Thinking outside the ‘CrossFit Box’

Henry Ford's lazy employee sitting at a desk

Henry Ford's lazy employee

There are many stories and quotes attributed to Henry Ford some of them including this one may actually be true. Much like the BBC I don’t like the truth getting in the way of a good story.

So here goes.

Henry Ford was giving a tour of his offices to some executives, one of whom questioned why he paid $50,000 to a man who spent most of his time with his feet up on his desk. Without pausing Ford replied “A few years ago that man came up with an idea that saved me $1,000,000 and his feet were exactly where they are right now, on his desk”

The story has become a popular way to illustrate the importance of valuing creative thinking and innovation in the workplace. It is often used to emphasise the idea that true value lies in the ability to generate new ideas and solutions, rather than simply putting in hours at a desk.

Performance Plateau

Now if you’re a Crossfit Masters Athlete and you’re failing to make progress or have plateaued you may want to consider some new ideas.
Simply doubling down on your CrossFit Classes just won’t cut it. It's time to shift your focus and think outside the ‘CrossFit Box’ literally
While it's easy to get caught up in the high-intensity workouts and constantly pushing yourself to your limits in CrossFit classes, this approach may not be the most effective or efficient way to improve as a Masters athlete. Instead of solely relying on class time to improve the areas where you’re not so strong. You’ll know what these areas are because you dread seeing them on the Whiteboard.
In the areas where you struggle, such as mobility, endurance, or strength. Instead of avoiding them or simply relying on class time to work on them, it's wise to develop a training plan works the weakness.

By dedicating time outside of your classes to work on the areas where you’re underperforming, you can make significant improvements in your overall Crossfit ability and start climbing the leaderboard. This might involve working with a coach to develop a personalised training plan, incorporating targeted exercises to address your weaknesses, and tracking your progress over time.

Here's what I would do for strength.

While CrossFit incorporates a wide range of exercises and workouts, focusing on three fundamental strength movements can be the key to overcoming those stubborn performance plateaus. We're going to look at how integrating snatch grip deadlifts, overhead presses, and squats into your training regimen can unlock new levels of strength, power, and overall athletic performance.

Snatch Grip Deadlifts:
Snatch grip deadlifts are a variation of the traditional deadlift, where the lifter adopts a wider grip, similar to the grip used in the snatch lift. This exercise targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the posterior chain, back, glutes, and hamstrings. By incorporating snatch grip deadlifts into your training routine, you can develop greater hip and back strength, improve overall stability, and enhance your explosiveness. There are also benefits in terms of mobility. Being able to develop power in the start position of this movement requires that your hips ankles and lower back are up to the task. These benefits directly transfer to other CrossFit movements such as Olympic lifts, kettlebell swings, and box jumps, allowing you to overcome strength plateaus and reach new heights.

Overhead Press:
The overhead press is a classic upper-body exercise that primarily targets the shoulders, triceps, and upper back muscles. It involves pushing a weight overhead from a starting position in front of the shoulders. This movement not only develops upper body strength but also enhances stability and core engagement. By incorporating overhead presses into your training, you'll build stronger shoulders, improve your pressing strength, and develop the stability required for movements like handstand push-ups and overhead squats.


Squats are considered the king of lower body exercises and an essential component of any CrossFit program. They engage multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Squats not only improve lower body strength and power but also enhance mobility and stability throughout the entire body. By incorporating squats into your routine, you'll build a solid foundation of strength and stability, leading to improved performance in movements like wall balls, box jumps, and Olympic lifts. Overcoming strength plateaus in these dynamic movements often requires a strong squat foundation.

When it comes to breaking through performance plateaus, focusing on three key strength movements can work wonders for CrossFit masters. Snatch grip deadlifts, overhead presses, and squats provide a comprehensive approach to strength development, targeting multiple muscle groups, enhancing stability, and improving overall athleticism. By incorporating these movements into your training regimen, you'll build a solid foundation of strength, power, and stability, enabling you to overcome plateaus and reach new levels of performance. Remember, consistency, proper form, and progressive overload are essential in your journey to becoming a stronger, fitter, and more resilient CrossFit athlete.

Remember, the road to success in CrossFit is not always easy, and it requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. 
Keep pushing with these movements and you’ll develop what appears to others like an unfair advantage.

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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