If you have been training at a CrossFit box long enough you will have probably heard this phrase at least once…
“Train your weaknesses until they become your strengths”.
If you are anything like me you heard it and thought “yeah I can do that”. In reality though you get busy, try to improve everything at once, and lack a plan of attack. Well enough of that, it’s time to train those weaknesses.
CrossFit can sometimes get overwhelming due to the large number of different movements. Whilst the best way to get better at CrossFit is to CrossFit, we can make huge improvements by spending some quality time with the things we struggle with.
Realistically everyone needs to work on absolutely everything, and yes that includes current CF games champions Ben Smith and Katrin Davidsdottir. So how do we pick some weaknesses to target to get the best out of our training?
I will outline a systematic approach and a goal oriented method for getting it done.
Step 1: Identify your strengths and weaknesses
This might seem like an easy step. Let us start with your strengths, identify 3 – 4 movements which you like and are reasonably proficient at and set them aside. Now, pick 3 – 4 movements that you really struggle with. These can be specific tasks like a pull up, muscle up, or strict press, or as simple as improving squat depth, foot position in the jerk, 1 km time.
Step 2: Pick a few weaknesses to focus on
Have a look at the weaknesses you have outlined. Pick one weakness or, if you have plenty of time to practice, pick two. If you think you are going to struggle, pick that one weakness that you think you have the best chance of improving.
Step 3: Set a baseline value
Test out your weakness. – Where are we at now?
Step 4: Set SMART goals in a goal attainment table
Goal setting is awesome. Now that we have a current performance level set. Where do we want to get to?
Let’s first make a SMART goal. This needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Specific – Increase 1RM strict press by 1kg
Measureable – This can be easily measured by repeating a 1RM
Achievable – Adding 0.5 kg is an achievable number
Realistic – Realistic to athlete’s needs (it has been selected as a weakness)
Timely – To be attained in 12 weeks (or 4,6,8.. Whatever you like)
Next, create a goal attainment table. This gives us our current level, our SMART goal, two extra levels, and it also leaves the door open for a decrease in case of unexpected circumstances.
|Current –||Current||Goal||Goal +||Goal ++|
|X – 1 kg||X||X + 0.5kg||X + 1kg||X + 5 kg|
Step 5: Create a plan of attack
Now we need to look at where we are, where we want to go, and how we are going to get there. This is a good time to chat to the coaches and see what needs to be done.
– Plan to attack the weakness from all angles.
– Plan to attack the weakness on a regular basis, 2 – 4 times a week, depending on what works in your schedule.
– Put it in your diary, exactly what, when, and where you are going to do practice.
Step 6: Let’s get this done
– Make an effort to stick to your plan, even if things are not going the way you want them to, or you are having a busy week.
– Stick to the plan.
Step 7: Retest and reassess
Once you have completed the time frame:
– Re-test, How did you go, did you achieve your goal?
– Analyse the program. What worked and what didn’t and why?
– Is this now a strength? Does it need more work? Or are we ready to take on another challenge?