Three Keys to Improving at CrossFit

Improving your health through CrossFit is a long term commitment. Like all forms of fitness, CrossFit takes consistency and practice to get it right. A great coach can go a long way to helping you make the right decisions early on. But with the adrenaline flowing and loud music pumping, even the best intentioned CrossFit athlete can make the mistake of prioritizing intensity over proper mechanics and rigorous consistency.

And yes, when you step into our gym… we expect a lot. We are going to push you hard in our CrossFit Classes. But we are going to insist you do every rep correctly, and we are going to make sure you can execute that proper technique consistently.

Do we Want you to Do it Right or Do it Fast? Yes.

More specifically, we want you to build flawless Mechanics because power, efficiency, and safety come from flawless mechanics. Practice your technique so have rigorous Consistency in every single rep. When you can achieve both, then we want you to push Intensity to your maximum threshold.

CrossFit Defined

CrossFit is constantly varied functional movement at high intensity. The goal of CrossFit is to develop increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. By design, CrossFit improves your health and slingshots your performance.

CrossFit Diet

The Foundation of CrossFit is a quality diet. In 100 words, it’s as simple as eating meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar while keeping intake to levels that support exercise but not body fat is a dietary formula for elite levels of fitness.1 Take the right supplements, and determine your caloric needs, and lock it in every day. Nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit and we offer Nutrition Lab and the Weight Loss Challenge to educate you and keep you motivated to improve.

CrossFit Programming

CrossFit’s formula for exercise is similarly elegant, practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean & jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand and holds. Bike, run, jump rope, row, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.2

CrossFit is Difficult by Design

CrossFit incorporates technically demanding movements because these are the movements that provide the greatest fitness benefit. We don’t use machine for squats, we don’t use ellipticals to replace running, and we certainly don’t have a dip machine when we have rings. We don’t dilute CrossFit down to make it easier. We teach you from the ground-up in CrossFit OnRamp how to perform these movements with sound mechanics, precision consistency, and lightning intensity. It is this process of training your body to perform these movements which forever changes you for the better. We cannot make easier and expect the same results. But we can teach you how to build the strength and neural competency to master these exercises.

Time Domain

Whatever the workout type (weightlifting, gymnastics, or monostructural – running / biking) – we’ll do it hard and fast. And we’ll do it for long durations, medium durations, and sprints in as many combinations and variations as we can conceive. That is the formula that Greg Glassman (our founder) laid down 20+ years ago. And is the time-tested formula that works for athletes of all ages.

Movement Quality is King

It’s Mechanics before Consistency, and Consistency before Intensity for a reason.
Safety. But what is Intensity in a CrossFit Workout?

  • It’s the weight on a barbell clean;
  • It’s the scaling for the pull-up;
  • It’s the height on the box jump;
  • It’s how fast one can move with sound mechanics & precision consistency under maximal effort.

The Athlete That Prioritizes Movement Quality Before Intensity Always Wins in the End. We’ve been coaching CrossFit for a long time. We’ve seen thousands of members come and go. The ones that have made the most improvement invariably have the best technique. And they built that technique by prioritizing mechanics over intensity.

The Tale of Two Elizabeths

Elizabeth is one our benchmark workouts. It’s 21 barbell cleans + 21 Ring Dips, 15 barbell cleans + 15 ring dips, 9 barbell cleans + 9 ring dips.

For Time: 21-15-9

  • Barbell Power Cleans 135lbs ♂ /95lbs ♀
  • Ring Dips

Meet Anne — Our First Athlete

Anne scales to a lighter weight on the clean so that she can maintain her mechanics on the second pull. When she reaches exhaustion, she rests until she performs the exercise safely. She scales the ring dips to a banded ring dip, even though she can get a few unassisted ones completely correctly. Using the band allows her to complete full range of motion and keep the rings steady throughout the workout. She pushes hard and fast through the workout, but wasn’t able to beat her personal best this time around.

Anne is CrossFitting the right way. She is prioritizing the principles of mechanics and consistency before intensity. Even though her performance today didn’t exceed her personal best, she is following the CrossFit prescription. Her adherence to the CrossFit prescription will maximize her improvements in her fitness and health in the long run.

Meet Bob — Our Second Athlete

Bob performs the workout as prescribed using the Rx weights. As he fatigues, his elbows drop on the catch in the barbell cleans forcing him to decelerate the bar with his wrists. He also is unable to maintain spinal extension on the first pull of the clean after the second round. This leads him to pull the bar with a rounded back on some of the last reps.

Confident in his ability to complete unassisted ring dips (and against the advice of his coach) he proceeds to Rx the ring dips as well. His first few reps start out strong, but his form quickly suffers. His depth starts to deteriorate and loses the ability to maintain his shoulder positioning throughout the press.

But, Bob is no quitter. He gives it his best effort and is rewarded with a PR — knocking off 10 seconds from his personal best.

Bob has strayed from the CrossFit methodology. He has prioritized intensity over mechanics and consistency. His overconfidence in his abilities causes him to do partial range of motion in the ring dips. His lack of consistency in the clean leads him to execute some faulty reps on the clean.

Cheating range of motion to improve your overall time only hurts Bob in the end. His 10 second P/R with reduced range of motion isn’t a true personal record.

Bob having a sore back from the cleans decides to take two days off to recover. Anne though is properly recovered and shows up to class the next day.

Athletes Like Anne Outlast and Surpass Athletes Like Bob

Athletes like Bob become frustrated with their lack of performance, constant joint pain, and grow weary of listening to their coach’s suggestions about scaling. Athletes like Bob do not CrossFit very long. Whereas athletes like Anne continues to improve for years. The 45-year-old Anne’s in our gym outshine the 25 year old Bob’s everyday of the week.

Work smarter, not harder. Leave your ego at the door, do the exercises correctly, prioritize full range of motion, execute correct sequencing, and pursue proper mechanics. Listen to your coach. It’s our job to protect you and help you choose the best scaling for your workout. Ultimately, it’s your decision, but we always have your best interests in mind. Athletes that practice the basics before progressing to more challenging skills invariably improve faster.

CrossFit Champions train this way — you should too.

  1. CrossFit Level 1 Manual
  2. CrossFit Level 1 Manual
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