In the past couple of weeks, we have been travelling around BC/Alberta on a little holiday, visiting Crossfit boxes to say hi, let them know about MobilizeMe  and even do a couple mobility seminars! I tend to pay attention to the stuff I see posted on people’s whiteboards as I go. Lots of places just post the daily WOD’s, others post clients PR’s and goals. One of these stood out to me, as it read on the Goals board: “Kipping pullups”. Then directly underneath it had “do overhead movements without pain”.

Anyone see an issue with this?

If you cannot do an overhead movement without pain, then kipping pullups should not even be a blip on your radar.

I see this so often it’s not even funny anymore. On one hand I love how people are so passionate and eager to get better at Crossfit, on the other hand I cringe. Crossfit has transformed the lives of countless people out there, many of whom have never been active a day in their lives but has it turned us into fanatics who don’t know or understand our limitations?

99.9% of people who Crossfit are NEVER going to make the Games. And I don’t say this to be cruel or unkind. I love that so many people have aspirations of making it to the top but for the average Crossfitter, it just isn’t going to happen. So why the need to do movements or skills that are beyond our limits? I’m not saying that you won’t ever be able to do these skills, it’s a matter of time and many hours of practise, but maybe just have a look at the reasons you want to develop them.

We are all so keen to be able to do all the movements we see performed by the elite athletes at the Games level that I think we forget we need to develop the strength, stability technique and mobility required for these skills.

If you are limited by pain, go and get it checked out. Don’t bury your head in the sand and pray it will go away. Pain is there for a reason, people, and generally doesn’t develop overnight (unless you have suffered from an acute injury). Hundreds or thousands of repetitions done with even slightly faulty mechanics will wind up your tissues which eventually cause…PAIN.

If you are limited by strength, work on developing it. Keep in mind it takes roughly 8 WEEKS to notice muscle hypertrophy (growth) at a cellular level. Concentrating on doing your skills STRICT eg. pullups, ring dips, push ups, etc. with absolutely PERFECT form will help.

If you are limited by mobility, work on your mobility! Remember that flexibility is one of the fundamentals of Crossfit. It’s not nearly as fun as PR’ing your Clean & Jerk but every bit as important. And go out and BUY YOUR OWN mobility equipment. Don’t rely on your coach/box to supply it. You should have at least a roller and a lacrosse ball in your gym bag. You don’t use someone else’s knee sleeves do you???

Keep in mind that if you are constantly mobilizing and not getting noticeable improvements, you may have issues with your STABILITY. For example, if your shoulders are chronically tight, your rotator cuff muscles and/or scapular stabilizing muscles may be weak. I would advise getting an assessment by your Physio/Physical Therapist or other qualified professional. Make sure that you get an exercise program based on the assessment and stick to it! One coach I talked to while overseas mentioned that they now regularly include rotator cuff/Bulletproof shoulder exercises in their warm up and/or cool down.

Most of those athletes you see competing at the Games have been doing Crossfit for a few years and/or have a highly competitive athletic background. Their rise to the top hasn’t been instantaneous. Walk before you run peeps. You’ll still get there in the end.

Make sure you head to the App Store or Google Play and check out our Mobility App for Crossfit!