Mastery of the Basics

You start CrossFit.  You can tell you’re gaining endurance and starting to be able to do things you couldn’t before…but at some point you start to want more.  You see the person next to you doing pull-ups or muscle-ups or some other skill you haven’t mastered yet. You want to keep increasing the amount you can lift.  You long to hit the Rx button on a workout. This can be the most challenging part of CrossFit: Always wanting more. Everyone gets there; we all get to a place where we feel like we are so close to something but so far away that it seems impossible, or we don’t know how to cross off the next CrossFit bucket list item.

Gymnastic movements like toes-to-bar, or butterfly pull-ups, or ring muscle-ups tend to really get people fired up when they can accomplish one of them – as they should. However, once you have one single rep’ does not mean you have mastered the movement or can show proficiency at it.  In gymnastics, if you are not able to hit 20+ technical reps in a row, there is still plenty of room to improve. Now, I challenge all of you who have a few reps to think about how you are going to get 20 in a row. Are you going to just keep trying to do the same thing and eventually get there?  Performing “ok” (maybe even sloppy) movements just to say you “did it” will not improve you proficiency and is a quick way to get yourself very frustrated or even injured.

We need to take the time to be mastering the basics. Being humble enough to look at what we can do vs what we want to be able to do is an important part of this.  The basics is how we get to 20+. We master movements to a point where “the complex” becomes “the basic.”

“The fools in life want things fast and easy – money, success, attention, CrossFit movements. Boredom or failure is their great enemy and fear. Whatever they manage to get slips through their hands as fast as it comes in.  You, on the other hand, want to outlast your rivals. You are building the foundation for something that can continue to expand. To make this happen, you will have to serve an apprenticeship (you have to practice the basics.)  You must learn early on to endure the hours of practice and drudgery, knowing that in the end all of that time will translate into a higher pleasure – mastery of a craft and of yourself.” -The 50th Law

How do we master the basics at Sycamore CrossFit?

First, you come to class and allow your coach to guide you through scaling options.  They will help you focus on what you are able to do now vs what you think you are capable of or what you think you should be doing.  They make recommendations on how to scale the workout because they are looking at the long term, your safety, and the desired training stimulus.

Second, wait for a clinic or program specific to what you are looking for help with becomes available.  Movement clinics allow our coaches to focus on one specific movement and offer you drills, individualized coaching, and strength-building exercises to get you where you need to be to master that movement.  You might work on double-unders for 10 minutes before a workout every week or two, but devoting 1.5-2 hours to that one skill with even more coaching attention can (AND WILL) make a huge difference.

Finally, schedule a skill session with a coach.  This guarantees to shorten the amount of time it takes to learn or master a movement or skill.  Spend 30 minutes to an hour focusing on one particular movement and allow the coach to help you determine the best course of action moving forward.  This one-on-one attention is the quickest way to improve form, figure out weaknesses, and develop a plan to turn them into strengths.

Has there been a movement you have wanted, or a movement you think you could be better at than you already are, or would you like to work on something new?  If so, tell us what it is! We look forward to hearing what it is you’re working on next! If you need help deciding how to accomplish your goals schedule an athlete check-in.  

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