Archive for July, 2012
Our mission at CFSR is to provide guidance and tools for improving quality of life. We want the strength and conditioning work you do here to support your daily lives and efforts and to help you live the kind of life you want to live, whether that’s being able to parent and mentor young people, play sports free of injury, stay mobile and functional as you age, or – when it comes down to it- manage and conquer whatever physical or emotional challenges you face in your work or personal life.
Working out five, six, or seven times a week and going as hard as you can every time is not going to do that. In fact, that kind of reckless training is simply going to make you…well, a wreck. Injury, silent inflammation, and burnout are all at the end of that road. Let’s not go there! Danger, Will Robinson!
But wait, you say. Aren’t I trying to PR each time I lift? Aren’t I supposed to be killing the wod every day? Isn’t that how I’ll make gains?
No, it’s probably not.
Here are three simple things you can do to improve as an athlete:
1) Execute clean and pretty movement
We happen to hold “pretty movement” in high esteem around here. Adding weight to an ugly squat may feel like an accomplishment for the day but it’s not in the long run. Aim for clean – not sloppy, unfocused, or rushed- movement in every exercise we do, and please listen to your coach’s cues and suggestions for mobility work, accessory strength work, or alternative therapies to help you.
This point really can’t be stressed enough. Proper movement is your foundation for any gains in strength, conditioning, or other specific athletic performance you seek. Without a strong foundation in place, anything you build on top of it can and will crumble.
2) Get Stronger
Doing metabolic conditioning WODs probably isn’t going to make you a lot stronger. Doing focused, progressive strength work is. While many people both within and outside of the CrossFit world assume that the programming at a CrossFit affiliate is random, ours is not. Our program is specifically designed to get you stronger. Strength built on proper mechanics and movement will make you better at everything – in the gym and in life. Give your attention to the strength training portion of the regular CrossFit classes, and/or attend our Strength class consistently.
This kills two birds with one stone, too. The stronger you are, the smaller the percentage of your maximal effort is any given weight; so the stronger you are, the easier the movements and weights in our multi-modal metabolic conditioning workouts (or “metcon” aka “WOD”) becomes. Increase your strength, and the metcons – even those with weightlifting movements – become aerobic and help you build your aerobic base.
3) Practice Skills at Low Intensity
Have you met Tom #2? He’s working on muscle ups. You know how I know? I saw him the other day, towards the end of the warm up period over in a corner of the gym, working muscle up progressions on the low rings. He is wisely spending time drilling the movement and its pieces at a low intensity, focused -really focused-on the movement and how it’s supposed to feel. He’s building the neuromuscular pathways necessary to be able to do this complex movement.
We program opportunities for you to do this. You know how you might see pistols, or handstand push ups, or hey, even our basic air squats or overhead squats at the top of the hour as skill work, or perhaps unweighted in the warm up? Don’t bang those out. The warm up is not a workout (despite what that dude’s t-shirt says). Use the opportunity to truly focus on the mechanics and details of the movement – even the ones that seem like second nature to you already. Air squat? Move slowly, keep the spine stacked, stay tight, sink into the heels, feel it. Alternating DB press? Get stacked and organized, find the midline, work to create stability for the overhead position, stay light.
We’ve got more suggestions for how you can develop yourself as a more functional, capable athlete and raise your quality of life. And in a future post, we’ll share. For now, start with these three things.