Why you need to stop doing CrossFit to get better at CrossFit

There are two types of Crossfitters – the first type, where most people land, is “I do CrossFit to be healthy and/or look good naked.” The second type is a complete different and dark dark universe filled with endless hours of lifting heavy ass weights, ensuring your toes are pointed on your gymnastics training, and training your mind to endure the hard work. If you fall into the first category, then this article does not pertain to you. You keep doing what you are doing and lookin’ good doin’ it! But if you aspire to be the best at exercising then continue reading.

I remember a few years back. At the time, I had already been doing five or so years of Crossfit. My friend and I had the silly notion that we were on the cusp of making it into regionals. We trained our asses off that year, did multiple lifting programs, focused on gymnastics and made sure our cardio was “open ready”. That year my numbers were:

  1. Deadlift: 405
  2. Back squat: 325
  3. Clean and jerk: 275
  4. Snatch: 215
  5. Fran: 3:30
  6. Grace: 2:30
  7. Max pull ups: 45

Looking back, those numbers are still respectable for a the average human. But man, we were wrong about being close to making it to regionals. Those numbers landed me at 6,780th place. Not exactly the results I had hoped for. My buddy didn’t do much better as he had to pull out of the competition due to injury. It was about that time when a study of the statistical analysis came out that broke down athletes that made it to regionals by the numbers, specifically the bottom 3% of athletes. What they found was eye opening and changed they way I and many people approached the sport of Crossfit. These were their numbers to the best of my recollection:

  1. Deadlift: 505
  2. Back squat: 450
  3. Clean and jerk: 335
  4. Snatch:275
  5. Fran: 2:30
  6. Grace: 1:36
  7. Max pull ups: 75

These numbers represented the BOTTOM 3% OF REGIONALS ATHLETES. After this, it became more apparent than ever that it didn’t matter how big your engine was or how much heart you had, if you want to be a competitive CrossFit Athlete, you need to be strong AF and focus on weightlifting and gymnastics and skill. Don’t get me wrong I love a long strenuous chippers or a good team WOD but believe it or not those WODs are hindering your strength gains.

So what should you do then to get better at CrossFit? Throughout the year you need to be practicing cleans, jerks, snatches and all the accessory lifts. Learn and master the fundamentals of gymnastics – do hollow holds, hand stand holds, push ups, pull ups, dips and all that other good stuff. Keep your WODs and interval training between three and five minutes. As the CrossFit Open approaches, you can increase the length of your WODs and begin the necessary cardio training needed to keep you moving in those long Open workouts (this can typically be done 6 to 8 weeks out from the Open). So when the Open rolls around, you will approach it much like a fighter getting ready for a fight. If you followed the plan throughout the year, you will be stronger than ever with much improved gymnastic abilities at this point. I guarantee if you take this approach you will greatly improve your score and set yourself up to compete with the best.

So, remember if you want to get better at Crossfit, stop doing Crossfit!