By Michael Taggart
Just like that the 2018 CrossFit Open has come and gone.
The past five weeks have been exciting, action-packed, and definitely challenging. We came together as a community to cheer each other on, reach for new heights, push each other to places we have never been pushed to. All of this has lead to a lot of firsts, first RX workout, first HSPU, and first pull-up to name just a few. The open does a great job of pushing us to and past our limits. It makes us push harder than we ever have in front of our peers and the results were impressive. However, it also does, maybe even a better job, of showing us what we aren’t as good at and what we need to work on such as Muscle Ups and Double Unders. Many of us made promises that next year will be different, next year our weaknesses will be strengths, that next year will be better, but the most important question to ask ourselves is, how?
Far too often CrossFit members fall into what I like to call the CrossFit Open Hangover. During The Open everything is great, motivation is through the roof, and the desire to improve is at an all time high. But how many of us make a concrete plan to attack those weaknesses over the next year? Do we just mindlessly go to open gym and jump on the rings, or do we just do 1,000’s of cleans in hopes our technique will magically change? Having over a year to improve seems like we have all the time in the world, but the reality is that the 2019 Open will be here before you know it and you don’t want your weakness staring you back in the face and feeling like you haven’t improved since last year. Luckily, here are a few tips that can help us beat the CrossFit Hangover and make sure that 2019 is our best Open season yet!
First, we need to identify what our weakness was. Is it strength related, where we just need to focus on strength and maybe jump on a squat cycle? Is it skill related, where we need to break down more complex movements into smaller more manageable drills such as muscle up transitions or strict ring dips? And lastly, one that I have struggled with over the majority of my time within CrossFit is it a mobility/ positioning problem where we need to drastically take down the weight, fix muscular imbalances and become competent with an empty barbell before worrying about how much weight is on the bar i.e.. remove our egos and start from scratch! Its pretty likely we already know the answer to these questions but acknowledging it and understanding why we struggle with something will help us so much more in the long run as to how to fix the problem. And if you are not sure, ask one of the coaches! That is why we are here, to help you guys get better!
Next, luckily for you guys there is a quick and easy way to work towards your goals by simply reading a workout and attacking it as hard as you can! What I am referring to are our awesome Auxiliary Boards! Did some of the longer AMRAPs take a toll on your lungs and breathing? Then 1-2x per week pick one of the rowing intervals and get after it! Struggling with pullups or handstand pushups? Jump on one of the gymnastic workouts and start building up that foundation of pure strength before worrying about the skill of the kip! And lastly, need to improve your strength then the midline board is where you should start! Every movement we perform in CrossFit follows the “Core to Extremity” principle, which simply put means if you don’t have a strong core you wont live up to your potential. We need a strong midline to efficiently and safely perform these movements and to maximize the weights we can lift! And if you don’t know where to start, I know I sound like a broken record already, but ask the coaches!
Which brings me to my next point, the coaches. At Brazen and Black House all of your coaches are here for you! We want to teach you new skills, point you in the right direction, and cheer you on when you go to that dark place in a workout! Never be afraid to ask questions, even ask the same question to multiple coaches. We all come from different backgrounds and educations and have a different viewpoint to offer. Your coaches are teachers, former collegiate athletes, physical therapists, Regional level athletes, and have been doing CrossFit for over 10+ years. Take advantage of the different backgrounds and the prospective each of these coaches have to offer. Maybe its just a choice of wording a cue a little differently that helps something click! At open gym ask coaches to help you work on a new skill like double unders instead of just modifying every workout to plate hops! We are there for you guys and want to be apart of the process of getting you to achieve your goals!
My last tip to help avoid the CrossFit Hangover is to take some time for self-reflection. Ask yourself if your goals and aspirations coincide with the work you are willing to put in. Do you come in everyday just 5-10 minutes early to mobilize before the workout, give the workout (no matter what it is) 100%, and then stay 5-10 minutes after for some quick yet super beneficial auxiliary work? The greatest thing about The Open is that there is no hiding. I once heard someone say that in The Open there is no could’ve would’ve, etc. either you have put in the work and are able to showcase your skills or you have not. And this isn’t meant to say that just because someone placed higher than you on the leaderboard that you haven’t put in hard work, but to look at your past scores and see if you have improved yourself. It’s the small changes that you take every day over the next year that will help make 2019 your best Open yet. Each day take that small step closer to your goal and next year when you are awaiting 19.1 there isn’t that sense of “please don’t say ____,” but rather
“BRING IT ON!”
I hope some of these tips and tricks help you guys stay on course throughout the next year and remember if you need help just ask! Until then just keep working hard and before you know it we’ll be hearing Dave Castro say 3, 2, 1 Go!