Done correctly CrossFit is fun, effective, efficient and safe. By making the workouts into a game CrossFit has made participation fun and motivating. It is fun to outperform yourself and see your personal bests and know you are improving and that you can quantify that improvement. It is fun to outperform your classmates and your buddies in the gym and across the world. You can compare your Grace score to your friend in Moose Jaw or Honolulu.
That’s the only way I got motivated to get better at double unders which I hated practicing. When I finally got my first consecutive 10 in a row and put it on the personal best board, my buddy immediately did 11 and went and wrote Corey+1 on the board beside my achievement. That spurred me to do 20. And he did 21. He only stopped chasing me when I got over 70 consecutive double unders but by that time the competition was irrelevant, we were both finally pretty good at double unders. The competition had served to motivate me to chase after a skill I really didn’t enjoy and now I am quite comfortable with them and confident with my double under skills when they show up in workouts and in competition. And my friend and I bonded over some fun in-gym banter.
So inducing competition by gamifying the workouts can be fun and beneficial so long as you are using competition as the tool to improve your fitness and your skills. Did you get that? Competition is the tool. The goal is improved fitness and skill. Let me say it in another way in case you missed it: competition is a means to an end, it is not in itself the goal.
In a healthy community competition with ourselves and/or each other lifts us all up and we all become fitter and better. With healthy competition we all come out winners no matter if you placed first or last. Competition spurs us each to do our best. And doing your best is all that matters. Whatever position you finish in you can go home satisfied that you gave it your best effort.
But the dark side always lurks in the shadows. The dark side whispers that you are not measured by effort but by how you compare to others. And as it eats away at your ego it offers up shortcuts to victory. Win by any means necessary. Shave reps, short the movements, forget about good form. Adn avoid workouts that you know you cannot win. Avoid the things you are weakest at for fear your ego may take damage.
CrossFitters drawn in by the temptation of the darkside have lost their way, they have mistaken competition as the end goal instead of the means to achieving greater goals. For those on the dark side they will take a win today over improvement tomorrow. As a result, their success in CrossFit will be limited and short lived. Shaving reps and shorting movements will not contribute to their fitness level but actually robs them of the full benefit of the workout. Worse they will begin to themselves as cheaters and will doubt their own ability to perform honestly. Their wins will begin to feel hollow and their enjoyment in the gym will fade. Avoiding weaknesses will prevent them from fully realizing their fitness potential and always leave them dominant in some areas but feeling incomplete in others.
Most people aren’t cheaters. And hopefully most of you show up for the WOD no matter what is programmed. But when rushed or tired it is still tempting to abandon good form to achieve a win, This is not cheating per se, but it is cheating yourself. You are robbing yourself of health and skill development. Using sloppy form to get through the workout denies you the opportunity to get better at a skill. Everything you practice builds a habit. If you practice poor form, poor form becomes a habit and habits are hard to break. But bodies subjected to poor form break easily. Every CrossFit movement is functional and performed correctly with appropriate speed and loading, serves as a rehab exercise, an exercise that makes you functionally fitter and stronger and healthier. But performed incorrectly or with inappropriate speed or loads, the same movement threatens to do damage to your body and shorten your CrossFit lifespan. And injuries will detract from your enjoyment of training.
The dark side will tell you it doesn’t matter if your chest didn’t quite touch the ground on that last push up rep or if you pushed off just a bit with your knees on that one. Your coach will tell you differently: every rep matters. In the gym and in life. Competition is a tool used to motivate you to get more reps but at days’ end it doesn’t matter how many reps you got, what matters is that they were all good reps! Hold yourself to a higher standard. Hold yourself to the highest standard! And celebrate yourself when you achieve it. It is not just a moral victory, you will have achieved the ultimate end which is improved health and fitness! First place or last, you will be the winner.
This one does not need a lot of equipment and it can be a great workout even at low intensity. You can easily substitute the row with a short run (200m) a minute of cycling or skipping or even 30 SDHP’s with an empty barbell or barbell substitute. Push ups are a great substitute for dips. As long as you have a dumbbell or dumbbell substitute you are good to go because, let’s face it, this workout is mostly about the Turkish Get Ups.
In the gym, I recommend slowing down. Forget about the 20 minute timer and try completing 3 rounds at a low intensity. Slow row. Try for strict dips instead of kipping. And take your time on the Turkish Get Ups. If you pick the right weight, 3 rounds should take you about 20 minutes.
Equipment: Band, dumbbell or dumbbell substitute, rower or row substitute
5 mins of:
20 cal Row
15 Judo Push Up Rocks
10 Alt No-Hand Get Ups
Row and row subs
Dips or push ups
20 min AMRAP
20 cal Row
10 DB TGU
Banded Shoulder Pass Throughs
Banded Hamstring Stretch