8 Common mistakes to avoid in CrossFit
- Chasing the ‘leader board’
- Well, there is no leader board. At least there shouldn’t be and you shouldn’t look at it that way. If you start to chase times and people you will almost always compromise your form for the sake of a few seconds. Remember we are training for competence not dominance. If you are of the competitive ilk, that’s fine too, as long as you are only competitive with yourself. Competition is something altogether different, there dominance does play a part but even so you should only be competitive with yourself. Internalise your effort, not externalise it.
- Not prioritising your corrective work
During an open gym session or at the beginning of sessions are you looking to cram an extra WOD in or extra reps? That is seldom the best thing to do. Most of the time, most adults, have mobility/stability/movement/positioning issues that need addressing. Sometimes these have gone unchecked for years and won’t get better overnight. Find a great coach and book some PT to teach you the corrective work you need and be diligent with it. Everyone is different but the corrective work always needs to be done. This tends to be the biggest hole in someone’s fitness that needs to be plugged. Accessory work tends to be the ‘boring’ work that many people are not prepared to do but I can guarantee they will be the people who progress the best overall and in the long term.
It’s nice to do what you love to do. It’s hard to do what you don’t like but the general rule is, what you don’t like doing is what you need to do. Even though there is a mass of information out there, I’m still aware of members avoiding stuff or doing what they’re good at in open gym. You must understand that in order to progress in the best possible way, you won’t completely enjoy every single session. If you change the meanings of those sessions from something you don’t like to something that will make you better then you’re more likely to get after your goats, knowing that they will serve you better in the future.
- Focusing on strength at the cost of metabolic conditioning.
This is something I read time and time again. ‘I’m just going to concentrate on my strength for a while, I need to get stronger for competition etc…’ This is normally at the cost of other areas of fitness. The strongest guys do not excel at competition or in life, the guys that are most adaptable to change do. So, it makes sense to ensure you grow and develop every facet of your fitness and not prioritise one of the other. That’s not to say your program shouldn’t have a bias one way or another. Sometimes that is wholly appropriate but should be done with the aid of an experienced coach. No one who has focused on strength has ever come back to excel at competition.
- Believe that more is better. Better is better.
In many CrossFit gyms I have seen the same thing. People will do the class WOD and stay for open gym. Within 10 mins they’re doing another one, it might even be a similar one. That might be ok if it was sporadic but most of the time it’s not. And it harps back to the age old maxim of ‘more is better’. More is almost never better, instead better is better. Instead of working a similar time domain, similar movements etc, do something completely different. This might be pure technique practice, deliberate practice, accessory work, corrective and postural, mobility or stability work. The chances are, what you’re doing is not what you need to do.
- Not taking age into account
Getting older does not necessarily mean much however there are a few things you need to take into account.
- It takes you longer to warm up, be diligent with it.
- Look after your connective tissue.
- Collagen replacement starts to decrease.
- Hormones change and it takes you longer to recover.
- You can’t get away with ‘mistakes’ like you used to!
In order to live a long, functional and active life, you need a plan to look after these areas. Getting regular sports massages is almost essential to maintain the sliding surfaces of your body (connective tissue). Free up your sticky tissue to enable correct joint movement. Consider taking regular glucosamine supplements to help keep joints healthy. I never really advocate any supplementation at all but fish oils and glucosamine are the few that I would. GLC 2000 has genuinely made a huge difference in my joint pain. Spend extra time warming up and cooling down and optimise your recovery in every possible way. If you are starting your CrossFit training as a master’s athlete (35 plus) then you may have quite a bit of poor posture to correct. This won’t happen overnight and should be a priority else you could be building further problems.
- Prioritising intensity over competency.
When CrossFit first rose to public prominence everyone was asking, ‘why does it work so well’. The ‘secret’ it seemed was the intensity. Work intense enough and it will elicit a high neuroendocrine response and thus a high amount of positive adaption. ONLY if the technique is good.
We all know Rome was not built in a day and it is so, so true for the human body too. Consider that you may have been sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day and for the last 10 years. To restore balance, it will take 8 hours a day for the next 10 years of corrective work! At least that is the theory on balance. In truth it actually happens a bit quicker than that because you’re not trying to gain new mobility/stability, you’re trying to regain it but it will still take a very long time to do. The key is to trust the process that you are in, accept that is where you are and drop any expectations of where you think you should be right now. When you change your expectations for appreciation of what you actually do have, your whole outlook changes for the better. Stick to it, you’re making progress J