How To Fast Track Your Progress From 'Beginner' To 'Rx' Level CrossFit Athlete

Posted by Tom Sowerby | Filed under Programming Injury Improving Athletic Performance Nutrition Movements Psychology

Regardless of athletic experience, or familiarity with movements, CrossFitters all follow a similar pattern of development. If we can understand this continuum, perhaps we can increase the speed at which we move along it. And for a bunch of people as progress hungry as we CrossFitters are, this has got to be a good thing!

Changes occur in a learner as a function of practice and training. Training improves such components of fitness as strength, power, stamina and cardiorespiratory endurance. These factors though are relatively easy to improve. It is the practice and skill development that really holds the key to becoming a better CrossFitter, faster.

Several key factors indicate our progress towards competence, and eventually, 'CrossFit expertise'. Let's look at these factors and suggest ways to fast track each of them.

Muscle re-organisation:

The Science:

As we practice complex movements, we become stronger at them. This is not to say we become stronger, just stronger at the movement. Muscle re-organisation increases return by less co-contraction (muscles activating that don't need to be activated - therefore making movement less efficient), and a reduction in both electro-mechanical and relaxation delays.

How we can fast track this:

Learn complex movements from a skilled coach. Practice (rather than 'train') these movements with varying loads at high repetitions. Set aside specific times to 'practice'.

Movement Efficiency:

The Science:

Efficiency is increased in terms of less energy for the same output and a reduction in oxygen demand. Timing is improved as an individual becomes competent, as are spatial accuracy and consistency.

How we can fast track this:

Learn complex movements from a skilled coach. Practice (rather than 'train') these movements with varying loads at high repetitions. Set aside specific times to 'practice'.

Cue Selection:

The Science:

Cue selection is advanced, there is a greater level of pattern recognition, and irrelevant cues are suppressed. As the learner moves towards expertise, the task requires less attention demands, and automaticity results. Expertise also results in improved error detection and correction. As a CrossFitter, this allows us to analyse our performance and make corrections to improve efficiency.

How we can fast track this:

Learn complex movements from a skilled coach. Practice (rather than 'train') these movements with varying loads at high repetitions. Set aside specific times to 'practice'.

Notice a pattern? All the strategies are the same. Too many CrossFitters are about ‘train train train’. Our linking of fitness profiling with individualised programming and specific skill weakness identification and eradication flips the coin. Shift your attention to ‘practice practice practice’ and reap the benefits.

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