I am coming up on my 6 year CrossFitversary and one thing I know for sure is that I have not perfected it. At all. I know there are so many tips and tricks out there for how to have optimal workouts that do not even necessarily have to do with actually learning the “how” in movements and skills. I am sharing with you 7 common rookie mistakes that we all have made or will make at some point. Let’s change that shall we?
- CrossFit should never get “easier”.
You may improve at a skill like pull-ups or double unders. You may be able to increase the load you lift, but that does not mean CrossFit gets “easier”. It means YOU get STRONGER, and so you need to always be scaling your workouts UP and challenging yourself.
- Ditch those running shoes when you walk into a box.
You would not wear weight lifting shoes to go running so why would you wear running shoes to lift weights? They just are not constructed to be meant for what happens inside a box. I have seen people come in running shoes that I am convinced would actually fly them to the moon.
I found this article (which I recommend reading in full for more details) http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/heres-why-you-should-never-lift-heavy-running-shoes.
There is a key point made in the article, “Running shoes and weightlifting shoes are on opposite ends of the footwear spectrum, and those differences impact your performance. The most basic—and most important, when it comes to lifting—is that running shoes are cushiony, while lifting shoes are hard.”
- Not taking advantage of an extra few minutes to stretch.
I see this often and it makes me a little nutty. Athletes arrive a few minutes early to a class, and just sit around or socialize. Stop that! Stretch and work on mobility. Even those 2 or 3 minutes of stretching can make a world of difference (and your body will thank you and even perform better).
- Focusing on going heavy instead of moving well.
Guys (and girls) I get it, your egos may suffer a bit at the beginning. A guy at 180 pounds may be lifting less than a 120 pound female. And that might hurt a bit. IT IS OK. That will pass. You’ll get stronger faster if you actually take the time to learn how to do movements correctly.
And for those who have been doing this CrossFit thing longer, you are not exempt from this reminder. I always say it is better to go lighter and have good form than go heavy and look like an a-hole.
- Mtyh: The strongest CrossFitters are those who have been doing it the longest.
Newbies sometimes think that the number of years someone has been doing CrossFit automatically puts them at the same level as others with the same tenure. For instance, everyone at the 1 year mark should be able to do strict pull-ups, handstand push ups, and Fran under 5 minutes.
Years doing CrossFit is the not the defining factor for how strong someone might be. This would be fake news.
Yes, years may equate to being more proficient or have better form, but it is not universal. In fact, so many people when they start, unlike my point in #4, focus so much on going heavy that they end up hitting a plateau. Because their form is no bueno they aren’t going to get any stronger. And often leads to injury (take it from me) which sidelines people, setting them back a bit.
My point is this. When you start CrossFit, do not worry about how long you’ve been doing it or how long your boxmates have. Or what you “should” be able to do. Everyone has different time frames and all you should do is focus on yours. That is how you will keep kicking ass. And if you do feel like you are not where you want to be, then use that to light a fire under your ass to set and hit some goals.
- “It looks easy on paper.”
If you ever say this, then it is likely you are going to eat those words. Even basic movements on paper might look easy peasy until you try to do them for time or max reps. Here is a workout I did a few months back that on paper, a lot of people underestimated how hard it would be because the weights were not heavy (and by not heavy, cleans in particular, were scaled downed significantly compared to the weights that they typically are for RX workouts).
Seven Rounds For Time:
15 Kettlebell Swings 1.5 pood/1 pood
15 Power Cleans 95#/65#
15 Box Jumps 24”/20”
When you go to a box that has solid programming, you learn to TRUST it. In a workout like the one above, there was a method behind it. While the weight was light (and box jumps low), it still was a lot of volume.
And when you do have those rare days that are really as easy as they are on paper, trust that it is part of a plan. We all need days where we do not go all out, and it will show in good programming. They make allowances for that to help us recover (and most likely get our money’s worth the next day).
- Always CrossFit with the same people.
When you find the people who really push you to workout, yes, they are going to 100 percent keep you coming back. I get that. I mean I am loyal to my 6 am peops because we just have an established vibe and support system happening.
And I get that people often pick a consistent class time based on logistics and schedule. For shits and giggles though, every now and then, try a different class. Or if you are always in the same class and you tend to pair off with the same person, try mixing it up. Share a rack with someone different. Do a partner workout with the person you spend the least amount of time with.
You may be surprised and learn something new from someone different or find you push yourself harder. Maybe you always workout with someone at your same level. Maybe though you could workout with someone who is stronger or faster than you. You will be surprised at how that energy will push YOU to do that much more.
Mix it up. Get out of your routine and comfort zone with who you workout with. As CrossFitters we might be beasts, but we won’t bite.
Ok my CrossFit friends. Change perspective a bit, because really that is all that these 7 are asking of you. And go get it.