Sorry for this very late post. This weekend, I moved into an apartment which was more time-consuming than expected. So many boxes and organizing! I definitely think I PRed my stair climbing with heavy boxes! Moving into my first apartment by myself, I found out that you don’t know you don’t have something until you go to find it and its not there. Did you know things like cooking oil spray and salt don’t just magically appear in the cabinet…it seemingly always did that when I was a kid. I expect these next couple months are going to be interesting learning the ins and outs of apartment living with many more relivations like this.
Likewise when someone first starts CrossFit, one can feel like they are inundated with new things. When I first started CrossFit, I didn’t know anything about Olympic Lifting so just the words snatch, clean, and jerk were new nonetheless the complex movement that went along with them. As one continues to come to CrossFit by finding their own little niche in a certain class time or determining a movements or workouts they enjoy over others, this overwhelming feeling starts to dissipate. Due to the spectrum of CrossFit being so large, different types of athletes excel at certain types of workouts over another: weightlifting over gymnastics or short-duration cardio vs long-duration endurance. For me, I love a good heavy squat cleans because I love the feeling of pulling the bar over, dropping into a low squat, and then determinantly getting up out of the bottom of it. I would take a chipper workout over anything because of the grind mentality of it. There is a goal and it is to plug on even when tired and get it done. Period.
To see this variety, I asked some CrossFit Bangor veterans to answer a couple questions:
- What is your favorite CrossFit movement and why?
- What is your least favorite CrossFit movement and why?
- What kind of workout do you like the best? (Chipper, Rounds/Reps, For Time, Long Duration, Short Duration, etc)
- What movement during your CrossFit experience have you struggled to learn the most?
- Do you still struggle with certain movements?
- Any advice for a fellow CrossFiter?
Favorite Movement: “Love cleans and deads. I like getting heavy and slamming sh** around.”
Least Favorite Movement: “HSPU. They be hard yo! seriously…i’ve worked on them half as*ed for years and only get half as*ed results so it’s my own fault.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “I do love a long slug it chipper with a good mix of barbell and bodyweight gymnasty. just keep swimming nemo.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “Struggled the most with snatch. So many pieces to it and when it clicks it feels so good…well it feels like a snatch. I still struggle with things. pushups for volume. hspu. muscle ups. snatch. dubs. running. pistols. but that’s why i keep coming back. crossfit isn’t supposed to just be easy for the common person. it’s supposed to make you struggle and work at it and reward yourself by throwing barbells around. love this sh**.”
Advice: “Compete with a judge. The atmosphere is electric even at the local friendly comps and being judged makes you humble and you start to realize your movements can always be more complete and not of the bro style.”
Favorite Movement: “My favorites are the Olympic lifts: the snatch and clean and jerk. I like how they develop and demonstrate power, speed, and control.”
Least Favorite Movement: “The deadlift is my least favorite movement. I have a history of back issues and surgery so the deadlift proposes mainly a psychological barrier. I still practice it as a strength movement but exclude it as a movement in metcons.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “I like long duration workouts. As the time domain increases I do better. As far as style of workout, I like the chipper because I can keep starting a new movement with a new set of muscles and motor pattern.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with?: “I still struggle with the back squat and the deadlift. At 45, I’m working against a lifetime of sitting to regain a basic motor pattern.”
Advice: “Remember that CrossFit is a training system for most of us in the general population to improve our overall health. It’s probably most important to learn and dial in good nutrition, proper sleep, and stress management. The good news is CrossFit’s greatest strength is the community, where you can tap into a wealth of information on these things.”
Favorite Movement: “Overhead squat. It’s challenging and you need to link muscular strength with coordination and mobility. If you’re lacking in any of those domains you will not be successful.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “I love chippers, set work and just go. Gives a wide variety of exercises and I love the race.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “Struggled with the DU for awhile. Still struggle with the highly technical gymnastics movements, MU, HSPU etc. “
Advice: “Enjoy the process. Just getting in and moving puts you ahead. Be proud of where you are in the process and don’t get discouraged because you aren’t at someone’s level. Think that is a major reason people stop coming. We were all new at some point, we all have different abilities and goal and that is the beat part of CrossFit. We tailor the workouts to our personal abilities and goals.”
Favorite Movement: “The snatch, such a wonderfully smooth lift once you get the hang of it.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “All kinds, that’s why I do CrossFit!!!”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “I have struggled the most with the deadlift and MU.”
Advice: “Work on yourself, focus on health, never settle because there is always more, have fun, be happy.”
Favorite Movement: “Probably the clean… power of course. It’s something I have always been decent at and it can always be better. It’s a movement that gives me confidence and makes me feel strong. “
Favorite Type of Workout: I LOVE chippers! You have a task to do and once you complete it you get to move on to the next movement/task, it’s motivating to get thru each movement.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “I have struggled with gymnastics movements. Always. I have accepted that it’s something I will never be great at and just try to do what I can and not get too hung up on it. I struggled for a long time to learn to listen to my body and that scaling is NEVER wrong. Training with Tiffany has really taught me a lot and helped me get out of my own head and just workout to have fun and that some days you just need to move and do what you can and not always worry about what the “rx” option says.”
Advice: “Enjoy it. Don’t make yourself crazy because someone else can do something and you can’t, they probably look at you the same way about another movement. The workouts are for you, just do you the best you can.
Favorite Movement: “The deadlift and I also like box jumps”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “I still struggle with anything involving overhead, ie snatches and overhead squats. I feel so strong until I tackle one of these lifts and can barely put up 100 pounds! The snatch is very humbling to me because there are so many pieces to put together to make it smooth.
