Most of us know what workouts and movements we like, some of us know what we are bad at, and all of us have stuff to work on. A lot of you go to the gym 3-5 days a week and do the workout that is prescribed on the board which is awesome! I guarantee most of you look at the website every morning (or 11:00pm the night before) to check out what the WOD is going to be. I know this because I used to do it every morning too when I wasn’t coaching, and my response would either be “Yes, I’m going to kill it!” or “Shoot, this is going to kill me!” That’s because I know what I’m good at and what I struggle with.
I will be the first one to tell you that I’m not strong – my biggest weakness is strength. But that is OK because I will fix that! Some of you don’t know what your weaknesses are or what your strengths are, and I want to try and help you figure that out because once we figure out your weakness we can attack them! If you don’t know your weakness, start a WOD book (if you haven’t already). All of us coaches tell you all the time why a WOD book is helpful, and this is definitely one of the reason! With a WOD book you are able to go back through the workouts and see what you did well on, or not so well on. After a workout is over it is really hard to distinguish what you are good and bad at because no matter what you feel like death! As you write in your WOD book it is important to note that the weight felt really heavy today or handstand pushups were really hard today. That way when you go back to look at the WOD book you know what went well and what didn’t.
Another good way to figure out your strengths and weaknesses is to ask coaches (if we don’t already tell you) what this workout is supposed to feel like. For example if we are doing 95/65# shoulder to overhead and the workout is supposed to take you 5 minutes and it takes you 15 because the weight was just too heavy, then we may need to work on strength. Now if you are doing a gymnastics workout where there is HSPU, Pull Ups, and Air Squats and you smash everyone’s time on the board then I would say you are pretty gymnasty and that is one of your strengths! We all do not like to admit what we are bad at because that is no fun but I’m here to tell you that it is ok it have weaknesses. We all have things we need to work on – even the most fit athletes!
Okay, now let’s talk about how we are going to get better at the things we are bad at! If one of your weaknesses is strength (like me, welcome to the club!) let’s talk about how you can target that weakness. First, you can evaluate how you are eating. If you are not eating enough during the day that could definitely be a reason why you are not getting stronger. Or maybe you’re eating enough, but it’s just not the right stuff. If you are eating lots during the day and still not getting stronger then maybe you want to think about making the weights in the workout a little heavier. Many of us stay with the same weight on the bar because that is what we feel comfortable with. I can’t tell you how many of us put 65 or 85lbs on the bar just because that is what we are used to! So maybe try and start adding 5-10lbs to the bar. Another idea to target strength is to maybe try Coach Ben’s wieghtlifting class where you will be squatting more times a week under load! I promise you, you will get stronger if you put your body under heavy weight more consistently.
If you have the strength of an ox and your movement/flexibility is what needs help then I’m actually going to tell you to do the opposite. I would like to see you take weight off the bar until your movement on that Jerk is absolutely perfect because I promise you your strength will come back fast, and with strength and perfect movement you’re pretty much a bad ass! Many of us struggle with the gymnastics stuff in the gym. Gymnastics is a very hard sport (which is why it is in the Olympics). I guarantee you if gymnastics were easy it wouldn’t be a part of CrossFit or the Olympics. The best advice that I can give with gymnastics is to keep with it and continue to keep practicing. The second best advice I can give you is to find your hips. I’m sure you have all seen Happy Gilmore where Happy is learning how to put and Chubbs is telling him “it’s all in the hips, it’s all in the hips.” All of our gymnastic movements are done with our hips. We coaches talk about full hip extension in the Kip which is then translated into the pull up, handstand pushup, muscle up, toes to bar, dip, etc. If we are not creating that full hip extension (or explosion as I like to call it) then we are working against ourselves and making the movements much harder.
One last weakness that some of us have is mobility. Being immobile (or lacking flexibility) can create weakness all over the place. Two big places I see it is with Wall ball Shots and Shoulder to Overhead. A lot of us who have trained at globo gyms our whole life have mobility issues due to isolated movements with little range of motion – too much time on the elliptical and too many bicep curls! Not to mention all of the time we spend sitting at a desk at work, or having poor posture. Then we find CrossFit and how amazing it is and we find out quickly that we can’t straighten our arms out all the way, or squat hip crease below our knees, or even bend over and touch our toes. Since we have trained (and lived) like that for so long we really have to concentrate on our mobility. It is very important that if you do have mobility issues that you are not only doing mobility after you workout but when you are at home as well. If you are someone looking for help with mobility you can ask any of the coaches and you could also go to mobilitywod.com.
Many of us push our weaknesses in the gym to the side – because they are hard! But let me tell you they will become harder and harder if you do not attack them! I challenge everyone of you to find something you are bad at and work on it! I absolutely believe that after a month of working on that one thing before or after a workout you will be better at it. Attacking your weakness will not only make you better at that one movement but I bet it will translate into other movements and you will become a better athlete all around!
ATTACK YOUR WEAKNESS!