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CrossFit Masters: Be less poo plan picture

As a CrossFit master, you know that the pursuit of excellence is an ongoing journey. One key aspect that sets apart exceptional athletes is their unwavering dedication to improving their weaknesses. In this blog post, we will explore the value of working on your weaknesses as a CrossFit athlete and how it can significantly enhance your CrossFit scores.

CrossFit is not for the faint of heart. It demands a well-rounded skill set and the ability to excel in various movements and workouts. While it is tempting to focus solely on your strengths, neglecting your weaknesses can hinder your overall performance. Your weaknesses are not failures or limitations; rather, they are untapped potential waiting to be explored. By identifying and addressing these areas of improvement head-on, you can elevate your performance to new heights.

Working on weaknesses in CrossFit is not about dwelling on shortcomings or comparing yourself to others. It is about embracing a growth mindset and recognising that there is always room for improvement. Each weakness you conquer becomes a stepping stone towards becoming a more well-rounded athlete.

Whether it's struggling with a particular gymnastics movement, lacking speed in cardio-based workouts, or struggling with certain Olympic lifts, understanding your weaknesses is the first step. By pinpointing these areas, you can create a focused training plan that addresses them specifically. This targeted approach allows you to break down barriers and build a solid foundation for improvement.

Throughout this blog post, we will delve into practical strategies for identifying and working on your weaknesses, as well as the mental and physical benefits that come with this process. By the end, I’m hoping that you will be inspired to embrace the discomfort, challenge your limitations, and realise the immense growth potential that lies within your weaknesses.

So, let's see firsthand how tackling weaknesses can lead to remarkable improvements in your CrossFit scores.

Growth Mindset brain lifting weights

You Can Do This!

Understanding weaknesses is a crucial aspect of personal growth and development as a CrossFit athlete. It requires a deep level of self-awareness and a willingness to face your limitations head-on. Acknowledging weaknesses is not an admission of failure; instead, it is an empowering recognition that there are areas in which you can improve.

To understand your weaknesses, start by reflecting on your performance in different CrossFit workouts and movements. Pay close attention to those exercises or skills that consistently challenge you or cause frustration. Perhaps you struggle with pull-ups, find it challenging to maintain a high heart rate during cardio-intensive workouts, or feel uncertain when attempting heavy squats. These are all indicators of potential weaknesses that need attention.

Coaches


Another effective way to identify weaknesses is to seek feedback from coaches, training partners, or fellow athletes. These individuals can provide valuable insights and observations that you may have overlooked. Their objective perspective can help pinpoint areas in which you may be falling short and offer guidance on how to address them.

Tracking your progress is another essential aspect of understanding weaknesses. Keep a training journal to record your workouts, weights lifted, times achieved, and overall performance (most likely you can do this through Boxmate or Sugarwod if your box uses these apps)
This data allows you to analyse patterns and trends over time. By reviewing your training history, you can identify recurring challenges and recognise areas that require improvement.

It's important to approach the process of understanding weaknesses with a growth mindset. Instead of viewing weaknesses as limitations, see them as opportunities for growth. Embrace the journey of self-improvement and know that each weakness you address brings you closer to becoming a more well-rounded athlete.

Crossfit Masters Fitness Audit

Weight Plate Template

The simple and easy way to identify your weaknesses and take stock of where you sit on the continuum of pretty rubbish to pretty outstanding. This really is the first practical step you'll need to take to ensure that your brain isn't frazzled trying to prioritise all the skill gaps and strength and fitness shortcomings... we all have them.

But figuring out where these gaps are and how to prioritse them is key to building a solid foundation that you won't have to keep revisiting and rebuilding. To simplify things I suggest breaking things down into the components of:

- Strength
- Fitness
- Mobility
- Nutrition
- Skill

Strength
Let’s look at strength first. Now before we get into the metrics of all the lifts, the deadlift, squat, the Olympic Lifts and so on there’s something that’s actually more important if you want to excel at CrossFit. Are you hitting Rx weights for all workouts? If you are, well done you can move on to the next section but if not then this is your number one priority as far as strength goes. Yes, long term we should look to preserve if not build strength and incorporate certain movements to make this happen but I’ll discuss this in a future blogpost and CrossFit Masters Plan. Your first priority is to address any lifts that prevent you from performing a workout Rx, at least if you want to rank higher on the leaderboard.

