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How to become better at CrossFit



Picture this: You have been doing CrossFit for more than a year but you still can’t do handstand push ups and need 10 minutes to finish the workout Fran, if this is you then hopefully you’ll get a better understanding on how to get better at CrossFit by reading this post!


As a coach it is our duty to educate people on how to become fitter, stronger and healthier. Every athlete has different goals and it’s our mission to help you reach your goals by sharing knowledge on how to get there step by step.


The most frequently asked question by athletes is how to become better at everything…

If you still have a full spreadsheet of all the things you want to get better at this year, then I would suggest to read the blog about: How to set GOALS and CRUSH them.


When we want to get better at CrossFit we’ll need to start looking at the foundation. There is something that is called the Theoretical Hierarchy of Development (see image below).

THEORETICAL HIERARCHY OF DEVELOPMENT

The theory shows us how to develop ourselves as athletes and gives guidance on where we need to work on.


It all begins with NUTRITION and this forms the foundation to any activity we do. Without good, healthy and balanced nutrition we simply can’t expect our body to perform at its best. Nutrition is often a topic which most athletes don’t take a look at because of it’s “complexity” or the changes they have to make in their daily habits. Nevertheless it is a topic which we need to address and should not ignore due to it’s importance.


This blog is not about nutrition so we won’t get into details on how to balance your diet but for now we’ll just stick with the traditional CrossFit description:


Eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

After focusing on our nutrition we need to take a look at our METABOLIC CONDITIONING a.k.a. Cardio. Can you run a 5K within 25/30 minutes but can you also sprint 200m within 1 minute? If you can then you’ll need to understand that conditioning is not only about running/moving on a moderate pace for a very long time or running/moving really fast for a short amount of time, but we’ll need to be able to recover from it as well. We can’t expect the body to sustain different forms of intensity when we can’t recover from it.


Next up we’ll need to take a look out our GYMNASTIC skills and performance. We’ll need to be able to move our own body weight first before adding extra load. Our muscles and ligaments need to get strong and used to the movements and intensity we do during workouts. If we put on extra load when the body is not ready we might do it harm and get injured when repeated over and over again. That's why it is so important to gain strength by performing strict movements first before moving on to kipping variations.


When our body is ready to take the next step we need to add load and focus on our WEIGHTLIFTING & Throwing skills. By weightlifting we mean moving extra load with our body, not only performing the Olympic lifts (snatch and Clean & Jerk). The goal is to move large loads over long distances as quickly as possible. This varies from thrusters like in the workout Fran or carrying heavy dumbbells for 1600m and anything in between and beyond. By adding load we need to be aware that we slowly introduce our body to the extra load, so that it can get stronger and get used to it. Again here if we put on extra load when the body is not ready we might do it harm and get injured when repeated over and over again.


At the top of the hierarchy you can find SPORT which stands for the execution of movement in a fantastic competitive atmosphere, similar like a soccer or judo match. If we use soccer as an example then the Saturday soccer game day is a good representation of the execution of sport. We should not forget that with soccer we practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get the best outcome on the Saturday game day. A lot of CrossFit athletes see the daily WOD as a game day, but forget that it is practice where we can try and learn new things so we can progress and get better at CrossFit.


So if we break things down hopefully it’s getting clear that it will take a lot of time and hard work before we’ll see results. That’s why it’s good to keep track of your progress and regularly test and write down results. Make sure you find out on which part of the Theoretical Hierarchy of Development you lack at and work on your weaknesses. In the end it’s the process which is the fun part.


Unfortunately there is no secret ingredient to becoming better at CrossFit, just thoughtful hard work, determination and discipline which are character traits of a true CrossFitter.

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