Matthew Childs, a rock climber, spent 35 years climbing rocks. In his career he came up with 9 important rules that he took from his experience from rock climbing.
These rules can easily be applied to what you do in the box too;
1. Don't let go
Matthew says in his video that your brain usually tells you to let go way before your body does. And this is true when it comes to certain WODs, you end up getting mentally psyched out by the voices in your head telling you cant do it, when in fact your body is more than capable of achieving it. Sometimes we just need to hold on to that bar a little longer and ignore what our brain is telling us, at other times we have to apply rule 9.
2. Hesitation is bad
....and momentum is good, don't stop!
3. Have a plan
The other week I posted up another Ted Talk video about why focusing on goals is bad. Instead focus on your behaviour, your plan, and that is going to get you to where you want to be.
Having a goal to do a pull up is great. But whats your plan to achieve that goal? simply having a goal isn't enough.
4. The move is the end
Matthew describes how important it is to stay focused when completing a 100 move climb.
Apply this to your MetCons, stay focused on what you're doing and don't worry about what others around you are doing. See the WOD through till the end and don't let your concentration slip. If your concentration slips on a box jump, your shins will know about it.
5. Know How to Rest
Due to CrossFit being so awesome, sometimes it can be difficult to miss a session and take a day off. But its important to understand how to rest, and to do it well.
Instead of viewing my rest days as "rest days" i call them my "growth days". These are the days that I give my body a chance to respond to the training stimulus and grow. On these days I sleep a little more, make sure i'm creating an ideal environment for my body to heal and recover by eating good quality good and taking my supplements.
For more tips on recovery, read my previous article - Train Smart, Recover Smarter.
In the video Matthew talks about knowing how to rest during climbs, and like when doing WODs its important to know how to rest. Some workouts will call for you to rest appropriately, like a heavy back squat workout. You cant complete 5 sets of heavy singles on your back squat without taking adequate rest between each set. Use the time wisely, focus, let your energy system recover and then lift again.
6. Fear Sucks
Matthew sums this up perfectly:
Think about that the next time you step up to a heavy bar. Keep your thoughts positive and lift the crap out of it. Don't think you cant, as you think you can't do it, you've already failed the lift.
7. Opposites are good
A good rule if you ever find yourself on a peg board.
8. Strength doesn't always equal success
As important as having strength is in CrossFit, if you couple that with crap form and crap technique, its a recipe for disaster.
Matthew talks about the importance of getting your legs involved as much as possible and we do this a lot in CrossFit, whenever we can, we want to use our glutes. Getting heavy weight over head isn't about how strong you are in the shoulders (to an extend) but how strong you are in your dip and drive. Use those glutes well, and your push press and split jerks will fly up.
A kipping pull up for example requires two things, strength (in the pull up) and skill (the kip). If you want to be successful with this movement, mastering the skill is a necessity. You start breaking through your knees in the arch position (which causes you to lose torque), or pulling that chin back (breaking through the spine) in an effort to get it over the bar, your'll soon fatigue and open yourself up to the risk of injury.
Strength is just one component that we use in CrossFit to measure your fitness. The other 9 are just as important
- Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
- Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilise energy.
- Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
- Flexibility – The ability to maximise the range of motion at a given joint.
- Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
- Speed – The ability to minimise the time cycle of a repeated movement.
- Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
- Agility – The ability to minimise transition time from one movement pattern to another.
- Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s centre of gravity in relation to its support base.
9. Know how to let go
There can be a very fine line between smashing a new PB 1 rep back squat, or smashing out a disc in your back in your attempt to get a new PB 1 rep back squat. I know this oh too well!
Its important to understand your limit and capacity when you are lifting and doing MetCons. It can take a while to understand your body and how it trains, when its ready, when it needs a break or when it can achieve the impossible. This obviously comes with experience and what we call "training age".
When you are attempting a PB, have a back up plan, know how to ditch the weight or have spotters (spotters that know exactly what they are doing) so you are in a safe lifting environment. Don't be ashamed to back out of the lift, tomorrow is a new day and a day that you can retry the lift. Its better to have a damaged ego than a damaged back.