So you want to get better at Crossfit? Read these top 10 tips and start improving today.
1. Turn Up & Consistently
This may sound like pretty obvious advice but you’d be surprised at how many people consistently skip training sessions and then wonder why they aren’t seeing the improvements in their lifts or WOD times that that they were hoping for.
I was guilty of this myself, I’d be so easily swayed by drinks with friends in the evening or too quick to give into laziness and stay in bed In favour of early morning training.
This isn’t to say that you need to stop socialising or having a lie in, but you need to be consistent if you want to see improvement. Try coming up with a set routine of when you train and then book social events around those days and be realistic…. if you’re a social butterfly Friday night might not be the best time to try and train.
2. Put in Maximum Effort
If you want to get better at Crossfit you not only need to be committed to turning up, you need to be committed while you’re there, putting in maximum effort during each training session. It doesn’t matter how much you can lift or how fast you are, if you aren’t pushing yourself and putting the effort in you’re not going to improve.
3. Mobility, Mobility, Mobility
If you want to improve your Olympic lifting you’re going to need to work on your mobility. You can get to a certain level with your lifting quite quickly, but to improve that last 30% you need to mobilise. For men the issue comes usually in shoulder and hip mobility. Work on your mobility before and after training.
4. Don’t Cherry Pick your WODs or workouts
As I mentioned in point 1 if you want to get better at Crossfit you need to be consistent with your training and yes that includes your weaknesses too. There can be a tendency (especially with beginners) to cherry pick your workouts when you see the programming based on your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re consistently skipping workouts that you dread then you’re never going to see improvement in those areas and reach your goals. Which leads perfectly into…
5 . Work at your weaknesses.
The only way to overcome weaknesses is to work at them and if you work hard at them you will see improvement. Hey, if you really smash them they may even turn them into a strength. Improving your weak areas will make you a more rounded athlete and a better crossfitter.
6. Lift Heavy and Fail
In your strength training failure should not be seen as a bad thing. In order to grow stronger and improve you need to be constantly testing and pushing yourself. If you are constantly lifting within your comfort zone you are not challenging yourself, not working hard enough and as a result not improving as much as you could be.
So don’t be afraid and be prepared to fail, there’s always next time.
7. Scale When You Need To
Leave your ego at the door, don’t be too proud to not complete a workout at RX. Scaling allows you to attain the same benefit from a workout as someone that can lift twice as much as you.
Scaling is there to ensure you complete the workout as it was intended. For example if the workout was designed for you to keep a sustained pace and a high intensity throughout yet you couldn’t do that because you decided to go RX then you are not completing the workout as it was meant and not getting the full benefit.
8. Don’t overtrain
Don’t try and train every day, Crossfit is intense and taxing on the body and as a result you need to give yourself adequate recovery time and rest. This is the same in all physically taxing sports, overtraining leads to decreased performance and risk of injury.
So take rest days! Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule about the number of rest days you should be taking as this differs from person to person. What’s the right amount of rest for me is likely not the same as it is for you, but there are signs of overtraining that you need to look out for: unusual levels of tiredness and fatigue during the day; decreased performance during your workouts (maybe you’re not hitting your 1RMs, or experiencing slower WOD times); feeling irritable; unusually high muscle soreness.
For beginners it’s a good idea to start Crossfit at around 2-3 days per week then slowly increase the number of days as you improve.
Nutrition is key to improving at crossfit, if you’re not eating enough food you won’t have enough energy to support your training and if you aren’t eating the right sorts of food you won’t be feeding your body with the necessary to support your recovery and growth.
Popular diets in the Crossfit world include Paleo, primal and zone which I encourage you to find out more about.
It is up to you how strict you want to be with your nutrition, if you’re looking to be really strict I would highly recommend giving one of the above ago, or even a cross between two of the above. However if this is the first time you are re-evaluating your diet and you don’t want to give yourself a complete shock to the system a good way to start would be to increase your protein intake from lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish; eat lots of vegetables; eat some fruits (as these are higher in sugar than vegetables); get more of your fats from monounsaturated fat and less from saturated fat; reduce your intake of high glycemic carbohydrates (those that raise blood sugar too rapidly) such as white rice; white bread; potatoes; sweets and sugary drinks; in favour of lower glycemic alternatives such as brown bread, sweet potatoes and vegetables.
Crossfit.com recommends starting your crossfit journey by splitting your calories between the following: 30% Protein, 40% Carbs & 30% Fats.
10. Keep Track
You need to be monitoring your performance, every time you fail to record your results you’re losing valuable data that will allow you to keep better track of your performance. It’s very likely you’re already seeing improvements and if you’re not recording your stats it’s going to be difficult to see exactly where those improvements are being made.
Get yourself a log book, download a WOD app, if your box is lucky enough to be on Wodify then this is a fantastic system that allows you to monitor your performance in your box, via your computer and by app.