IF your technique is solid:
A. Take 20 minutes to find your 1 rep max snatch.*
B. Take 20 minutes to find your 1 rep max clean and jerk.*
C. 3 sets of 25 reps of: GHD situps, GHD hip extensions. Scale the GHD situps appropriately, based on your experience. If you are brand new, start at 3×10 GHD situps. The next time you do them, do 3×15, and so on.
*IF YOU ARE NEW to the Olympic lifts, spend your time working on technique at a lighter weight, and focus on speed, accuracy, footwork, and proper bar path. Be patient with these movements. They take time to develop, and good technique will get you lifting heavy weights sooner. Leave your ego at the door.
I’m going to re-post something I put up on the blog about a year ago, just as a reminder. I sometimes hear statements about how someone’s pull-ups/snatch/squat/whatever haven’t improved much in the last year/six months. My number one question to those people: how often do you train (in general and working on that skill specifically)? How badly do you want that skill, and what are you willing to give up to get it? Coming to the gym twice a week and maybe happening to come on a day where pulling is programmed, and as a result only doing pull-ups or their variations once or twice a month, will not get you doing pull-ups. Sorry, but it absolutely will not. I cannot program enough variation and volume into a 2-hour/week training regimen that will make you into a pulling/pushing/squatting/deadlifting/o-lifting/conditioned machine. To really improve at something, you need volume and variation. You need to give your body a reason to adapt and become stronger. You need to research. You need to explore the capabilities of your body, find out what works for you. Are your activities and daily habits outside of the gym getting in your way? Do you sit a lot? Squat more. Seriously. Your body will thank you, and your gym/life performance will improve. Getting better at something rarely, if ever, happens by accident.
Also, what is your mental attitude towards the skill in question? Do you think Olympic-calibre weightlifters think, “Oh, man. Not the snatch again. I hate that movement.”, and then walk out onto the platform and set a personal record? Learn to love the process, and don’t let your own brain talk you out of doing something.
This next bit has been floating around in my mind for a while now. The essence of it is this: take responsibility for your own fitness and health. An alternated title might be, “Do The Research”. I think that what we do in the gym will make you stronger, fitter, and more capable human beings. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this.
Sure, we make things easier for you by providing programming and coaching, but at the end of the day, you are the ones training your bodies and minds. If you have some residual tightness from a previous workout, spend some time working on it before the next workout. Spend some time at home working on mobility — every day. If you are working towards a skill, research it. Ask questions. Experiment. Try stuff out. Research some more. Figure out what works for you. What makes your body work the way it does? Not quite happy with your squat? Check out mobilitywod.com or the posters in the gym and find some stuff to work on. Athletes (yes, you are an athlete!) succeed because of their own personal motivation. Good coaching will help, but without some intrinsic motivation, success will not happen.
Going away on summer holidays? Figure out some workouts that can be done with minimal equipment (google “travel WODS”, for a start). Work on your squats, your handstands, pull-ups, locomotion drills, whatever. You can do a ton of stuff without any equipment at all.
Make sure your nutrition is dialed in. This is absolutely critical. The best gym habits in the world cannot overcome poor nutrition. My first recommendation for reading material for most people is usually the book, “Why We Get Fat”, by Gary Taubes. There is a slowly growing consensus that the nutritional guidelines that have been promoted in the last 20 to 30 years with regards to processed carbohydrates (flour, bread, grains, etc.) are flat out wrong. A full 80 percent of your body composition is determined by your nutrition, and the remaining 20 percent is a combination of exercise and genetics. Eat real food, not processed food.
And last but not least… just show up. That’s the hard part. Ask yourself whether you are making it in to the gym often enough to make progress. No matter how good a workout is, if it’s only happening once a week, it’s not enough. I’ve told most people this in person, but it’s worth reiterating. Working out twice a week is the bare minimum you need to make progress. I know some people have other training goals and programs and/or life gets in the way, but if you really want to get better at the movements of CrossFit and the movements of life in general, you need more exposure to them.
I’m not singling anyone out — far from it. These are just some ideas I’ve had kicking around in my head as a result of many interactions, and I think they are worth giving some thought.
Keep up the good work… and be patient! Put in the time, and the results will follow.