Want to improve at CrossFit? You need to fail more. Huh?
When it comes to CrossFit and Functional Training we all have our weaknesses. Whether it’s handstand push ups, squat snatch, or something else, there is an exercise where you need serious improvement (hit this link to see 2010 CrossFit Games competitor Jason Khalipa struggle with the squat snatch ouch!). How do you breakthrough these barriers? Fail more.
Since WODs tend to be competitive in nature, most of us take the short term reward provided by muscling through our weakpoints with sloppy form and inefficiency over the long term benefit provided by improving our form (but scoring a slower time in a particular WOD). Dave Lipson, who placed 14th at the 2008 CrossFit Games, said the following about his own training during a recent CrossFit Radio podcast:
“I need to spend more time failing and I think that’s a good formula for anyone who’s trying to improve on their weaknesses. Spend time failing and learn how to succeed in the things you fail at.”
The bottom line is you need to take the short term hit and focus on your weakness, regardless of the potential hit to your pride.
If you’re a trainer or coach this means you need to create programming that forces/rewards all your athletes for improving on weaknesses. Whether it’s creating time at the beginning of a WOD to focus on skill development or creating a workout where perfect form on every rep is the goal as opposed to racing against the clock.
If you’re an athlete, you need to focus on the long term goal of eliminating (rather than masking) a particular weakness. This may mean performing a workout as “not Rx” (using a reduced weight, or perhaps reduced reps) so you can focus on your weakness.
Dave Lipson’s interview in CrossFit Radio Episode 139
Image courtesy of Amber Karnes