Atlas, you’ve got nothing on Dave Swanson!
How do I get stronger? What do you mean “no rep?” Oh, I hate that exercise, I suck at it, can I do something else?! How do I start competing or get on the team?
I hear these questions ALL the time!!! I would say every person has asked one of those questions and some have asked ALL of those questions. The strength question, well, I’m sure you’ve heard many times either from me, another coach, or a member to document your progress. “How do I get stronger?” Is a very broad statement. First off, what is strength? Given the context of the question at a gym, it’s probably related to ones’ ability to lift large loads. Okay, noted! That still doesn’t say much at all. “Large” is a relative term. My follow up question is, “Stronger in what?” As you know, there are lots of movements involving load, you have to have specifics in mind. Next up, “Where are you currently at?” You must know how much weight you can lift in order to pose the question of wanting to get stronger. It can be a very simple task. Go move heavy stuff until you can’t, then document. That will be your baseline, once you can quantify your strength, you can set forth a program for improvement. Be real in your attempt to max out your efforts too! If it’s a squat and you don’t achieve full depth, you didn’t successfully lift that weight. I’ve seen this many times before when I ask what someone’s max lift is, they tell me and a few months later I happen to be working with them on the movement to where they said they’ve gotten way stronger, but they can’t hit the same number with proper ROM (range of motion). That will mess you up mentally. Don’t take a short cut in the beginning, it will turn around and nip you in the (_!_)!!
I love competing and coaching at competitions. They are very addicting! Many people have the idea of participating in competitions, I get very excited to hear people say this. BUT, just because you say it, it doesn’t make it a reality. It takes time, sacrifice, and commitment. Doing the bare minimum will not lead to success. Again, you have to put in some work! Knowing what your numbers are i.e. max snatch, clean, oh-back-front squat, shoulder to overhead, etc. will help. You have to find the time to come in on your off time to practice skills and work on your weaknesses. WE ALL HAVE WEAKNESSES! I’m not referring to weakness coming from zingers or cheesecake either. My biggest weakness I would say is running. That doesn’t mean that when it comes up in a competition that I don’t do it! It just means that I will have to strategize a little bit more and suck it up! Take Rich Froning and Annie Thorsidottir for example, their weaknesses are HSPU’s and Muscle ups (respectively) But the fact remains, WE ALL HAVE THEM. If you don’t know what they are, then ask yourself what you have to scale in class. Pullups? HSPU’s? Snatch? Then simply ask a coach on things you can do to help. Either way, don’t live in the facade that you are unbreakable, the sooner you expose your weaknesses, the sooner you can make it a strength!
Taking classes is a great way to stay or get in to shape, they are tough! I’ve taken a couple classes lately and they crush me! You guys sure seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing me practically getting in the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth just through the warmup and speed work too! As great as the classes are, you still need more if you are wanting to compete! CrossFit was originally just a program that would help to assist making daily life easier for military, fire, and law enforcement. It the gained some credibility and went toward sports conditioning. Take basketball for example (not that I played, but clearly I could because I’m so tall). CrossFit helps a player increase power, explosiveness, speed, agility and so on, but does it help to make more free throws? No, the fact of the matter is, is that it helps you stay fresher longer while helping the body, but you still need to practice your free throws.
CrossFit is deemed the “Sport of Fitness”. So, with any sport, you need to practice. You have the great foundation of conditioning developed, but you need to perfect movements, transitions, mental prep, and avoid tunnel vision. Nobody wants to do wall ball for the sake of doing wall ball, it’s just not that much fun. BUT wall ball is done to help prepare you for life, right? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve found myself under a second story window and the front door was broke so I had to “wall ball” my groceries up, haha! Like I said, people practice free throws to get better under pressure or during the 4th quarter and fatigue nestles it’s way in. Just like wall ball, we are “practicing” squatting with weight, accelerating from the bottom position and transferring the power through the hands as the object (ball) ascends toward a target while requiring accuracy. Any similarity to a free throw?
The point is, practice! It is now the “Sport of Fitness” and if you want to compete, well you’ve got some work to do! First, find your numbers, then find your weaknesses, then all you have to do is practice! Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions too! You can totally call me, text me, email me, or just pull me aside!