12 Idiot Proof Principles to Crossfit Performance and Injury Prevention

12 Idiot Proof Principles to Crossfit Performance and Injury Prevention

The largest criticism I hear about crossfit is about how dangerous it is and how many people get hurt doing it, blah, blah, blah.  Maybe we should all just hide in a closet and pray for muscles and a six pack?  That’s probably safer then trying something challenging like a snatch.  Of course its not great to plow through random exercises with terrible technique for hundreds of reps.  But if that’s what you believe crossfit is then my friend you need to find a better gym.

Crossfit can be done poorly and can be done correctly, just like any other fitness system.  Instead of condemning crossfit as some sort of fitness fad that’s sure to blow up your rotator cuff let’s try to figure out a way to make it better shall we?

1. Get Your Mind Right

“Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you’re right”

– Henry Ford

What’s the difference between you and an olympic gold medalist?  Genetics? Coaching?  Programming? Great Facilities?  Training partners?  Well for one I bet you 100% that the olympic athlete has a very specific way of thinking.  Their mental game is iron clad.  They believe in themselves.

However, I will say that we all put our pants on one leg at a time.  These individuals may seem like it, but they aren’t superhuman.  Laird Hamilton (Professional Big Wave Surfer) has an awesome quote that helps to point out the difference between normal individuals and those who have achieved greatness herunterladen.

“We are our own worst inhibitors”

If we could stop making excuses for our goals and dreams we’d be that much closer to actually attaining them.  Humans are capable of tremendous things.  Having the right mindset is definitely at the foundation.

Want some inspiration?  Take some from Dan Gable.  I’m a huge fan of being inspired and inspiring others and have written about it quite a bit in the past.  Want to get charged up?  Read this.  If that didn’t do the trick then give this a read.  If that didn’t work, you may already be dead and I feel badly for you.

Making the commitment to excellence isn’t easy.  It’s a lonely road, set apart from status quo and away from “normal” by society’s standards.  Sitting on the couch is easy.  Eating doritos for lunch is easy.  Staying up late and sleeping in is easy.  However, is this the way you want people to think of you? Or the way you want to be remembered once you’re dead and gone?  For me, hell no!

Every action you take in your life is either a step toward the person you aspire to become or a step in the opposite direction.  The power is yours (Captain Planet reference) herunterladen.

On top of that your way of thinking has an incredible influence on whether or not we get injured and also how we recover from injury.

  • Fear about your current injury decreases your ability to recover
  • Stress and an introverted personality can increase your risk of injury
  • Having competitive anxiety increases your risk for injury.  Believing you are more prone to injury or ill-health can be a self-fulfilling prophecy!

2. Don’t Put Fitness on Dysfunction

I stole this directly from Gray Cook.  It means that we shouldn’t be using complex exercises to develop fitness without having taught proper technique and mastery of these exercises first.  Crossfit is large group of skills that require disciplined practice to master.  To me this is part of what makes crossfit so enjoyable and challenging.

As fitness professionals and enthusiasts we’re so caught up in the more reps, more weight, beat the clock mentality we forget that we’re trying to actually get better at moving properly.

Squats are a skill, pullups are a skill, olympic lifts are a skill, running is a skill, jumping and landing are skills.  What happens when we just throw complicated movements together and tell you to perform them as fast as possible without getting your technique together first?  Torn meniscus, rotator cuff tears, disc herniations, volcanoes erupt, planets colide, etc etc.  You get the point powershell datei downloaden?

Using crossfit properly involves teaching how to do these movements correctly and then practicing, practicing, practicing.

3. Perfect Technique Always

This is a bonehead rule and an extension of the above principle.  Do you want a surefire way to get better, stronger, faster and more efficient while decreasing the likelihood of getting hurt?  Stop using crappy technique.

Want to know what happens when your form breaks down?  You get less efficient, you get weaker, you get hurt.  I’ve written about this extensively in the past.  Ever wonder why when someone breaks a world record in a given sport it looks so effortless and perfect?  That’s because if their technique broke down they wouldn’t have set a world record.  It’s that important.

Poor technique is also going to decrease your efficiency.  Remember the old saying that practice makes perfect?  Well perfect practice makes perfect. Practice just makes permanent.  When we practice poor technique we get better and better at doing poor technique. We want to get better not worse right dvd player herunterladen pc?

On top of that crappy technique makes you look like a tired and mortally wounded animal flopping around in the gym.  It curdles my blood.  It’s like someone scraping their nails against a blackboard to me.  This is probably the biggest reason why so many crossfit haters exist.

4. Find a Good Gym and a Good Coach

There are good and bad doctors right?  Unfortunately I can tell you the local surgeons who have a bad track record for their patients getting infections after surgery. That’s a bad thing.

