This blog is for the beginners at CrossFit New Haven. When I speak to beginners, I am not stating that you are a beginner to fitness. Yes, you might be a reformed couch dweller or you might be that former Div 1 athlete with a current Iron Man entry goal. It's not the amount of skill or fitness you show up with. Quite honestly, as a coach, it's sometimes easier to train an athlete to squat who has never squatted, than to train an athlete that has improperly squatted for years. When I refer to beginner, I am referring to your time you have been at CrossFit New Haven.
You have most likely taken On Ramp classes, or went through the Personal On Ramp (personal training) sessions of the same content. Now you are in it to win it. In CrossFit, a beginner is typically someone who has taken their training from On Ramp up to about six (6) months of classes. This six month window is when you learn the technique of ALL skills and movements; not just the ones you learned in On Ramp. If you are coming in your minimum 3 days/week or less, it will take you at least 6 months to get through the myriad of movements in our classes and give you enough exposure to them. You are turned loose into the entire schedule of our class WOD's. There are 10 opportunities of class times in a weekday which you can choose to take. Pick and choose your times so you can ensure you will workout. I have heard that some of the 5:30am crew wears their workout clothes to bed so they can just roll right into their cars and get it done. RESPECT to you early risers who are that motivated and dedicated.
Here's that turning point, you might be a week or two out of OnRamp and you find yourself doing the dreaded WOD shopping. This means you are picking and choosing which days to come, based on movements you see on the daily WOD posts you try to avoid. We, your coaches, want to know “why?” Are there movements you don't know and are afraid to find out? Was there something in On Ramp you were not confident with and you see it come up and panic? Is it that 800 meter repeat and your legs are killing you from the back squats 2 days ago? Coach Poach does an incredible job of sprinkling all necesarry accessory movements, skill strengthening variations, right up to barbell lifts, the power gymnastics or the grueling metocns. He would not make you do anything your body is boycotting. What's that? He just posted, what….CINDY AGAIN? You are saying now, “I can't even do a pull-up yet”!
(photo courtesy of lazyjstudios)
I really want to take a moment now to urge you to rethink your idea to not come to class. Walk through those doors. Get with your coach and tell him or her that you need to scale whatever is necessisary. (This part of the blog is for all CFNH'ers of any level) That may be any moment you have any reason to doubt there is a movement you are not ready for. There are critical elements that your coach can focus on for you to get your pull up, push up, squat, TTB, double under or any movement that stands in your way.
Any of our movements at CrossFit New Haven can be scaled or modified. This doesn't in any way mean reducing your intensity. It really just refers to reducing a mechanical disadvantage you may have in a movement. It's what keeps you motivated that keeps you coming back. Keeping your mechanical advantage at a level that helps you excel will keep you motivated. In turn, it helps you build in your power, strength and confidence. Our coaches will advise you how to best attempt any element you may need scaling with. It may mean a SVPU (Seated Verticle Pull Up), or ring rows. Do you have a shoulder injury? Then we want to strengthen your shoulder, not injure it further. So, you may need to do push ups against a wall. Scaling may mean lowering rep count to keep you moving and intensity loaded. Maybe you have 2 double unders, but the programmed 75 is just too much for you. Your coach will have you do 10 DU's instead of 75 attempts. No DU's? Screw it. Master 75 singles unbroken. Or double skip the 75 and keep moving with confidence and intensity. You may have arrived at CFNH with some skills like a push up; but lack the proper technique. If this is you, fix those poor muscle motor pathways; which could lead to injury. Scale any movement back to proper form and correct the levers that work to build a mecahnical advantage and improve your game. Then you will not plateau. This is a huge takeaway for all CrossFit New Haven athletes, not just the beginners. You may have to break down what is causing your barrier to success and retrain your muscles and mind to get to the next big gains.
Back to the newbies. These six months are your building blocks for the real stuff that comes over time. Your coaches can only help you to build strength and speed once they have assisted you to lock in the technique. Beginners need the variety of movements and technique in order to see progression. Notice your individual flexibility, mobility, previous injury, and proficency. These factors will have an impact on your personal progress. So, have patience with yourself. Six months out from now, and you will be your own greatest success stories.
Doug, Bethany, Claudia and Justin just wrapped up OnRamp last month. Welcome to all our smiling new faces at CFNH.