7 Tips to Get Better at CrossFit & Be the Athlete You Want to Be

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Looking to ramp up your CrossFit Performance and bust through your PR Plateaus?

Let’s face it.

Plateaus are frustrating and going to the box day after day seeing little to no progress can really bring you down.

Let’s take a look at 7 top tips by pros in the industry on how to get better at CrossFit, and level up your CrossFit success so you can be the athlete you dream of being.

woman at CrossFit gym

1. Scale Your Reps and Not Your ROMS

This Tip is from Ben from WODPrep. Ben advises newbies to scale their Reps instead of their ROM.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom which commonly tells the CrossFit newbie to scale the move itself.

An example of scaling your ROM or Range of motion, would be doing single unders if you cannot do double unders.

Or doing pushups on your knees if you cannot do strict push-ups. Ben argues that you will never get good at double unders if you substitute single unders and this goes for other challenging moves as well.

If you want to get better at CrossFit, do the strict form.

Ben argues that if all you want is just a good workout, substituting moves is fine, but if you want to improve your CrossFit Performance than the only way to do that is by doing the actual move, even if it means you can only do ¼ of what the WOD prescribes.

2. Work on Strict Movements, Even When You Could Use Kipping Movements

This tip from Sara Sigmundsdottir is similar to tip one, except in this case, when a WOD calls for AMRAP or a move that can be done using kipping, you use the strict form instead.

For example, if the WOD calls for AMRAP pull-ups for time, most people would use kipping pull-ups because it is easier to bang out a ton of kipping pull-ups but the same amount of strict pull-ups is much harder.

Want to know how to get stronger in CrossFit?

Sara says strict form movements build strength, control and power and cannot be faked. If you want to get better at CrossFit, try using the strict form of moves, even if the WOD does not require the strict form.

3. Incorporate these Three Exercises into Your Routines

This tip comes from TeamRICHEY who says these three exercises will help improve your CrossFit performance and that you should add them to your workout because they are not often done during WODs, but can support other CrossFit movements.

One arm dumbbell Row

The one arm dumbbell row involved horizontal pulling movement which compliments and contrasts to push-ups and overhead movements.

This movement builds upper back strength that can reduce risk of injury from all the shoulder to overhead moves in CrossFit.

Front Rack One Legged Bulgarian Split Squat

Why?

It builds strength and flexibility in the hip flexors, an area many athletes are tight, especially those of us who sit at a desk all day.

This squat also massively works stabilizing muscles, especially hip and knee stability, because it is done using just one leg at a time, unlike traditional squats done on two legs.

One arm overhead Kettlebell press

This move, unlike a barbell overhead press, forces you to really activate your core and use your shoulder muscles.

You cannot compensate with the other arm or use the bar for stabilization. This move forces you to focus on your lifting form.

If you do not have time to do these exercises at your local box, maybe you should consider setting up a small CrossFit gym in your house.

Here is a list of the basic equipment you need to build a CrossFit Garage Gym and get these three exercises done on your off time at home.

two people start a running in CrossFit gym

4. Increasing Your One Rep Max to Improve Your Metcon Performance

This tip comes from Brute Strength. He makes a good point in that many athletes believe they struggle with Metcons due to a cardiovascular training issue and that is why they get out of breath.

But…

What the Brute Strength presenter is saying is that most of us actually only struggle like this on certain movements and the reason we struggle is that we need to build strength on those movements.

He uses thrusters as an example.

If you get out of breath performing thrusters during a metcon, try building your 1 rep max or 3 rep max for thrusters and you will see your performance improve for this move the next time it comes up in a Metcon.

Solid tip!

5. Perfect Your Squat

This tip comes from Box Life Magazine. Take a good hard look at your body weight squat.

Take a video and evaluate your squat to check that:

  • Your heels make contact with the floor on each squat.
  • Your knees track outwards.
  • Your hips go just slightly lower than the level of your knees.
  • Your spine is in a neutral and vertical position.

Why does squat form matter so much if you want to get better at CrossFit?

Because the squat, in one form or another, is a part of so many CrossFit exercises, including heavy lifting and benchmark moves.

Because the squat is involved in so many CrossFit moves, a squat with bad form means you leave yourself open to a lot more opportunity for injury.

On the other hand…

Perfecting your squat means perfecting form on upwards of 50% of all CrossFit moves.

couple doing set of box jumps in crossfit gym

6. Get Your Nutrition in Order

This tip comes straight from the Horse’s mouth, Greg Glassman and the CrossFit Journal.

Greg Glassman created a CrossFit Pyramid and guess what sits at the base level of this pyramid?

That’s right. NUTRITION.

Glassman advocates a diet of meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, just some fruit, only a little starch and NO sugar. This type of diet leads to the best improvement and Glassman says nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit.

Giving 100% effort at the box, only to fuel your body with less than optimal nutrition is leaving a lot of the table in terms of performance.

Cleaning up your diet, according to Mr. Glassman, can “bring a jet stream of adaptation”.

7. You Must Interval Train, Even if it is Boring or Un-Sexy

Interval training builds speed, increases lactate threshold, and increases your endurance. Many athletes skip interval training, fail to program enough of it, or don’t take it seriously.

That’s understandable.

Interval training is not sexy. Sure, you would much rather post to Facebook or Instagram about how you annihilated Fran, Helen or Grace, or did the “300” as prescribed.

But interval training? That’s Boring!

However, interval training is crucial to your success!

Interval training pushes you past your Aerobic capacity for a short time.

This forces your body to adapt and increase cardiovascular and aerobic capacity so it will be ready the next time you push it.

Basically, interval training prompts a cascade of adaption in your body without keeping it under constant stress.

Need an easy way to keep track of CrossFit Intervals? Check out these CrossFit watches.

That’s if for our 7 Tips for how to get better at CrossFit.

Looking for CrossFit workouts you can do from home?

We have curated a great list here, including CrossFit workouts and WODs you can do with NO equipment and WODs for CrossFit Newbies. Check it out!

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