There are numerous ways to improve our performance in all CrossFit! The higher skilled the movement is, the longer the journey to mastering it will be. With simpler movements, the journey might be clearer and less convoluted, (but not always necessarily easier 🙂 )
Improving our performance in CrossFit can be done by…
- Increasing our efficiency (efficiency beats hard work when hard work is inefficient)
- Increasing our physical abilities (strength, endurance)
- Increasing our mental toughness (state of mind)
“Setting A Standard” To Help Improve Our Performance
A great example of this is the amazing “Wall Ball”. Imagine every time picking up a wall ball, you have a minimum standard of 15 reps that you know you’ll perform – regardless of fatigue, what other movements it’s paired with, etc. Those minimum 15 WB are your “personal rep standard”. You don’t decide ‘in the moment’ of the wod, this is not debatable. 15 is your minimum.
Wall balls are not everyone’s favorites, you might be vertically challenged, you might have long femurs, you might have bad ankle mobility… Don’t let these excuses creep in to corrupt your personal rep standard. You can improve your performance by having that mental strength, to make sure that you hit those minimum of 15 reps. You don’t need to necessarily build much strength to throw your 8 or 14 pound WB, however you need to make a CHOICE, be more mentally stringent, before you pick up that ball.
When first starting out, that ‘personal rep standard’ number might be 10, but you get the idea. That number will change depending on the reps, the movement, the weight etc. Have a plan.
Plan A or Plan B or C, D ,E(xcuses)…?
Setting a standard and having a CLEAR EXPECTATION is a powerful tool in fitness because it creates clarity on action and options. Have you heard of that saying, “fail to plan, then you plan to fail?” Have your plan A, and you’ll be good to go. Don’t let a plan B creep in, that becomes an excuse, and then plan A crumbles and then we’re down to single wall balls and hating life. Eventually, when you successfully meet Plan A enough times, it becomes second nature and you’ll be kicking goals!
Don’t Make A Decision On The Run!
When possible and appropriate, make your decision before you start something. For example:
- I will maintain an RPM of 60 on the bike this interval ( if you make this choice mid workout, that RPM is likely to be much less)
- I will not put the bar down between cleans and shoulder to overhead
- I will stick to my original game plan of 15-12-9 unbroken reps
Yes of course, there’s room for being flexible and adaptable and to change a game plan in the middle of a workout…but just be mindful, you don’t want that to become your new habit. As you use this tactic to improve our performance, you must be willing to sacrifice other areas where you might have pushed harder. It may mean taking a longer transition between exercises, or changing a gameplan on another station to allow for the extra effort (mental and physical) to stick to the new standard you’re building. Be patient.
If you always go into workouts, with a “I’ll see how it goes once I get started,”– attitude, I promise, you’ll always leave something in the tank, or the complete opposite, you’ll redline within the first few minutes. Shit will always feel hard and uncomfortable. You will rarely feel GREAT about maintaining your goal pace, your unbroken reps, or sticking to your gameplan mid-workout. This is why we set it before the wod starts. It’s unlikely that mid workout, when we’re in the hurt locker, that we’ll set a good and realistic plan. So if plan A is the only path we’re mentally allowing ourselves, then there’s no choice to be made; Only action to be taken.
Again, if you’re new, talk to your coach. They have the experience to help you set your goals. They can help you scale the workout according to you and your capabilities and they will give you the best game plan for your workout.
In a nutshell…
Self-reflect and determine – what’s your rep standard for wall balls? There might be another movement in the gym that you have clearly identified for yourself and mentally and physically prepared to complete in a set volume or at a certain pace. It might be 10 burpees in 40 seconds, 10 hang power cleans unbroken, 60 RPM on the bike or a 1.50/500m pace on the rower… Whatever it is, have your plan ready!
Plan, and watch your weaknesses become your strengths!