Building the foundations to a strong and healthy body is very similar to the concept of building the foundations to any structure, from a small house to a large building. Beginning with a firm base allows the architect and contractor to set the stage for what will subsequently be built on top. Devising the blueprints or project plan and following the proper progressions is how they successfully complete the project. The same can be said for building strength and fitness in a human body.
When you begin any type of strength and conditioning program it is important to build a firm base and determine whether any holes or weaknesses exist in the foundation. When considering the framing of a house, weaknesses prevent the frame from doing its job and risks collapse. With the human body, adding too much weight without the required mobility or strength puts an athlete at immediate risk for injury.
Along these lines, here are a few steps that will lead you to a successful strength and conditioning program in any type of class/team/individual setting.
1. Work with qualified and experienced coaches. CrossFit Newtown prides itself in having highly educated and well-trained coaches. Your Coaches are the architects and builders of your fitness plan. They set the groundwork with programming, teach you to move safely, as well as guide and motivate you to properly stack the building blocks to achieve your fitness goals.
2. Be coachable. Be receptive to recommendations from a coach. At CrossFit Newtown, coaches are assessing your movement every time you train. Suggestions to lower a weight for a workout, refrain from adding weight when completing lifting sets, scale a movement, etc are for your benefit. We want you to reach your goals – with proper technique – so that you are more successful and to avoid injury. In the long run, ignoring good coaching cues is a waste of your time and money!
3. Work on progressions to attain higher level skills. You would not want your building contractor skipping a step in the building plan because “it takes too much time” or “to move faster” to meet a deadline. Similarly, athletes can work on the progressive steps when trying to master a gymnastics skill or a lift. Most movements can be broken down into simple components and mastering each of those will take an athlete further in the long run. The initial satisfaction of cutting corners for time or difficulty will always lose to long term, well planned, hard work.
4. Track your progress but don’t let the numbers control your journey.. Yes, we all love to PR. Everyone loves crushing a workout that took 2 min longer last year and snatching 30 Lbs more than you could 8 weeks ago. It’s a bad-ass feeling, similar to winning a game. But the reality is that we can’t always PR. In order to stay motivated at times of plateau, learn how to track yourself with other success metrics. For example, find a weakness and start to work on it -even in the area of mobility! Feel free to ask a coach to give you suggestions if you need ideas. Relentless practice of a weak skill might just improve another skill without you even realizing it. Working on weaknesses can lead to some great changes!
Wherever you stand in your fitness journey, remember that a properly executed plan will help you approach a new level of fitness. Investing in knowledgeable, well-rounded, educated trainers and coaches will create better results while keeping you safe. It’s in your hands now!
Written by Mike Keleher