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Maybe you stumbled across an ad for CrossFit classes on Facebook and you want to give it a try; or perhaps you’ve finally taken the first step into a box and have mastered the basics; or even you are a seasoned CrossFit athlete looking to take their performance to the next level. Whatever the circumstance, we can all improve our performance during workouts, and therefore maximize our overall fitness. Like everything in CrossFit, there is a systematic model to everything we do, including our process of sharpening our skills and building our engine. Whether you are just starting out or a veteran athlete, here are 4 simple (kind of) steps to get better at CrossFit:

*Credit: this 4-step progression is an excerpt from the CompTrain Competition Guide

  1. Find the Edge

These are 4 simple (kind of) steps for a reason: they are simple enough that anyone can do them, but hard enough that most people don’t even try. First things first, you need to get a sense of what you are capable of, and slowly transition into what you are not capable of. That zone in between the two is the sweet spot. To create and sustain any progress, we need to live, eat, sleep, and breathe in that zone. For some, perhaps taking that first step into a CrossFit gym is stepping into that zone. For beginners that are trying to learn a pull-up, perhaps substituting some banded pulls (instead of ring rows that you know you can do) for a few reps constitutes the zone. Whatever the case may be, we need to find, accept, and thrive in that “no-man’s land” of what we can and can’t do.

2. Get Uncomfortable

To take the first steps into that zone, we are going to get uncomfortable; but most importantly, we have to be OK with that. Learning any new skill is uncomfortable. Remember the first time you road a bike? It was scary as hell! Remember the first time you asked a girl or guy on a date? Get me outta here! But you had to do it in order to show yourself that you can. CrossFit is the same way. Staying in our safe zone isn’t going to cut it; staying with only what we know we can do won’t cut it. Let’s say you are convinced that you can’t do CrossFit, but you’ve never tried it before. Do you really know you can’t do it? If you know you can’t do a muscle up, but have never tried it, can you really not do a muscle up? In either case, you’ll never know if you can do it unless you actually get uncomfortable and try it.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Why do most people not like getting uncomfortable? They are afraid of not being good at something. Typically, when we are comfortable doing a task, it usually means we are pretty good at it. So we can get stuck in the cycle of only sticking with what we know how to do. However, if you truly want to get better at CrossFit, or even try it for the first time, you have to fail. You are going to fail. And you have to fail a lot. But guess what… THAT’S OK. Just because you can’t do something one day, it doesn’t mean you can’t come back the next day and try to get better.

4. Be Consistent

Here’s the deal; everything we have presented this far may not come naturally. In fact, finding your edge, getting uncomfortable, and accepting failure are skills within themselves. They take practice. Do not expect yourself to all of a sudden be able to execute Steps 1-3. Practice makes perfect, but only if your practice is perfect. You don’t have to be perfect in these areas of your CrossFit training, but your mindset to give them a try can be perfect. Let’s go with that.

It doesn’t matter who you are. Give these simple (kind of) steps a try and see what happens. Now let’s get to work.