There’s a checklist one goes through when looking to make improvements in their fitness. In CrossFit, that checklist starts out with coming to the workouts consistently. Am I showing up at least three times per week? That should be concern number one. Not how hard I go or can I do everything? Nope. Just show up three times a week and make it a point to learn how to do movements properly.
Once you’ve made it a point to be here and you can perform most of the movements with the same technique over and over then we can begin to look at making sure we’re eating the right food and sleeping enough. Are we staying away from processed foods and alcohol? Are we making it a point to spend at least eight hours in bed? Are we doing the proper maintenance on our body? Stretching outside of just class time? Making sure we have proper range of motion of each joint?
Once we’ve managed to do those things then there comes a point in time when we have to look at the one aspect of CrossFit that is devoid in other fitness programs. That is the practice of threshold training. What is threshold training? It is performing a task at a speed that pushes your threshold of maintaining good mechanics. In laymen’s terms, we’re saying you need to start moving so fast that the form of your movement starts to deteriorate. Why? We do this because this is where the next level of adaptation lies. If you want to get fitter, you HAVE to start working at the margins of your capacity.
Let’s take this past Mondays workout for example. The 27-21-15 of squat cleans and burpees over the bar. Let’s say you were watching someone do that and they finished in a time of 15 minutes and every single one of their squat cleans was picture perfect. Sure, that may be impressive, but what we know for CERTAIN is that they could have gone faster. Why is that? Because working outside of our threshold should cause errors. Now, be very careful and don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I am NOT saying we want gross errors to happen and again this is the LAST piece of the checklist. Before you get to this point you have to have demonstrated all the other things I advocated for first. But, if you’re telling me that you’re going to move your fitness forward by moving picture perfect in every single workout, I’m going to tell you that you’re wrong.
CrossFit is unique in the FITNESS realm in this aspect but it is NOT unique in life. Every other aspect of life DEMANDS this binary balance. If you work a job as a secretary and type every single document with zero errors but it takes you 4 hours to type one up, you’re not going to have a job. If you’re a NASCAR driver and never drive faster than 150mph, sure you probably never got in a wreck but you also probably never won a race. When you tell someone to meet you for dinner, you don’t want them to just show up at the right place, you want them to show up on time as well. You have to most fast and move well in order to drive your fitness forward but you can only move fast by practicing moving fast. You have to work at a speed that challenges YOU. Once your form breaks down a little bit, take a break, reel it back in and get back at it. This is threshold training.