Why doing random CrossFit WODS is killing your potential

  Which way are you attacking your goals?

  Which way are you attacking your goals?

How many of us say to ourselves every single day in the gym: "I want to get better!" We tell our friends, we tell our coaches, we even tell the barbells. But the reality soon sets in regarding what WE ARE ACTUALLY DOING TO GET BETTER. 

Let's start with a thought experiment: 

There are two types of athletes

Athlete A comes to the gym 4-5 times per week and does his own lifting and/or chooses random WOD's to perform throughout the week based on what he enjoys doing. When certain benchmark WODS come up he realizes his performance hasn't increased as much as he thought it would and furthermore he still struggles with certain basic movements in CrossFit. Athlete A believes that by doing more he is necessarily going to one day become great. 

Athlete B comes to the gym 4-5 times per week and sticks to a program from his coach and lists out certain movements he is good at and certain movements he is bad at. For him it is more beneficial to work on the movements he is bad at rather than cherrypicking his favorite exercises. He comes in with a set goal each week (e.g. 1) Perform 10 TTB Every Minute On The Minute for 6 Mins, 2) 3 Rounds Not For Time: 10 HSPU, 10 Dips, 10 Pull Ups 3) Every 4 mins for 20 Mins As Fast As Possible 10 Cal Row, 10 Burpees, 10 Kettle Bell Swings). He tracks all of his workouts and knows that going hard all the time is not beneficial to his overall fitness goals. 

Now it comes time for the Class WOD. The WOD is Helen: 3 Rounds Run 400m, 21 KBS, 12 Pull Ups. Athlete A bursts out of the gate and by the 2nd Round Athlete B is crushing him. Athlete B yells out: TIME!! and it says 9:02. Athlete A comes in barely breathing and softly says: Time. and it says 13:02.

The difference is that Athlete A has been choosing different workouts from different websites based on what he feels like doing on that particular day. Athlete B is developing General Physical Preparedness by setting goals he has to reach in order to see his performance increase during the WOD. 

Most people believe that you will get better at certain movements during a WOD. They soon find out that they are sorely mistaken. During a WOD you cannot expect to get better. A good way to put it would be comparing it to professional sports. In football you do not get better on Monday night when you are playing in front of tens of thousands of people. You do not get better on Super Bowl Sunday either. You get better from practicing. Practicing is what Athlete A lacks and what Athlete B is excellent at. If you aren't practicing you will not reap the benefits on Super Bowl Sunday or in the Class WOD's at your box.

Heres my recommendation:

Sample

List out 6-10 Movements you are bad at. Pick a number of repetitions you can perform and slowly increase them over time along with your aerobic base conditioning (running/rowing/air dyne etc..).

1) Muscle Ups - Ring/Bar 15-20 Strict/Week and 30+ Kipping

2) Rowing 5k - 30s Intervals/60s rest x10-25sets increasing set numbers and intensity across 4-5 weeks

3) C2B Pull Ups - 40+/Week

4) Pistols - 60+/Week

5) Hang Power Clean - 3-5sets of 10-12 reps every 90's (increasing weight across 4-5 weeks)

6) Improve Deadlifts - Work on Glute Ham Raises, Single Leg KB DL, Reverse Hypers, Good Mornings all for 4-5 sets with rep range 10-15