It’s inevitable that you will eventually hit a plateau in CrossFit after your initial “Honeymoon” phase which can last 18-24 months. In this honeymoon phase, everything is fairly new, you’re not nearly as strong as you could be, and you’ve never done most of the skills involved.
It’s so new to you, you can only go up from here.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’VE PLATEAUED?
There are a few different ways to tell if you’re stuck making progress and just running through motions every day.
- Your weights in the workouts haven’t increased much at all in the last 6+ months.
- You still haven’t gotten your first or multiple pull-ups, push-ups, and other bodyweight movements.
- Your cardio still sucks or just isn’t where you want it to be.
- Your ability to go faster or your endurance hasn’t improved in 6+ months.
For the rest of this content, we will reference the example WOD below. Make sure to read the notes along with the workout itself.
3 Rounds of:
800 Meter Run
20 Toes to Bar
10 Power Cleans
*27:00 Time Cap
*Run – 5 minutes or less each round.
*T2B – 2 minutes or less each round.
*Power Cleans – 2 minutes or less each round. Moderate/heavy and done in small sets or quick singles.
Beg – 95/65
Int – 155/105
Adv – 185/135
STEP 1 – FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU MIGHT STRUGGLE
This workout has one of each Cardio, Gymnastics, and Weightlifting movement so you will definitely find yourself much better at one than another.
As you look through the movements and the rep scheme for each you will need to reference the notes and ask yourself if that is probable or even possible. These notes are a guide and not something set in stone. There is flexibility but we will dive into that later.
STEP 2 – THINK OF “1 STEP BACK AND 2 STEPS FORWARD”
Another way to look at it is “It will get worse before it gets better” and here is what that means. In a workout that is timed, you have to go in knowing you may not finish before the time cap. If it’s an AMRAP, you have to go in knowing you may not get as many rounds and reps as the notes called for.
Both of these scenarios are completely acceptable. It’s ok to struggle and fail a little bit.
In this workout, pick the one movement you want to do more with and make that your focus.
BORROW AND STEAL YOUR EFFORTS
As you look at the notes and the recommended times for each movement and reps, you may find that you can crush one but not the other.
- Example 1: Let’s say you’re a great runner and you’ve been wanting to do heavier power cleans in a workout. You do your run in 4 minutes so you’ve earned an extra minute to do your power cleans later that round.
- Example 2: Let’s say you don’t care to lift heavier but you want to get your cardio up. Keep those power cleans nice and light so you can buy yourself more time for that 800 meter run.
WHAT IF I STRUGGLE WITH MORE THAN 1 OF THE MOVEMENTS?
Especially with beginner and intermediate athletes, this can happen quite a bit. With most workouts, you may have the time to struggle with more than one movement so for that workout, you’ll pick the one that makes sense for you for that day.
THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES TO TRY NEW THINGS
Too many times you’ve heard us say “choose your own adventure” because some workouts allow more flexibility than others. There are two types in particular:
- AMRAPs – You are working for a certain amount of time regardless so does it really matter much if you only get 3 rounds instead of 4? Not really if you go into the working knowing this might be the case.
- Max Effort – You’ll see these written a couple of different ways.
- 1:00 max reps of power cleans. Go lighter and do more reps or heavier and get fewer reps.
- AMRAP with a Max Effort buy-in. You see this like AMRAP x 8 and you’ll run, do some toes to bar, and with the time left, you’ll do as many cleans as possible. So what if you get 4 or 8 or 12 reps.
Look at the workout ahead of time and come up with a plan of where you want to put your focus that day.
Be flexible and go into the workout knowing you will sacrifice time and reps to improve in the long run.
Enjoy the process. We all love CrossFit because it’s brutal and the hardest workout you can do so when you make it even tougher, enjoy it!