What’s the difference between becoming a surgeon and a crossfit trainer?  Becoming a surgeon takes hundreds of thousands of dollars and up to 15 years of school and training just to start practicing.  On top of that you still get bad surgeons.

Becoming crossfit certified means $1,000 and a weekend course.  Do you think everyone out there teaching crossfit is competent?  Unfortunately with crossfit gyms popping up around every corner not every gym will be created equal.  Here are a few tips when choosing a gym.

  • Established gyms are usually better then new gyms
  • Coaches should practice what they preach.  (Nothing is worse then a trainer who’s out of shape *vomit*)
  • Credentials count – Coaches who go out of their way to learn olympic lifting through USAW are a plus.  I’ve seen a recent trend in physical therapists and chiropractors becoming coaches and I’ve got to say, that’s awesome printer driver brother for free.
  • Assessments and Introductory classes – Many programs have introductory classes (on-ramp) but not too many offer assessments.

Having a good coach will ensure that your programming isn’t stupid and leading you to a romantic date with an orthopedic surgeon.  On top of that good coaching is pivotal to success.  If you want to actually be good at this stuff the right coach is going to help tremendously.

5. Assess and Correct

Remember that old saying, different strokes for different folksLook, not everyone is going to have business doing snatches, overhead press, running etc right off the bat.

Think of it this way, imagine that you don’t have enough flexibility to put your arms completely overhead while keeping your spine in a strong position.  Do you think it’s going to end well when we put a heavy barbell in your hands and ask you to press it overhead?  Try this screen and check yourself.  If you fail this test and you’ve got shoulder or lower back pain, then this may be exactly why.

The same thing goes for every other movement, if you’ve got a mobility or stability limitation you’re going to be weak and open for injury with certain movements.

Unfortunately I really don’t see much assessment and screening being done at crossfit gyms.  If you can find someone to perform an assessment on you before starting a crossfit program it will pay dividends kann keine musik von amazon herunterladen.

I’m definitely biased but I really like the functional movement screen created by Gray Cook and Lee Burton.  Find a coach or professional in your area who is fluent in this language (like me!) and find out which exercises you should avoid initially and what corrective exercises to employ to fix your problems.  If you live near the Philadelphia /Cherry Hill area and are interested in assessment then shoot me an email (dpopetraining@gmail.com)!

Read up on the joint-by-joint approach to corrective exercise to get started.  Here’s an example of how to fix a crappy squat with this approach.  Just remember, corrective exercise is exactly that, something used to correct a problem.  Finding specific issues and treating those is far more effective then taking a shotgun approach to corrective exercise.

I write about screening, assessment and corrective exercise obsessively on this site so read up!

6. Pain Free Movement Only

Oh man this is huge!  Pain is your brain trying to tell you that something’s wrong.  I recently had dinner with a dentist friend of mine and told him that my gums bleed sometimes when I floss and asked, “Is that bad?”

Fortunately for me my friend is a smart-ass and answered me with, “Dan when your body is bleeding it means that something is wrong.”  Thanks buddy.

It’s true though.  If you’re having pain then go see a professional.  Physical therapists and chiropractors spend years (and unfortunately hundreds of thousands of dollars, *sob*) mastering this craft.  It’s probably best not to just figure it out yourself.  If you can find a professional who actually enjoys training hard and doesn’t condemn all athletics that’s a plus herunterladen.

If an exercise is causing you pain, chances are continuing that exercise won’t make the pain better over time.  Substitute, modify.  If you don’t do wallballs for the next few weeks it isn’t going to kill you.

For the athletes out there, injuries set us back tremendously.  When you’re nursing a broken shoulder, you aren’t getting better.  The best way to counter this is by avoiding painful movements, seeing a professional, cleaning up poor movement technique and then returning when it doesn’t hurt anymore.

7. Nutrition, Recovery, Sleep, Stress Management

We all know the importance of recovery, taking it easy when we should, and managing our stress but how often do we actually rest?  Sleep when we’re dead right?

If you’re like me you border on the side of doing too much almost all of the time (Both with training, career and life altogether).  Realize that taking time off will not only decrease your risk of injury, but  increase your performance as well.

Make sure to eat the right foods, rest adequately and manage your stress.  These things are absolutely enormous and can’t be stressed enough alle fotos van facebooken.

I’m also a big fan of planned recovery periods called “deloading”.  Strategically taking time of from time to time is very beneficial not only from an injury prevention perspective but also for performance.  I wrote an article specifically about deloading for crossfit athletes HERE:  You don’t have to rest completely, but you can make large gains by backing off some and working on different weaknesses for a period of time.

