Crossfit is defined as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity” and it provides a fantastic programme and environment for people to reach their potential and learn new skills. This is where, for many, the frustrations can lie. Being constantly varied in nature, there can be an overwhelming number of things to learn and the idea of progressing can seem distant, if not impossible at times. As people begin to develop, we as coaches often see the desire to improve take the next level and people want to develop things such as higher level gymnastics, more advanced weightlifting or significant body composition changes.
The coaches at CFN often hear people say “I wish I was better at ____” or “I wish I had ____ skill”. This is understandable and can often easily be achieved by setting a realistic goal and then pursuing it at every opportunity. This is where we often see people fail. We understand it can be difficult to strive and achieve just one goal when there is so much to learn but a subtle benefits of pursuing a functional training programme like Crossfit is the transfer of skills and abilities to other areas. For example, increasing your strict pull ups develops the upper body and back which provides a stronger base to load a barbell for a back squat, making your upper body less of limiting factor in developing the squat. As such, by focussing on one goal, it is highly likely you will continue to develop in other areas.
But how can goal setting be utilised in a programme designed to be constantly varied??
Have a single measureable goal – This is likely to be obvious but is key to success. “Coach, I want to get stronger” this is not a goal. This is a statement. “Coach, I want 1 strict pull up by the end of next month”, now that’s a goal. “Coach I want double unders, a muscle up, more endurance and massive squat” me too, one thing at a time! You only have so much time and energy, focus on one thing at time and keep moving forward inch by inch. Select a goal and then let it serve as your focus and motivation everyday you come into the gym.
Identify limiting factors – What is stopping you achieving this goal? For example, do you not have the mobility/range to do it? Is it a strength issue? Is it a skill or neurological pattern you just need to learn? We as coaches can help you reverse engineer your goal to help you use the right progressions to move forward. Having the right progressions and plan will serve
Be consistent – Once you have your goal, scales and planned progressions its down to you to work hard and chase it – consistency is king. This is the difference between training and exercise. In order to be consistent you need to learn to incorporate your goal into all your training pursuits. If you are striving for a pull up and there is no pulling in the WOD and its all squats and running that day, then you have to create the opportunity. Even if it means on your way out of the gym, you do just one pull up, do something to move towards your goal every day. Be prepared to scale weights and reps in one aspect of a WOD for you to focus on your goal. Before every class speak to the coach and discuss how to best pursue your goal within the given WOD.
In Crossfit, Greg Glassman has given us a training methodology that allows for a lifetime of learning and development in a range key physical skills. Whilst this is daunting and at times potentially demotivating, the combination of effective goal setting, patience and consistent hard work can lead to great success in developing a high level of general physical preparedness.
I was told on my induction by Coach Ward that “Crossfit can take you wherever you want to go” and I truly believe that, the difficulty is often in identifying the destination.
Set goal – Make a plan – Be consistent – Achieve goal – Repeat.