon,” said Taryn Dubreuil, owner of CrossFit Function in Yorkton, Canada. “The warm-ups will be a little bit longer and they'll be more basic just to get that blood going.”
  • “We'll do some kind of general warm-up and then specific work for the WOD that day,” explained Ryan Avery, owner/coach at Hybrid Farm in St. Cloud, MN. “And I wouldn't necessarily say it's longer, but we may spend more time on the general warm-up, to get that core temperature up to get them moving and feeling good. You know, so we might shift some of that time towards the general warm-up more.”
  • “My warm ups are gonna be a little bit longer,” added Taylor Peterson, a coach at Detour Athletics in Rochester, MN. “They're going to be a little more in-depth, they're going to target muscle groups that we really need to hone in on because it does take an extra five to 10 minutes for those athletes to come from their desk and drive in the cold and get into the gym and get warmed up and then get going.”

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