8. Thoroughly Warm Up:

Warm-ups should be specific for the exercises being performed.  For example, if I’m going to go squat I want to make sure I do some mobility work for my hips, ankles and thoracic spine beforehand.  On top of that I’m going to use some dynamic warm-up drills to work on my technique and get my joints and muscles prepared for the movement.

To take it a step further I’m going to do several warm-up sets with squatting before I get to my working weight for the day.  This way I’m thoroughly prepared for my heavy sets and I’ve gotten some technique work in to boot.

Remember good technique = being a crossfit boss

The warm-up is also a good time to listen to your body.  If you’re having pain somewhere it’s time to choose a different exercise.  If you wait until the met-con to try the exercises out you might end up with the good old mentality of, “Oh my shoulder feels like crap but I’ve already done two sets and if I switch exercises at this point it will ruin the workout.”

If a prescribed weight is too heavy, this is the time to change it.  Don’t be a hero.  Check your ego at the door and train accordingly.

9. Set Some Freaking Goals.

“Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”
– Fitzhugh Dodson

I don’t know who the hell Fitzhugh Dodson is but those are some words of wisdom.  I can’t speak highly enough about having goals.  If you have anything worthwhile in your life you’d like to achieve, you’re going to need a plan to get there herunterladen.

Wishing you’re going to be the next Rich Froning Jr. or Annie Thorisdottir is great and all but it isn’t going to happen just with wishful thinking and willy nilly training.  Designing reasonable, specific and timeline driven goals and then implementing a systematic approach to achieving them is the key here.

When I won the 2009 North American Strongman National Championships I knew exactly what I needed to accomplish with my training in order to make it happen.  I had a set of goals posted on the fridge that I looked at every time I went to eat (Keep in mind I’m a hungry boy).  I systematically knocked off every goal on the list.  When I went to the competition all I had to do was allow all of the hard work to unravel over the course of the competition.  Presto, national champion, just add water.

I wrote a 4 part series of articles specifically about goal setting and how you can do the same as I did.  Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE, Part 3 HERE. Part 4 HERE.

10. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

“You are the average of the top 5 people you spend the most time with.”

– Jim Rohn

Why do you think Dan Bailey has been so successful at crossfit?  Well for one he’s basically picked up his entire life and moved in with Rich Froning Jr. (The most recent crossfit champ) and did the same with the previous champs Mikko Salo and Graham Holmberg.

When your training partners are the best athletes in the world in your sport it becomes fairly difficult to not excel.  The point here is that the people that you surround yourself with have a large impact on your behaviors and ultimately your successes or failures app corona datenspende herunterladen.

Take home points:

  • Find some great training partners
  • Fill your life with people who support your goals (Sometimes the haters are good fuel for your fire as well)
  • Eliminate the crap; bad relationships, unnecessary stressors, toxic people, people who make you feel like they are sucking your soul out of your body with a straw. You know what I’m talking about here.

11. Work your weaknesses:

Crossfit is a sport where being successful in competition relies on consistently performing well in every event.  Bombing one or two events and placing first on every other event won’t get you on the podium.

When I first started crossfit my game was like swiss cheese, full of holes.  I’d dominate a lifting event and then bomb something with an overhead squat.  No good.  Man, that felt terrible.  Since then I’ve completely revamped my training to tackle my weaknesses and it’s paid off.

Training your weaknesses isn’t always the sexiest way to train but if being good at crossfit is on your list of goals then it better be a priority.  I recently finished up a local competition and it was a lovely opportunity to see just how well working on my weaknesses has been for improving my performance.  (Teaser: It worked very well) Funny thing, the competition unveiled some new weaknesses to work on.  I wrote an article about how I plan on approaching my weaknesses HERE:  So, time to get to work!

12. Be Consistent, Have Patience

Getting better at crossfit (or anything else in life really) without destroying your body in the process takes time and discipline.  Of course you’ll need to train smart and work hard, but having patience and sticking with it is also a piece of the puzzle.

Be happy for the small achievements along the way.  If you’re waiting for the big payoff from some random competition in the future I don’t think you’ll last very long.  The sense of satisfaction is not from the destination, but the journey.

We all know we’re going to have good and bad days.  The key is not to just give up on everything when things get particularly bad.  I had a great polevaulting coach back in highschool who had a great attitude with coaching.  When I or another athlete was having a particularly bad day he would say, “Alright, time to pack it up.  Go home and have some pizza.  Tomorrow is another day.”

Relish in the small accomplishments and don’t let the set-backs defeat you.  As athletes we’re incredibly critical of ourselves.  Every now and then you’re going to have a bad day.  Rack it up to experience and get back on the horse the next day.

Now go Fran it up,

Dan Pope

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