1. Resting At The Bottom of All Burpees
A common problem I’ve seen from experienced and beginner athletes alike is the method of resting for a long time at the bottom of all of your burpees. While you are sure to experience a good deal of fatigue during any workout, and a high-rep burpee workout is enough to make the toughest men in the gym cry their eyes out, making burpees slow completely changes their intended stimulus and as a result, changes the exercise. It changes it enough that you should stop calling them burpees if you always stop while doing them. The burpee is intended to be a quick burst and change of position movement. If you’re sluggish throughout and built-in rest to each rep, you’re basically doing “get down and get up” instead which would be more of a body weight flow and less of an explosive conditioning movement. Cut the pushup portion out entire if it allows you to go faster, or do 5 – 10 quickly and then take a rest. Both of those options would help you improve your burpee threshold quicker than doing them slowly.
2. The Casual Jog-Run
A lot of athletes will hit all the key parts of the workout; put heavy weights on the bar, hard/high-skill movements, and then do a feet-dragging trot for their run portion. One way to ensure that you never get better or more comfortable with running is always to prioritize everything else above running and then don’t try hard on the runs. A much better option for short and long-term CrossFit performance is to put your best effort into the things you need to improve on most and stop hiding behind your current strengths. Do lighter weights and easier movements if it allows you to push yourself harder on the runs that are intended to be hard and fast.
3. Walking Away the Bar (because of a bad choice.)
It is common in every CrossFit class to see someone drop the barbell and walk away from it while they recover. Then, return to the bar for a few more reps, let to drop and bounce and roll while they walk away again. This is almost always a sign that they’ve chosen a weight that is too heavy for that particular workout and they don’t want to taste the humble pie and change the weights. Ask your coach what the intended stimulus is and what kind of sets you should be stringing together and choose what will allow you to tap into that. If your coach is always using Rx as a reference point for your performance then you know they’re severely lacking in their depth of knowledge and individual performance variables.
4. The Shallow Squats
Everyone on earth loves big squats. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s mainly built into our genetic code. But this can lead us to make some questionable decisions. Far too often athletes will sacrifice depth so they can squat a heavier weight. But that is limiting your capacity in the short and long term and giving you a false victory at the moment; we think that our squat is getting stronger, but if the range of motion shortens as the weights get heavier, you’re not getting stronger. Squatting to depth puts your muscles under tension for a more significant period of time, which means that they will be getting stronger. Full squats also help build stability in the lower back, help to improve flexibility, and are safer for the spine and the knees.
5. The Non-Rep Reps
When we train longer and get more competitive with the people around us, or the people on the scoreboard, we have a habit of cutting corners on our reps to “win” the workout. We pride ourselves on beating Jane and Jimmy by a few seconds in the workout, but if we had to shorten our reps to do so did we really win? No. The answer is no, we didn’t win. We actually lost. Also, there are no winners and losers in exercise. It’s just exercise. Unless you sacrifice the quality of your workout so that you can “win.” In that case, you are the loser of the workout. The only comparison you need to worry about is you from yesterday vs. you from today. If you’re lowering your standards to add some reps or rank higher on a nonsensical leaderboard, then you’re losing the only comparison game that matters.
Move well all the time. Make movement quality for every single rep your metric of success.