It’s widely accepted that the key to fitness success in CrossFit is intensity. In fact, it just about the first topic that’s covered at your level I Cert. It’s all about doing more work faster. It’s about power. Lift more weight. Do more reps. Run faster. Jump farther. Push it harder. Make it hurt. Push yourself to your limits. Get uncomfortable. Then do it again, but this time better and faster.
For many people, this doesn’t come naturally. Because it’s hard? Heck yes. That much is obvious. But there’s something less talked about in the world of intensity that holds some people back… sometimes pushing yourself hard feels almost silly.
That’s right. Silly. I got to thinking about this today after it came up twice in less than an hour at open gym. One particular person was asking about any tips for getting into a groove on box jumps. When I gave my opinion about swinging the arms in a particular fashion to create a pattern she responded reluctantly with “it just seems so violent.”
Soon after I was helping another person with her Clean and Jerk upon which I requested just that; more “violence” in the jump. (Side note: this direction was given to the same person who has never missed a 5×5 back squat which she attributes to being too afraid to dump the weight and is also too embarrassed to grunt coming out of the hole).
This led to a discussion about how doing some things like grunting on a squat, or “chicken necking” to get your face out of the way on a power jerk, or even REALLY exploding violently on an olympic lift can be tough for some people because it just plain feels silly. For many people, particularly for beginners, embarrassment is a huge factor in one’s self limiting intensity.
I can think back to countless 1 on 1 element’s sessions with beginners when while teaching them to pressurize with a big breath or jump hard on a clean was met with uncomfortable giggles. I can even think back to times when that was me.
If this is something that you can currently relate to, you must trust me when I say LET IT LOOSE! Sure, it can look a little funny. It can seem a little violent. You might grunt or scream or even cry. But when you learn to let it all go you will set yourself free and truly benefit from what CrossFit has to offer.
10 Power Cleans (155/105)
5 Muscle Ups
50 Double Unders