When you first start CrossFit, chances are you went through a foundations program and then a month later got your first crack at classes. The typical path is that you struggled a little with everything but slowly started to figure it out. Next thing you know you were moving through classes like you’d been doing it for years and hitting PR’s almost every time you show up. Then out of nowhere it seems like your last PR was weeks, maybe even months ago. You start self-doubting, wondering if all the work you’re putting in is really worth it.
Now what? What do I do? Is this even worth it? Chances are you are PRing, just not in the way you’re thinking of.
This is important because we just went through a performance week and undoubtedly some of you hit PR’s and some did not. If you’ve been doing this long enough you’ve been there. Following the same programming as everybody else, showing up everyday but for some reason everybody else is crushing PR’s and you’ve only manage to hit your old 1 RM or maybe not even come close.
With last week being a holiday week, we used it as a transition into a new cycle for this week. So…...where do you go from here? I can speak from experience when I say chances are you’re body was ready for a PR but your mind wasn’t.
I say this because I spent a long time at my last front squat PR even though my clean was going up, my snatch was going up and my front squat volume was go up. However, my 1 RM wouldn’t waiver. Despite the attempt to improve it on multiple occasions. I believe the reason why I recently hit a new PR was not because I suddenly got stronger but because I reminded myself that there are more ways to PR than by just added weight to the barbell.
I think we tend to focus on adding weight because it’s the easiest to track or pay attention to. However, how often is your 1 RM that important in CrossFit? Therein lies the the success that you should focus on.
You hit your first muscle up but you bicycle kicked your way up and your dip out took over 5 seconds to get to the top or you did three butterfly pull ups but felt like a fish out of water. Well months later muscle memory, drills, and practice start to take over and everything becomes a little more fluid. Maybe you’re still only able to do 1 muscle up but you can do one every 15 seconds instead of 3 minutes, it’s nice and fluid and everything looks uniform or perhaps those butterfly pull ups start to look more like what you’re watching during regionals. This should also be celebrated so bust out that champaign.
So you hit a 205# snatch but it hasn’t happened again since. At this point you’re starting to wonder if it even happened at all. However, I bet you’ve tried to hit 205# a bunch of times since the first time, right? Well, when you worked up the first time did you hit all the weights leading up to it? Maybe you did, maybe it was a perfect day and the stars aligned for you to never miss. However, before that, how often did you hit 185# or 195#? Now you’re not even thinking about it but you consistently hit 185# or 195# every time you walk up to the barbell. This is a HUGE success. Being able to hit up to your 90% or 95% of your 1 RM consistently is not something that comes easy and should be celebrated.
Max Reps or Time
After adding weight to the barbell this is the next most celebrated accomplishment but is actually third when it comes to the process. It’s easy to see if you crushed Fran by 1 minute or did 21 unbroken thrusters instead of your usual 15. These are always awesome and great for a daily boost but usually only come after technique and consistency improve.
Last in the list should be adding weight to the bar even though it’s usually what we focus on first. They’re easily measurable and tend to distract from everything else. When the numbers go up we get happy and everyone around can see that you’re crushing the old you.
While each of these are important to celebrate, they are also closely intertwined. When you improve on technique it will lead to being more consistent which tends to improve increase your unbroken reps or lower your time in workouts which will lastly lead to more weight. Regardless of where you are in your current training you should remember that it’s important to focus on the journey and not the destination as it will always change as you grow and a new journey starts today.