CrossFit attracts a particular type of person. They are usually self-motivated, goal oriented and a hard worker. These are all traits of successful people, and working with 125+ generally successful people usually means you have a gym full of people who are used to excelling at things, but what happens when they don’t?
CrossFit is a fitness program that combines aspects from all fitness regimens. Some of these include simple movements like running or biking, but it also includes complicated Olympic level movements like the snatch, handstands and ring work. All of these movements (including the simple ones) require practice and a lot of it. Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book, Outliers, that “exceptional expertise requires at least 10,000 hours of practice.”
As an example in the CrossFit world let’s use butterfly pull-ups for Gladwell’s rule. If you only came to the class that had pull-ups in the workout each week, it would take you almost 200 years to create “exceptional expertise” at that movement.
That is an extreme example, but it shows you that it takes time to master something. I would think that in CrossFit instead of 10,000 hours, maybe the 10,000 rep rule would be a better metric for learning a movement.
Schedule a private session with a coach with some one-on-one time where they can show you progressions, and give you a game plan for developing that movement properly.
Again, CrossFit is a combination of ALL FITNESS PROGRAMS, and we have countless varieties of movements and their combinations. Below I have listed a few categories.
Here are the nine fundamental movements of CrossFit:
- Air Squat
- Front Squat
- Overhead Squat
- Shoulder Press
- Push Press
- Push Jerk
- Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- Medicine Ball Clean
Here are some typical “cardio” type movements we use:
- Jump Rope
Here are some “gymnastic” type movements we use:
- Handstand Push-Ups
- Ring Dips
- Handstand Walks
Here are some “explosive” and “barbell” movements we use:
- Power Cleans
- Box Jumps
- Broad Jumps
That is just a general list of movements. We could use dumbbells, kettlebells or sandbags for these movements as well. Think of CrossFit like school. You did not walk into calculus class on the first day and then not show up again until test day and expect to pass. You had to go to class each week and learn so that you could pass the test. CrossFit is the same way. Show up to class, learn the movements and then test them in your workouts. It takes time.
However, as most of you know, the more time something takes, the more people fall off. So how do you keep from falling off? You have to change your mindset. You need to stop trying to accomplish it all at once. Whether that is your fifty-pound weight loss goal or your goal to RX every workout, you need to ENJOY THE RIDE. Like Steve Gilliland says in his book, Enjoy the Ride: How to Experience the True Joy of Life, “There is no destination…” So for 99.9999999999999% of us that are not CrossFit Games athletes, this is the truth. There is no destination. Once we have learned one movement, we move on to the next, and the cycle repeats over and over.
We have to celebrate the little victories. Don’t just celebrate when you do the workouts RX’d, celebrate when you use more weight, do jumping pull-ups instead of ring rows or when you run 200m without stopping. Learn to be happy with what you did and not what you couldn’t!
How you look at certain situations can drastically change your emotional state with those. Take a step back and enjoy how far you have come not how far you have to go.
A couple of days ago (a week after I wrote this post) I found an old external hard drive that I used in college. I was going through the files and found a few videos of my first competition from January or February 2011. The video, my movement, my grunts and the cheering is absolute gold. I had been doing CrossFit with my friend Asa for about five or six months at this point. We taught ourselves everything by watching youtube! To those that laugh because my movement is terrible, remember I was new to this type of exercise and I was in competition. To those that look at this and think, “wow I have been doing CrossFit for three years and I still can’t do a muscle up.” Understand that I started CrossFit the day after my last collegiate soccer game. I was a high-level athlete that made a transition to another program.
I figured I would add this video to this blog before I actually posted it because I want you to see that it is a progression. I have done three to six CrossFit workouts every week since this competition. That is pushing 2,000 workouts! Not all of these were one-hour classes some were two and three-hour sessions but the point is I have put in a lot of work to get where I am today, and I have enjoyed every second of it……for the most part.
The reason CrossFit has kept my interest for so long and why I am still so passionate about it is because of the challenge and the results. There is so much to learn and when you think you have learned it all something else pops up. Once you think you have a movement down you then need to refine that movement to make it perfect. You can see yourself grow! That is the best part! In this video, I clean and jerk 225 pounds. My best clean and jerk now is 335 pounds! I struggle doing muscle ups but now I can do twenty in a row!
To look back on this video and see how far I have come makes me really happy and makes me excited to workout today!