Advice: “Be coach-able. No matter how long we’ve been doing this, we can still work on technique. Coaches are trained to see our mistakes and they want to help us improve. Be open to that!”
Favorite Movement: “I get excited about doing pull-ups and rope climbs because I worked hard to get strong enough to do them and because prior to starting Crossfit I never would have dreamed I would be capable of doing them.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “Partner workouts of any kind! I work harder as part of a team, I have more fun, and who doesn’t like built in rest?”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “Double unders took me the longest to get the hang of so far, and even still I have ups and downs with them. Box jumps are my biggest hurdle…I am perfectly capable of jumping 20” but, as many have observed, I have terrible anxiety about them and am currently working to get back on the box again. I have days where everything feels like a struggle! The snatch is a consistent challenge, wallballs can suck the life force right out of me, I think push-ups will always be challenging…and there are lots of movements I haven’t, and may never, learn, like muscle ups or strict handstand push-ups.
Advice: “To any fellow crossfitter, new or old (including myself) is to just keep coming back, give yourself permission to be a work in progress, be kind to yourself when you’re having a rough day and accept that your best is going to vary, take the time to get to know the people around you, scale when you need, or even want, to, take pride in the hard things we do, and, most importantly, have fun!”
Favorite Movement/Least Favorite Movement: “My least and most favorite movements vary depending on the day and my energy/fatigue level, but pretty much any time there are burpees i dread them. I don’t look up the workouts ahead of time except on rare occasions so I don’t have the option of thinking ‘i don’t feel like doing movement x today’ and skip attending.”
Favorite Type of Workout: I like workouts that are a bit longer and are aimed at slightly lower intensity but sustained, but i don’t hate the quick ones either. i’ve just learned to pace myself and take it easy since i have the rest of my day to get through too.
Advice: As a person who is really not an athlete, but more someone who does athletic things from time to time, I’d encourage people who feel more like that to just keep showing up, follow instructions, and scale as heavily as you need to to feel successful with each individual workout. You will have fun, feel better physically, and meet really fun people, even without being super hardcore. You might even find yourself eventually leaning into the ‘athlete’ category, just a little
Favorite Movement: “I’d have to say back squats, because back squatting people is a great party trick.”
Least Favorite Movement: “Wall balls, hands down. There is nothing good about a wall ball.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “I really like chippers because once your done with a movement, you’re done and can move on.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: Snatch and double unders. Which I still don’t have consistently! My brain just doesn’t compute these movements. I also never practice dubs…so that probably doesn’t help…
Advice: Don’t be afraid or ashamed to scale a wod! Do the work out that’s best for you…you’ll be much happier (and less sore) that way!
Favorite Movement: “Anything shoulder to overhead, I have shorter arms proportionate to my body so the range is smaller and honestly I just like picking up heavy weight!”
Least Favorite Movement:“Box jumps, again, disproportionately short legs so I have farther to go and I’m not the lightest guy so its a bunch of weight to move around.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “I love sprint style workouts; I can go ham and cut loose. Sprint style let me turn off my brain and just go all out. When workouts get too long or have a lot of components to them I tend to overthink my strategy during the workout which takes time and energy from doing the movements.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “Honestly snatches. Not having lifted weights much before crossfit this was a movement that I have to constantly work on in regards to technique. It is one of the few movements where no matter how strong you are, poor technique limits your weights drastically. I still struggle with snatches and oddly enough split jerks. I love shoulder to overhead but always default to push jerks when the weight gets heavy.”
Advice: ”Set goals for yourself and be patient attaining them. It takes time to build strength and technique so don’t don’t cut corners, that is how you get hurt. Talk to a coach, make a plan, and stick with it. If it was easy, everyone would do it!”
Favorite Movement: “Pull ups. I think that is because that was the first move when I started that I could not do. I did extra work after class because I wanted to get it.”
Favorite Type of Workout: I like longer duration workouts. I think because I am not very good at “sprinting” in short workouts. I would say rounds/reps. If it’s a chipper and there is a movement I don’t like it can be a bit discouraging knowing I have to get through so many reps.
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: I have struggled to learn the muscle up. I am not as coordinated as I would like and a lot of it is about timing. I still struggle with lots of things but the two that stand out the most are squat snatches and overhead squats because it is really hard for me to get into position.
Advice: “Enjoy the process. It is amazing to look back at where I was when I first started until now. We make small progress all the time. Don’t get frustrated even when it’s hard to see it.”
Favorite Movement: “The snatch is my favorite movement since it encompasses all the lifts into one. It’s a difficult lift so I feel like a badas* when I hit heavier weights but feel good about it.”
Favorite Type of Workout: “Long chippers heavy chippers are my favorite. I love grinding through a brutal workout but taking my time doing it.”
Movement(s) Struggled with/Still Struggle with: “Pull ups and push ups are honestly still such a struggle for me since I don’t do them enough. I don’t think I’ve struggled learning any movement. But I’ve also been doing this so long I’m used to the variety.”
Advice: “You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable/drastically out of your comfort zone. Embrace that, embrace the suck and just grind because that will fade and you will end up getting better. A month or a year will go by anyways, might as well keep going and improve”
As you can see, every athlete is different and has their own sets of strengths and struggles with one person’s favorite movement being the movement another finds difficult. As stated within the advice portions, being out of one’s comfort zone is okay even after you have been doing CrossFIt for a while, enjoy the process, give yourself time to be a work in progress, with most of all have fun and enjoy the amazing community of people that you gain when you join.
Until next time,
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