Friday, 17 July 2009

Advancing The Intermediate CrossFitter, Part 3: What to do when progress stops.

There will inevitably come a point in your training when progress slows or even stops.  The intermediate CrossFitter will be one of the better performers in the group classes held at his or her affiliate. Adequate competition will be irregular, and this can have a negative effect on motivation. This athlete will sometimes be held back due to the lack of time the coach can spend working with him on complex movements, due to the need to spend a lot of time teaching basic movements to new athletes.  In the case of the intermediate CrossFitter who trains alone, motivation is probably not a problem, but the need for coaching on complex movements may be even more prevalent.  We will address both cases in this post.

Outclassed:  What to do when group classes aren't enough.

It's bound to happen.  If it's your goal to be more than a "casual CrossFitter," there will come a point when training with casual CrossFitters isn't going to work.  You need more advanced and technical coaching, you need training partners who understand what needs to be done and how to do it (that is, your training partners should be competent as coaches,) and most importantly, YOU NEED COMPETITION!  A big part of the reason the WOD is so successful is that it provides daily competition for everyone involved.  So when those group classes aren't making the cut anymore, what can you do?

Organize with your fellow Intermediate CrossFitters.

Wherever you train, the odds are that you aren't the only athlete with this problem.  Find other people at your affiliate who are serious about their training and are having trouble making progress coming to group classes.  Arrange with them to come to the same classes, spend time together before/after class working on skills, and compete both within and outside of the WOD.  Set challenges:  Who will be the first person in the group to...snatch bodyweight?  Get 50 pullups?  Do "Fran" in under 3 minutes?

Another huge advantage of having a dedicated group is that many affiliates offer private training at a discounted rate for groups.  With 3-5 people, you can most likely afford regular private training sessions with one of your affiliates coaches to work on complex movements in detail.

I train alone...with nobody else.

If you've achieved an intermediate level of fitness as defined on this blog while training on your own, motivation is probably not an issue for you.  However, you will probably need coaching on advanced techniques (the Olympic lifts in particular come to mind.)  Your best option is to schedule a few private training sessions with an CrossFit trainer within reasonable distance.  This will cost a pretty penny, but it's well worth it.  Make sure you do your research and find the best trainer you can!

Post thoughts to comments.

Next post, and the last in this series, will be Advancing The Intermediate CrossFitter Part 4: Programming advanced/high skill movements into your training.


Kristi said...

I fully agree that it important to have other people around the same skill level to train/compete with. It can be hard when training alone to know what times to shoot for in order to push yourself or to push yourself to the level that you would with another person to compete against. I think that can be one of the major obstacles for the intermediate CFer, especially one that trains alone. Again Jacob hit it right on the head when he stated that getting together with a trainer can aid a CFer and improve their overall performance. I trained alone for several years and only after going to train with a coach (Jacob) did my form improve which in turn made me more efficient. I also suggest going to the level II certs as a test subject for help on improving your fundamentals, or any of the certs for that matter. Anything that helps to make your form better and more effecient is only going to improve your performance.

ben b said...

I would agree with the suggestions in this post - but I have some of my own to add. Whether training alone or in a class, stagnation can be combated by finding some way to make your training feel "new." After doing crossfit long enough, one feels acclimated to the movements and is familiar with all the benchmark workouts (uh oh, here comes Fran/Nate/Diane/etc again). Something great to do is find a simple way to recapture the feeling you had when you first started - use a weightvest, film yourself and review your form, do a month where for every run you substitute a row, or whatever it takes to get you *interested* in doing something new.

Anonymous said...

I also suggest going to the level II certs as a test subject for help on improving your fundamentals, or any of the certs for that matter

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