Tapering practices of elite CrossFit athletes

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International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching


This is the first study to document the training and tapering practices of elite CrossFit athletes. Seventy-two CrossFit athletes (39 females, 33 males) (mean ±SD; 26.5 ± 3.6 y, 167.1 ± 9.5 cm, 74.5 ± 12.7 kg, 12.8 ± 6.5 y general training, 5.4 ± 1.7 y CrossFit training) who competed at the “Regionals” level or higher in the 2018 CrossFit Games season completed a self-reported 5-page online survey. Almost all athletes (98.6%) tapered before important competitions. Taper length was 5.4 ± 2.7 days, with the step and linear tapering styles being most commonly utilised. Strength training volume peaked 5.1 ± 4.6 weeks before competition, whereas conditioning training volume peaked 4.0 ± 4.4 weeks before competition. Strength training intensity peaked 3.1 ± 2.4 weeks before competition, whereas conditioning training intensity peaked 2.8 ± 2.2 weeks before competition. Almost all athletes (90.0%) reduced training duration during tapering, but changes to frequency and intensity were mixed. Training volume decreased by 41.2 ± 15.5% during the taper, all training ceased 2.0 ± 1.1 days before competition. Tapering was performed to achieve peak performance, recover (physically and psychologically), and reduce feelings of fatigue. Poor results from tapering were experienced when athletes tapered for too long or insufficiently. This observational data may be valuable for coaches and athletes engaged in CrossFit as well as other sports with concurrent training and competition demands.

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