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5 Tips to Improve Your Workout

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We have all had that feeling.  You just finished a workout and you are going over what just transpired in your head.  You are thinking about what you did well and what you could have done better and you think to yourself, “I could have gone faster on that.”  But during a CrossFit workout, you had no idea that you were leaving anything on the table.  How can we prevent this ominous feeling from occurring after a workout?  You can start by implementing these 5 strategies:

  1. Have a positive mind set going into a workout.

If you go into a training session, talking with your friends about how bad the workout is going to suck, then guess what?  It’s going to suck!  The mind is a powerful thing and it can work for you or it can work against you.  Which side it takes is up to you.  Go into the workout knowing that you are going to crush it and I guarantee even if it’s challenging, you will perform much better than you would have with a bad mind set.  Think positive thoughts, like how lucky you are to be healthy enough to do the things you can do and how good you feel after you finish the workouts.  Just remember you are doing this to improve yourself and you have a group of people around you there going through the same thing.

  1. Follow the 80/80 rule.

I am stealing this rule from Doug Larsen of the Barbell Shrugged Crew.  (  And he stole it from UFC fighter BJ Penn.  The rule states that you should pace out a long workout (or a UFC fight) so that you are performing at 80% effort for 80% of the workout.  Then in that final 20% of the workout, you really turn it on and give it everything you have.  This will ensure that you do not hit that red line too early and stand around forever just staring at the bar.  Now this is not a good strategy for a short sprint type workout.  However, when pacing comes into play, the 80/80 rule is a solid plan.

  1. Focus on your technique.

Another great strategy to help your mental game during a painful workout is to focus on your technique.  For instance, say you are doing “Fran.”  You are on that dreaded set of 15 thrusters and your muscles are burning, your heart is racing and you want nothing more than to put the bar down.  During a time like this, you should focus on the technique of the thruster.  Think about keeping your feet flat on the floor, driving your elbows up, and waiting until you are stood up from the squat to begin the press with your arms.  You can even focus on the cadence of your breath.  Create a cadence where you are breathing in and out at the top and bottom of each rep rather than randomly gasping for air.  This will help you in two ways: 1) It will keep your mind busy on technique and not on the pain you are in.  2) It will help you move in the most efficient way possible in order to save yourself energy.

  1. Make your rest periods systematic.

When you do have to stop and take a break during a workout, have a plan in place to prevent yourself from turning a short rest into a long nap.  Give yourself a specific number of deep breaths to take before you start up again.  Maybe that’s five breaths every time you stop.  You could also watch the clock and give yourself a specific amount of time before you get back to work.  This number will likely be different for different people and with different movements.  If it’s a tough movement for you, you probably will need a longer rest and vice versa.

  1. Don’t go to failure.

When a workout includes a movement that is a challenging one for you, you need to be cautious with how far to push on that particular movement.  For instance, with movements like push up variations, you want to make sure that you never reach the point where you attempt a rep that you cannot complete.  If you go to this point, it takes a much longer time for your muscles to recover enough to do another rep.  So, you want to always keep 1-2 reps in the tank on trouble movements and stay away from that red line.  This will keep you moving and keep the intensity high.

You are now armed with 5 powerful strategies to use during a CrossFit W.O.D.  Now go forth and crush your next one!




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