Skill = Strength
It’s easy to get caught up in the competition that a CrossFit class can elicit. It’s what pushes our fitness to a level we couldn’t attain by ourselves. From a coach’s perspective this is both positive and negative. Though competition can bring out the best in an athlete, it can be also be a roadblock in the training process.
The two questions I hear frequently are “How do I get better at _____ skill” and “How do I get stronger?”. The simplest answer is, practice them often and do as many correct reps as possible; even if it’s one rep at a time.
Our bodies are an electrical highway, making new roads and highways all the time. These highways improve information pathways and feedback to the brain, especially when we are beginning the training process or learning a new skill (yes, even a Heavy Squat is a skill). Once introduced to a new skill, our bodies are already starting the process of building a road to mastery. As we practice “correctly” that road is turned into a freeway which allows more traffic and feedback to come back and forth, self-correcting the skill in real time.
Most people have an idea of this, but few apply it to strength. Often, skill is thought of in the realm of double unders, kipping pull-ups, or higher end gymnastics movements. Just ask Coach Thomas why Olympic lifters are just as strong as Powerlifters (without the help of Suits) in the squat, even though Olympic lifters hardly ever squat at the same intensities as powerlifters. It’s because they squat often and focus on perfecting each rep. They build their electrical highways to a higher degree than their powerlifting counterparts.
So how can we apply this to our everyday CrossFit classes?
Train with intent! Perfect every rep during this new cycle. It will be especially hard under fatigue, but the more perfect reps you do the better roads you will build, which will lead to more improvement over time.
Trust me, we will let you know when to compete! Test weeks are a perfect time. Right now find your place of Zen, be mindful, put competition aside and focus on technique.
“Nerves that fire together wire together” – Donald Hebb