Here’s the deal… we all love working on our strengths and feeling like we crushed our workout. But, want to get in on a little secret?
It took me a long time to figure it out even though I’ve heard it before, I’ve been told to do it before, etc. It’s like when your parents or spouse tell you to do something- you don’t listen, right? Someone else presents the same exact information to you, suddenly, it’s a great idea!
If you really want to get better, and raise your entire level of fitness up in the quickest way possible, you’re going to have to do some things that you dislike… Things you’re not good at, possibly even terrible at.
I, for one, being almost 5’11” dread bodyweight movements. Even in the weightlifting and powerlifting training that I do, my lever lengths are not my friend.
But, since suffering from a tailbone injury, and not being able to do the things I truly love, aka lift heavy nearly every day, I had to find some alternative to keep advancing my fitness. Now I work on some form of gymnastics daily, mostly focusing on strict movements to gain strength. Not glamorous, I know, but it would still be pretty badass to be able to crank out 25+ strict pull-ups someday.
Running… my god, for an ex-basketball player do I ever HATE anything endurance-related. But when I run and walk at a moderate pace it doesn’t bother my injury. Yet another weakness that I can work on instead of feeling sorry for myself and downing tubs of Ben & Jerry’s.
I can’t squat or deadlift, but I’m doing as many step ups and lunges as I can to get more equal strength in my legs. Every week I add more weight to these movements, so I know I’m slowly making progress. Funny how when you start to do unilateral work, you realize how much your stronger side was compensating before.
Grip work… well, I may be tall, but do I ever have almost freakishly small hands and feet. Hanging from the bar is not a strength of mine, but now, I’m doing farmer’s walks, bar hangs, plate pinches, and I know it will benefit everything I do from now on. If you can’t hang onto it, how can you expect to lift it off the ground?
The (novice) strength athlete in me is a little embarrassed to admit this… but during this time, working on these things I conveniently avoided before, I’m almost starting to enjoy them, and the light bulb has finally gone on. I WILL be a better athlete when all is said and done!
I won’t just be a CrossFitter who prays for only strength-type movements to come up in the WOD (sounds ridiculous to say that out loud now, I know!) I will at least be able to perform the above items with some level of competency.
So, the moral of the story here folks?
- Don’t be stubborn like me and wait until you’re injured to figured this out.
- If you have a training journal (which you should!) take some time to honestly reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Plan some goals out for yourself, and how you’re going to get there. If you’re not sure how, ask or find a coach who can help you.
- Ask for help. No one can be an expert at everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for, and pay for, quality coaching (be wary of YouTube experts, check your sources!)
- Don’t go all crazy and try to work on everything at once or you will get injured. Baby steps! I really like doing volume training, where I do 10 rounds of 40-60s of only a few reps of something. I’m aiming for optimal technique and then resting until the next round.
- Be realistic. If right now, you’re deadlifting 200lb, it’s probably not realistic for you to be pulling 400 off the ground in less than 6 months!
- I saw a quote once that I really stuck with me, “find your weaknesses, make friends with them, then beat them to death.”
What are some of weaknesses that you’re going to ‘beat to death in’ 2017?
Jen Anderberg is the owner of Raido Coaching and a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer at Titanium CrossFit in Courtenay, BC. An ex-university basketball player, she is now a NCCP Trained Weightlifting Coach and CrossFit Gymnastics Trainer. Jen enjoys exploring the competitive side of CrossFit, weightlifting, and powerlifting, but is also a devoted dog mom, food and fitness geek, and closet cowgirl. She believes that lifelong learning and humor will keep that childlike enthusiasm alive in all of us. For more info, check out www.raidocoaching.com
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