No Substitute for Practice
So many of us have had one of these two thoughts at some point:
• “I’ve been doing CrossFit for weeks/months/ years and I still can’t do pull-ups/push-ups/toes to bar/handstand pushups, or your particular hated movement”
• “I used to be able to do [insert your hated movement here], and now I can’t do a single one any more! - Why?”
I know how frustrating this can be for those of you who are just starting CrossFit and even for those of us that have been training for years. For me, as someone who’s done CrossFit for more than 7 years, the fact that I still can’t consistently string together toes-to-bar is downright maddening.
As you have probably noticed, not everyone is built the same or moves the same. Some people are just naturally talented at particular tasks, and others can hardly accomplish it at all. That means not everyone will react to class programming the same way.
Even though a coach is hoping to build a program that gives all of the members broad exposure to all the skills needed to increase one’s functional fitness and work capacity, the class programming should be looked at as the building blocks for developing and maintaining any particular set of skills/exercises. For the skills that many of us find to be difficult and challenging on a routine basis, we need to dedicate more attention to these to ensure we develop the right movement patterns and prerequisite strength to do the movements safely and confidently.
So what’s the resolution? Well, it’s easy: Practice. Yes, regular, repetitive, boring practice of the same skill over and over again. Repetition is one thing that most CrossFitters avoid like the plague, but it’s the only way to overcome your plateaus
Once you’ve accepted that practice makes perfect, how do you start?
1. Prioritize your movements. Don’t try to fix every weakness at once. Figure out which movement is most important for you to fix (perhaps you’re so close to succeeding, or maybe you’re so far from succeeding but it’s really holding you back in your daily WODs or competitions).
2. Ask for help. Reach out to our coaches or fellow athletes and develop a program that will help you improve these skills in an effective and fun way! A skilled coach can help you break down the movement to its core components, and identify why it’s been so challenging for you. This will help you understand if your limitations are based on strength, mobility or poor movement patterns.
Make the Time
We all have tremendously busy schedules, but I promise you - just a few minutes a week will make a huge difference. A good strategy is to dedicate 15-20 minutes before or after class to practicing these movements or doing accessory work that will build the necessary strength/skill to accomplish it.
So for those of you who are hoping to get that first pull-up, push-up, hand stand push-up, or muscle-up, remember: There is no substitute for good ol’ practice.