Fixations, Injuries and Learning to Let Go

Box jumps area CrossFit staple that require some dedicated practice!

Box jumps area CrossFit staple that require some dedicated practice!

There are so many skills to learn in CrossFit. From box jumps to double unders, pistol squats, pull-ups and muscle-ups, the list is seemingly endless. It is important to practice these skills as part of your regular CrossFit routine. You know the drill: warm up, do the WOD, work on a strength exercise and practice a skill or two.

It is easy to become fixated on mastering one particular skill. This is especially true when you are so close to getting it. You think that if you spend just one more hour today and tomorrow and the next day you will finally get it. That’s the point where things go horribly wrong. There is a fine line between dedicated practice and obsession.

Not long ago there was a battle of the muscle-up at our gym. One member spent hours each day trying to master the move while another wasted time watching YouTube trying to figure out how to perform this advanced skill. The first person ended up with a shoulder injury while the other got absolutely nowhere. This is not the way to approach skill mastery.

First you need to master the small steps. Each skill in CrossFit has a progression. It doesn’t matter if you’re learning box jumps or pull-ups; there is a specific progression to follow. Skipping steps in the progression always leads to failure. Second, you need to focus on complimentary strengths. A box jump is easier when you can squat heavy loads; muscle-ups are never going to happen without consistent ring dips. Finally, you need to give the skill a rest. This is important both physically and mentally. Frustration uses a lot of energy. Leave the skill, focus on other things, and come back to it a week or two later refreshed.

Hours of obsessive practice may be okay for child prodigies, but it isn’t healthy for adults with jobs. Learn the progressions, practice for ten minutes and then leave it alone. CrossFit is a journey and you’ve got lots of time to master every aspect of it.

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