The Four Invisible Pillars

 After CrossFitting for nearly a decade and owning an affiliate for 8 or more years, you get to watch a lot of workouts.  On the count of 3, 2, 1, go!, I’ve watched thousands of people launch into the throws of three rounds for time. I’ve seen countless 20 minute AMRAP’s, ascending and descending ladders, Murphs, 12 days of Christmas iterations, Open WODs, and other monstrous CrossFit Frankenstein workouts.  I’ve learned the general timelines of growth, tendencies of energy expenditure, and the nature of injury in regards to the prescription of adventure we dose to the common man.  In the last decade, the sport of CrossFit has radically changed, but when people are looking to make breakthroughs, I walk them over to the invisible pillars of CrossFit.  We walk right by the obvious pillars, the ones we already know about.  We nod respectfully at the Strict Pullup, Presses and the Dead Lift. We slow a little to pay homage to both of the Squats: the twin titans; and then we actually pause for one moment and stare at the beauty and power of the Clean and the Snatch.  But, we keep moving and I lead them back to exercises they know well, but maybe didn’t know carried so much weight.  Here’s the hack for your CrossFit.  Determine in your mind first, and then your daily practice, that you will master:  Burpees  Wall Balls  Double Unders  Toes to Bar  This is a way to level the ground in 80% of the WOD’s you come across.  It can take a beginner who’s got a lot of work to do in Strength and Oly Lifts, and let them run with the pack.  A veteran without these four pillars dug deep and set in concrete, will likely have lost ground at some competition or watched their position plummet on the CrossFit Open Leaderboard.     Burpees:   This is mental, and you must start with your mind.  Everyone hates burpees. You don’t have to like them either, but you need to determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.  This is not a technique heavy movement.  It does not discriminate gender. Revolution.   Wallballs:   This is mental, and you must start with your mind.  Everyone hates Wallballs. You don’t have to like them either, but you need to determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.  This move discriminates against the immobile, and short people, but if I can do this, you can do this.  Revolution.   Double-Unders (a.k.a. “Anger Makers”):   This is mental, and you must start with your mind (You’re getting the point right?).  Everyone hates Double-Unders. You don’t have to like them either, but you need to determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.  This move does not discriminate gender, or strength, but your anger keeps you from practicing.  You’ve got to devote time with the rope. Stop watching YouTube videos, you don't need any more cues, and set a three minute clock to practice after every class.  Revolution.   Toes to Bar:   This is not all mental--you’re not crazy--but it’s still no excuse.  This move takes some strength and coordination to learn. If you have your kipping pull-up, then you should have your toes to bar—you just haven't put enough value on it.  You need more time on the bar, like when you couldn’t stop trying for your kipping pullup because you wanted it so bad. And you know what’s coming next...at some point you must determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.  Some of you reading this just need to dedicate regular time to these pillars.  Your strength is there and the coordination will come with repeated attempts and play. Others need a coach to cue you, film you, take you through hands on gymnastic patterns and identify efficiency issues--maybe even just tell you when to show up and what to do to get one of these.  Most people reading this will continue to avoid the vegetables I’m telling you to eat.  Test the idea though, I dare you. Keep an eye out and see how many people suffer when you are missing one or more of these pillars.  You can cover up for a while if you've only got one of these weaknesses. But, if two of these pillars show up in a WOD, you're in trouble. If you get triple whammied in one WOD, you're likely gonna find something to watch on Netflix instead hitting the 5:30 class.  Master these four moves and it will serve your whole CrossFit life. More play. More fun!

After CrossFitting for nearly a decade and owning an affiliate for 8 or more years, you get to watch a lot of workouts.  On the count of 3, 2, 1, go!, I’ve watched thousands of people launch into the throws of three rounds for time. I’ve seen countless 20 minute AMRAP’s, ascending and descending ladders, Murphs, 12 days of Christmas iterations, Open WODs, and other monstrous CrossFit Frankenstein workouts.  I’ve learned the general timelines of growth, tendencies of energy expenditure, and the nature of injury in regards to the prescription of adventure we dose to the common man.

In the last decade, the sport of CrossFit has radically changed, but when people are looking to make breakthroughs, I walk them over to the invisible pillars of CrossFit.  We walk right by the obvious pillars, the ones we already know about.  We nod respectfully at the Strict Pullup, Presses and the Dead Lift. We slow a little to pay homage to both of the Squats: the twin titans; and then we actually pause for one moment and stare at the beauty and power of the Clean and the Snatch.  But, we keep moving and I lead them back to exercises they know well, but maybe didn’t know carried so much weight.

Here’s the hack for your CrossFit.  Determine in your mind first, and then your daily practice, that you will master:

Burpees

Wall Balls

Double Unders

Toes to Bar

This is a way to level the ground in 80% of the WOD’s you come across.  It can take a beginner who’s got a lot of work to do in Strength and Oly Lifts, and let them run with the pack.  A veteran without these four pillars dug deep and set in concrete, will likely have lost ground at some competition or watched their position plummet on the CrossFit Open Leaderboard.  

Burpees:

This is mental, and you must start with your mind.  Everyone hates burpees. You don’t have to like them either, but you need to determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.

This is not a technique heavy movement.  It does not discriminate gender. Revolution.

Wallballs:

This is mental, and you must start with your mind.  Everyone hates Wallballs. You don’t have to like them either, but you need to determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.

This move discriminates against the immobile, and short people, but if I can do this, you can do this.  Revolution.

Double-Unders (a.k.a. “Anger Makers”):

This is mental, and you must start with your mind (You’re getting the point right?).  Everyone hates Double-Unders. You don’t have to like them either, but you need to determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.

This move does not discriminate gender, or strength, but your anger keeps you from practicing.  You’ve got to devote time with the rope. Stop watching YouTube videos, you don't need any more cues, and set a three minute clock to practice after every class.  Revolution.

Toes to Bar:

This is not all mental--you’re not crazy--but it’s still no excuse.  This move takes some strength and coordination to learn. If you have your kipping pull-up, then you should have your toes to bar—you just haven't put enough value on it.  You need more time on the bar, like when you couldn’t stop trying for your kipping pullup because you wanted it so bad. And you know what’s coming next...at some point you must determine that you will be as good or better than most of the people you’re standing next to.  If you do this, if you master this move, you will mentally be ahead of most people in the box even before you start the workout.

Some of you reading this just need to dedicate regular time to these pillars.  Your strength is there and the coordination will come with repeated attempts and play. Others need a coach to cue you, film you, take you through hands on gymnastic patterns and identify efficiency issues--maybe even just tell you when to show up and what to do to get one of these.

Most people reading this will continue to avoid the vegetables I’m telling you to eat.  Test the idea though, I dare you. Keep an eye out and see how many people suffer when you are missing one or more of these pillars.  You can cover up for a while if you've only got one of these weaknesses. But, if two of these pillars show up in a WOD, you're in trouble. If you get triple whammied in one WOD, you're likely gonna find something to watch on Netflix instead hitting the 5:30 class.

Master these four moves and it will serve your whole CrossFit life. More play. More fun!