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KDA CrossFit – Why you need to do the things you suck at.

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CrossFit is a fantastic training methodology that has a very unique capability of finding and exploiting your weaknesses. Most, if not all, of us love doing workouts where all the movements are in our wheel house. You check out the WOD the night before, and you’re like “hell yes – I’m going to crush this”. I’m in total agreement that it’s fun to blast through a workout every once in a while to keep that confidence high, but is it really helping you become a better athlete?

Are you the athlete that only shows up on days that your gym has cleans programmed, but if overhead squats/running/[insert movement here] are programmed, you run like the wind? This mindset is a problem and could be hurting you more than you think. You aren’t going to get better at overhead squats by just practicing the barbell movements you’re already good at. Yes, you may get stronger at certain things, but you’re just creating greater weaknesses and/or exacerbating imbalances when you avoid things. Realizing that your weaknesses originate from avoiding the things you hate can be a tough pill for people to swallow and the only way to strengthen them is by facing them. Your weaknesses in CrossFit are frequently referred to as “goats” and can be movements or skills that you dread for whatever the reason.

Here are a few things I want you to think about:

1. Don’t let your ego or attitude get in the way of changing what you’re doing in order to improve. We want to develop you to be the best athletes you can be – and that takes some work on your part. Just because something is written on the whiteboard (like a “Rx”) doesn’t necessarily mean that its the most productive thing you might do at that exact moment. Being comfortable enough to identify that a movement isn’t going to make you a better overall athlete is tough on the ego, but asking your coaches for alternatives or suggestions to ensure you’re getting the intended stimulus is welcomed, recommended, and in your best interest. These stimuli could be either an increase or decrease in the day’s written skill, movement, or load. For example, if you crush kipping pull-ups maybe it’s time to level up and start thinking about pull-up progressions to get you to butterfly pull-ups. Yeah, you may not be doing pull-ups in the workout that day, but we already know you can do that, and instead you’re working on leveling up. Same thing with working on or toward a more complex movement, or performing movements more virtuously, though maybe at a lighter weight for the time-being.

2. Use our training program as a guide, but don’t follow it so rigidly that you don’t know how to work around unexpected obstacles. This is a double-edge sword; there is a definite method to our program’s design and you don’t want to drift to far away from the intent of that method, but if you realize that something just isn’t getting better or an imbalance that you recognize, it may be time to talk to a coach and see what your options are. Maybe it’s a individualized program design, 1-on-1 session with a skill specific coach to flush the kinks out and identify your weak points, or maybe it’s coming into open gym or staying after class and adding some additional accessory or mobility work into your program. You’ll be amazed what 10-15 minutes a day can do when trying to develop new skills.

To continue your development, you need to constantly be turning your weaknesses into strengths and testing yourself enough to identify new weaknesses. At the end of the day, it’s about making the WHOLE you better and leveling all of you up!