A little self reflection on progress... or lack thereof.
Most people start CrossFit by going through a Fundamentals program of sorts. And most of those people who are in Fundamentals are eager to learn, gain experience and figure out exactly what this CrossFit thing is all about. We understand theres a lot to it, it gets confusing and chaotic at times. Part of the game, but also why its so great - theres SO much to do and SO much to learn!
In Fundamentals as the coaches are teaching you new movements, they go through the different levels and many standards of movements. We understand that there are many different capability levels coming in to us, and we always scale and modify to meet everyones abilities. However, the goal is to do what the coach is instructing to the best of YOUR ability. Going to depth if you can, having full extension where needed in certain movements if you can, throwing the ball to the right height, lifting mechanically well etc.
Although not everyone is able to at the beginning or a year later, those are the GOALS. To move well, to meet standards that create a technically and mechanically sound movement across the board so that each person can gain the full benefit of said movements.
So, what the hell happens when people (who are capable), go from squatting full depth to squatting 3/4 depth, choose to only get their chin over the bar 'sometimes', decide they don't feel like extending their hips at the top of a box because it seems faster - amongst other things.
But really, why does this happen?
As a coach and an athlete, I completely understand in the heat of the moment you may not realize it or feel the incorrectness of your movement from time to time - but thats the key - from time to time. When these things start happening all the time, theres evidently something thats broken down. When something breaks down, benefits are not gained and sometimes previous gains are even lost.
This is one of the great things about the Open and our Friday Night Lights events - you have a judge! That judge is not just there to count your reps and cheer for you, they are there to hold you accountable to the movement standards. These aren't standards that CrossFit just made up and threw out there (okay sometimes it is), or that the coaches just feel like reinforcing so we can see people struggle. They are put in place so that each and every person can gain the full benefit of the movement and its direct impact it is meant to have on your body, that you are working so hard on!
We want you to succeed, we want you to reach those goals and set new ones knowing you CAN do it! The Open is a great proving grounds for hitting those "firsts" as well. Reaching that first pull up, a new snatch PR, getting double-unders - so many things happen when its the heat of the open, and we LOVE seeing it! We understand regular classes don't always give you that same adrenaline and push - but what it does give is the realization that you are capable!
When we program certain movements, pair movements together in a workout, reiterate standards and proper mechanics we are doing it for YOUR benefit, not for the sake of hearing our own voices. It is our job to reiterate a thousand times that yes your chin must go over the bar - if you want to get the full benefit of a pull up movement. You must squat below parallel (if you are capable at the time), to gain the full benefit of a squat movement. You see where Im going with this?
So, for those of you who ask your coach things like "Why am I not getting better at pull ups? Ive been doing this for X long but Im not getting any better!" .... Lets look at the big picture and an honest break down of how often you follow through with the instruction of the coach.
A few HONEST questions to ask yourself when evaluating progress and possible road blocks you're facing:
- Are you in fact listening to the coaches advice, or choosing to do what you feel like that day?
- When a coach gives you options to scale a movement, are you choosing one of those options or making your own up?
- When a coach reminds you to either get depth in squat movements, full extension with your arms overhead or on a box in box jumps, is your chin going over the bar in pull ups, is your chest to the ground on push ups ..... are you actually doing it every time, or only when the coach is there watching? (We still see you even when were not looking directly at you!)
- Are you doing all the reps on the board or in the workout you are given? Really? Or are you doing most of them and moving on when things get too tough? (Yes, we count too - we're sneaky like that)
- Are you coming to mobility or are you spending some time before and after classes or at home mobilizing and working on your range of motion when a coach has explained its benefits to your specific limitations? (Tim's like Santa, he knows)
We are here to help you progress, everyday, in every way we possibly can. But we cannot force you to follow through with our advice and our instructions.
Now, if you are answering YES to all of the above and things still aren't lining up - then come and speak to a coach about what other options we have to help you with your progress!
But, before you ask why you aren't progressing the way you want.... before you tell a coach its just not working for you... or before you decide to throw your hands up and quit - ask yourself those honest questions, and lets see what we can do.
CrossFit is not all about coming in for a great workout and getting a bad ass body and if that doesn't happen then clearly CrossFit doesn't work! Its about creating an atmosphere of raw honest truth, being held accountable to yourself inside and outside the gym, and learning to develop as a person through these challenges. Yes, you can take the easy way out of learning how to do things properly and just cruise through workouts .... or, you can face the challenges and reach your goals.
The choice is always up to you.