Why Your Coaches Be Stressin’ When You’re Not Properly Progressin’!

You must crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. This is something we all know to be true, but sometimes once we walk through those gym doors, our common sense goes out the window and we want to start at advanced movements, techniques, and/or weights. As the Crossfit founder and CEO Greg Glassman has said, “Ahead of efficacy is safety.”

A properly scaled movement safely maximizes relative intensity (load, speed, and range of motion) in order to continue developing that movement.

Let’s use pull-ups as a example. Before you even hang from a bar, you should have control of your hollow position. Once the hollow is mastered on the floor, we can then work on a static hanging position. Without this position, you will have a hard time learning/progressing onto pull-ups. Skipping steps creates poor training habits that will result in frustration.

The next step for long-term development of the pull-up requires  athletes to learn strict strength progressions first. Kipping should not be the next step. Think “strength and form before speed”. When the proper strength and control required for a certain movement is not present, the body will find other ways to dissipate the forces being generated to muscles and connective tissue that is not prepared to handle them. This can result in injury.

Going back to step one, the “active hang” (as well as scapular pull-ups) will help to encourage proper body position while contracting the appropriate muscles. The second step is ensuring proper grip strength; the better your forearm/grip strength, the higher amount of pull-ups you are preparing your body to perform. The third step is performing assisted pull-ups (not using bands – our kneeling or toe-assisted pull-ups or negative/eccentric pull-ups)
Once you have mastered those movements, you can move into learn strict pull-up progressions.

As you can see, bodyweight/gymnastic movements have the same mental process as an Olympic lift. In your lifts, you probably have a set-up routine with your hands on the bar and your feet on the platform. With our example of pull-ups, you should also have a mental checklist: are you hanging actively and recruiting the proper muscles? Are you in a good hollow position? Are you maintaining that position throughout the movement?

And remember, this is just the proper progression for a strict pull-up; you can imagine why your coaches emphasize these steps before attempting a kipping pull-up…before anything else, it is for your safety and to ingrain proper movement patterns that will carry over to all of the movements in Crossfit and in life!

Finding Your Why

Why do you do Crossfit?  Is it just an hour of movement?  Stress relief?  Do you want to compete?  To lose weight? Get stronger? Or both?

Your “why”, the reason why you have chosen to do Crossfit, should be a personal thing.  When you wake up in the morning, your “why” should be the driving force in getting you to the gym…not the scores on the whiteboard.  Too often I see people getting sucked into who “won the workout” instead of spending time on self-analysis of their own workout.  For example, if you are working on a skill that may slow down your workout time (ie toes to bar), you should be concerned with developing that skill and not scaling to knees to elbows in order to “win the workout”.

Prior to the workout, I like to set expectations of how the workout should go (intensity, duration, skill involved).  How did I sleep the night before? How am I feeling in general?  How has my nutrition been?  Have I been recovering properly?  Where are my strengths and weaknesses within the workout?  The questions I always ask myself after every workout are: How was my time compared to my goal? (if that was one of my goals at all!) Did I do all the movements with good form?  Did I ensure all of my repetitions would have been counted if I was competing?

For those reasons, I’m rarely concerned where I finish in a workout compared to other people.  If I had a horrible night’s sleep and the person I’m comparing myself to slept 8 hours, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a better workout than I did.  What I will do, is compare my time to people with a similar skill level, to see if my “planning” worked (ie planned rest breaks, pacing strategy).  Or, if it is a benchmark workout I’ve already done, I compare my score to my previous to see if I’ve improved.

Being concerned with what other people are doing or not doing should not be your “why”.  If you stay focused on your progress, others will follow because they will see you getting better.

 

The CFTB blog is up and running!

Here it is…the moment you have all been waiting for; the Crossfit Thoroughbreds official blog is up and running! The goal of our blog is to inform, motivate, and inspire! We will cover physical and mental aspects of exercise, and Crossfit in particular. And of course, if there is a topic you would like to see a blog on, feel free to drop a line and give topic suggestions!

The topic of today’s blog is GOALS. Many of us set goals in January that we wanted to achieve by the end of the year. We are now at the end of October, and time is flying by. Think back to when you set those goals in January – did you completely forget about them? Do you even remember what they were? Have you already achieved all of them and now you are just coasting through the rest of the year?

These next 2 months (and 2 weeks) should bring you back to those goals if there are still some left on your list.  You still have plenty of time to chip away at those goals. It may require extra work. It may require working out on the weekends. The hardest of our goals are usually the most time consuming. If you have one of those goals still hanging on your “wish list”and you’re not sure where to start, reach out to one of your coaches and let’s figure out a plan of action!

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger