Where are you Lacking: The Ten General Physical Skills

CrossFit can just seem like a bunch of random workouts thrown together from the untrained eye, but as we covered last week, true variance is not random. There is a method to the madness. One of the guiding lights to that madness are the 10 general physical skills. Beyond the balance across energy pathways and the hopper model, the 10 general physical skills was another way of determining who was fittest. The thought experiment was he or she who was balanced across all 10 physical skills could make that claim. 

The way workouts get programmed is often meant to challenge these skills. Sometimes a workout challenges only 1-3 to skills and other times it challenges all of them. It just depends on what we’ve done and what we need to do. The 10 physical skills can be a great way to run a diagnostic on yourself to determine where your fitness is lacking the most. It is this chink in your armor that needs to be addressed and doing so will lead to the greatest advancement of your fitness. 

The first four skills are organic in nature. This means they come about through actual improvements in training. You got stronger, more flexible, able to handle longer distances running. You created a physical change in the tissue to do this. 

Cardiovascular respiratory endurance – the ability of body systems to gather, process and deliver oxygen.

Stamina – the ability of body systems to process, deliver and store energy.

Strength – the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force in a productive application.

Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion of a given joint

The only way you get better at any of these things is by spending time doing those things. If you lack flexibility, you need to stretch in a way to create a new range of motion to the tissue. If you lack strength, you need to spend time under heavy loads and move them effectively. So on and so forth. 

The next four skills are neurological in nature. This means they come about through practice. The system doesn’t need to be stressed, the brain does. You can only get better at these through LEARNING. 

Coordination – the ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

Accuracy – the ability to control movement in a given direction at a given intensity.

Agility – the ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

Balance – the ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base. 

These skills can only improve with practice. If you lack balance, you need to spend time performing the air squat slowly and controlled. If you lack coordination, you need to spend time snatching with just a pvc pipe and working through the movement step by step. 

The last two skills are equal parts organic and neurological. These two can be improved via stress on the tissue OR learning how to do a movement better. 

Power – the ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimal time.

Speed – the ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

If you lack speed, sure, you can spend time running sprints to change the tissue. But, you can also spend time learning how to move just an empty barbell in a split jerk at lightning speeds. 

Understanding where you’re lacking and spending time improving those skills will earn you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to improving your fitness!

Love to move, but not sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts? Want to know how we can help you improve any and all of these skills? Come chat with us!

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