For our entire lives we’ve heard that practice makes perfect. There’s a whole lot of truth to that but, I’d like to add perfect to it. Perfect practice makes perfect.
As CrossFit athletes we are strongly pushed to compete. We are pushed to compete with other as well as ourselves.
What I’d like to ask you to do though is this:
Step back for a moment and ask yourself why you started CrossFit.
What is your why?
For most of us, our why is to avoid the nursing home as long as we possible and to be able to run around and chase our kids or grand kids. To be the healthiest version of ourselves. To move without pain. To be strong and fast and agile.
What I’ve seen in my years of being a CrossFit coach and athlete is that we all get caught up in the competition side of CrossFit and forget that we are training to be better at life and not to be the fastest and strongest at all cost.
Sometimes, most times, we need to slow down a little and focus. Focus on perfect movement. Whether that movement is running, rowing, gymnastics, weightlifting, we need to focus on being the best at whatever movement we are doing.
I’ll give some examples of how I’ve used the “take a step back” approach in my own CrossFit journey. A couple of these were because of an injury that forced me to adapt but, the process is the same none-the-less.
A shoulder injury forced me to go lighter on my press movements and stop kipping my regular pull-ups. What it made me was better at both movements. I became stronger in my strict pull-ups which in turn led to better kipping pull-ups when I could once again kip. I became faster in my push press and push-jerk which in turn made me better at both of those when I could add heavier weights.
A second injury was a back injury. This injury forced me to take my deadlift down by ½ and essentially start over. With that though, I was able to really focus on form as well as the eccentric, or down, phase of the lift. Now my deadlift is the strongest it’s EVER been.
Another example, no injury involved here, was my knees to elbow and toes to bar. I began practicing my kip and finally got to where I could do a few. So in the workouts I would force myself to string a couple together vs. just going to strict when I was tired. Of course this required more rest and slowed me down but, it greatly improved my movement. Now, I can string about 15 together on a good day. I started with 2-3! I’d say the practice worked. Did it cost me some time? Sure but, it made me better.
My point with all of this is, take a moment and consider your why? Then, train that way. Train with perfect practice. Focus on improving every time you walk into the box. In the long run you’ll be better for it.