Breaking Through Mental Barriers and Avoiding Plateaus

Hitting plateaus is part of CrossFit and working out in general. The less training experience we have, the longer it takes to hit a plateau, but eventually the point will come that we are stuck on the same squat number and Fran time without truly understanding why. Think back to when you first started CrossFit, did you hit a PR practically every week? My guess is yes, at least for your first couple months of working out. This is due to something called our training age. The less experience we have, the faster we tend to see increases in load and decreases in our workout times. With time these numbers become harder and harder to improve. Below you will find some of my favorite tips to avoid stalling out and crush through your PR’s!

1. Don’t just worry about hitting 1RM PR’s. Instead concentrate on making your current 1RM a 2RM or your 3RM a 5RM. This will build overall strength and eventually lead you to a higher overall work capacity.

2. Decrease your higher repetition work and include more 1-rep maxes. Often times we forget to include max effort work for the fear of getting injured or fear of failure. If you rotate your max effort work weekly the risk of injury is low assuming you’re already have efficient movement patterns.

3. Concentrate on speed work. Using 50% of a 1RM and doing 10×3 every 45-60 secs is a great way to build strength and will be surprisingly difficult. Just make sure you are being as explosive as possible.

4. Increase loads by unfamiliar increments. Often times we use the same strategy when building to a max. Change these increments up by taking different jumps to build to your 1RM attempt.

5. Change your warm-up strategy in an effort to preserve yourself for heavier lifts. Spending an exorbitant amount of time warming up can take away from your heavier work. Keep your warm-ups short and efficient.

6. Think small! Not every PR has to be by 20 pounds, a 5-pound PR is a big deal!

7. Ensure your rest periods are optimal, for example a maximal deadlift may require up to 5 minutes of rest between your maximal efforts. Have a plan going into a max out session and make sure you are leaving yourself enough rest between maximal attempts.

8. Include active recovery work in your training week. Aerobic work can be done a variety of ways and is proven to facilitate recovery. Also resting and doing soft tissue work (Foam Rolling/Mobility) will provide your body a chance to recover and perform optimally.

9. Include more GPP based work in the form of sled work and loaded carry variations. While this stuff isn’t as sexy on paper it is incredibly beneficial for all athletes

10. Use more assistance work to improve lagging muscle-groups. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Find out where you are weakest on your lifts and start prioritizing the primary movers associated with these limitations. This will take some trial and error, but experimentation is one of the best parts of our growth in the weight room.

If you are still struggling to hit new PR’s and goals get with one of our qualified coach and improve upon your technique. You wouldn’t not pay someone to do your taxes if you knew you couldn’t do them yourself right? Same goes with a coach, they will break apart your lifts and make sure you are doing everything right to not only hit your goals but blow through them! To schedule a time to talk with a coach follow this link