Fitness
How can you assess Fitness in a meaningful way? Your rowing 2k time? 5k run? Yes and perhaps no that’s not the full picture as most CrossFit workouts do not consist solely of these events. A more useful yardstick in my opinion is to check a number of short duration workouts and compare times achieved by your age group. In this way you’ll gain meaningful insight into where you stand compared to others in your division. See some examples of named WODs below. This isn’t foolproof however as one confounding factor is the fact that other components may have an impact on your WOD (ie if your WOD consists of 60kg Power Snatches and Double Unders can you perform both effectively and efficiently). So it pays to understand the relevance of both your metrics for timed monostructural work and your times for workouts of varying time domains. See my 
previous post for tips on how to improve performance in cardio dominant workouts >>> Crossfit Masters Pacing

Benchmark WODs

Here are some general benchmarks for the named WODs , categorised into beginner, intermediate, and elite levels. Keep in mind that these benchmarks can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, and individual fitness levels. These are rough guidelines to give you an idea of where you might stand:

Fran (21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups):
Beginner: Completing the workout with scaled weights and band-assisted pull-ups in around 10-15 minutes.
Intermediate: Completing the workout with prescribed weights and unassisted pull-ups in around 6-10 minutes.
Elite: Completing the workout with prescribed weights and unbroken pull-ups in under 5 minutes.

Cindy (AMRAP in 20 minutes of pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats):
Beginner: Completing 5-7 rounds with scaled variations (e.g., ring rows, knee push-ups, assisted squats)
Intermediate: Completing 10-12 rounds with strict pull-ups, full push-ups, and unassisted squats.
Elite: Completing 15 or more rounds with Kiping pull-ups, full push-ups, and unassisted squats.

Helen (3 rounds for time of run, kettlebell swings, and pull-ups):
Beginner: Completing the workout in around 12-15 minutes with scaled weights and band-assisted pull-ups.
Intermediate: Completing the workout in around 9-12 minutes with prescribed weights and unassisted pull-ups.
Elite: Completing the workout in under 9 minutes with prescribed weights and unbroken pull-ups.

Remember, these benchmarks can vary, and the most important aspect is to focus on personal progress and improvement over time.

Skills
This one is pretty self evident. Can I do butterfly pull ups? Yes / No (take a look at my pathetic attempt below). Go through all the skills and create your list of which ones you need to either perform or become more proficient at. Then have a look at the frequency with which they appear in CrossFit Open workouts to prioritise your list. For instance, in the
CrossFit Open since 2011 - 2023 the top 3 skilled movements that appear most frequently are Double Unders, Toes To Bar and Chest To Bar.

Nutrition and Mobility are super important aspects for CrossFit Masters. Standby for useful, actionable content on these in future posts

Work Your Weakness

Picture of EGO with I Am Devine Logo

Human Nature


While it is essential to understand and work on our weaknesses as CrossFit masters, it is not always an easy task. Human nature often tempts us to gravitate towards training areas in which we excel. It's natural to seek validation, receive praise, and have our egos stroked by performing well in exercises we are already proficient in. However, this mindset can limit our overall growth and potential as athletes.

The desire for instant gratification and recognition can be a significant hurdle in addressing weaknesses. It's tempting to stick to our comfort zones, where we can effortlessly showcase our skills and receive accolades. However, true growth lies outside of these comfort zones, in the areas that challenge us the most. By succumbing to our ego's need for validation, we risk stagnation and lack of progress.

To overcome this challenge, it's important to shift our perspective and embrace a growth-oriented mindset. Instead of seeking external validation and kudos, focus on intrinsic motivation and the long-term benefits of improving by working on weaknesses. Recognise that by investing time and effort into areas of improvement, you are laying the foundation for greater overall success and resilience as a CrossFit master.

Ego


To resist the allure of ego-stroking, set specific goals that target your weaknesses. Create a plan that allocates dedicated time and energy towards addressing these areas. This intentional approach helps shift the focus away from seeking praise and towards personal growth and development. Celebrate the small victories and milestones you achieve along the way, reminding yourself that progress in these challenging areas is a testament to your dedication and commitment.

Additionally, surround yourself with a supportive community, one that values personal growth and embraces the process of working on weaknesses. Engage with fellow athletes, seek advice from experienced coaches, and participate in group training sessions as programmed. By immersing yourself in an environment that encourages improvement and supports each other's journeys, you can stay motivated and accountable.

About the Author Stephen Devine

Steve not just a skilled Crossfit Coach, but a top-tier CrossFit Competitor who's ranked in the top 1% worldwide in the 2023 Crossfit Open! And this is despite spending six weeks on crutches following surgery to fix a broken ankle just a year ago. He's Qualified as a Crossfit L1 Coach, Crossfit Gymnastics, and is also a qualified Olympic Weightlifting Coach.

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