Working On Skills…by Pat McCarty
Here’s a fact. For the most part, your strength and skills will NOT improve while doing the WODs.
Whoa…come again? That’s a pretty bold statement. Let me be more specific: You will get more fit doing the metcon WODS, no doubt about it. But your strength and skill will stay about the same.
Meaning, if you don’t work on pull ups outside of the normal WOD times, if you’re using a band now, you’ll probably always be using a band. You’re not going to “get” double unders by trying during the WOD to do double unders. You will only get your double unders by working at them outside of the WODS.
Let’s put it another way. Any athlete in any sport spends time practicing, and then they have the game. The WOD is the game. If you don’t practice, you will never get better at the game.
Have you seen someone in the gym with a beautiful kipping pull up (Chelsea, Michelle Knowland, Michelle Gearhart, Katie Ramey)? All of them spent time working on that specific skill, relentlessly. You will usually see Michelle Knowland, after EVERY WOD, chalk up, get up on the bar, and do 10-20 pullups. Practice.
It was about a year ago that Larry Ramey got his first muscle up. His goal became to get 10 unbroken muscle ups…many of us remember how many times Larry would get up on the rings after a long workout and start cranking out muscle ups. One day, it was 4, then up to 8, finally 10. Now, he does as many as he chooses. Practice.
Last Thursday night, something magical happened at CrossFit Power Performance. After the 5:30 workout, which was the Crossfit Total, suddenly, everyone was working on skills. Brittany, Sarah and Kellene were working on climbing the rope. Mike and Chris were working on Muscle Ups. Erica was working on a legless rope climb (and got it). Karen was working on pullups, Lyndsay on toes to bar. EVERYONE was workign on something, without prompting. EVERYONE was improving. And have you seen Anita’s pullups? If you knew how many hours she’s spent on the bar after a WOD practicing, you’d understand why she’s a badass now.
There are two paths you can travel on at CFPP. Or at any CrossFit box, for that matter. One is the path to fitness through the daily workouts. You will get more fit, your endurance will improve, you will feel better, and so on. The other is the path to elite fitness. This is the path that leads you to do things you never thought possible, get more fit and strong than you ever imagined, and to become a leader. To become one of those atheletes that everyone else looks at with admiration and respect because of your drive. To become athlete of the month, a games-team participant, or just to be the person who achieves every single one of your goals without fail.
For me, it’s been muscle ups and squat snatches. I work on those constantly. Next up is pistols and hand-stand walks. What do you want to master? Your dead lift 1 rep max? Overhead squats? Your rowing skills? Practice.
The trainers are almost universally willing to stick around after a work out to work with you. We have “Rest/Skill/Makeup” days twice a week. Choose the skill on those days. We have Open Gym Thursday at 6:30. Practice – Practice, and practice.
Perfect Pushups (PDF)
Kipping Pullup Tutorial Video (Part 1)
Kipping Pullup Tutorial Video (Part 2)