We CrossFitters seem to have an uncommon attraction to attacking anything we are not good at or hate to do. In fact, we even have a name for movements we suck at. We call them “goats”. We meticulously plan these movements that “get your goat” into our warm-ups, homework, and daily rituals so we can slay them and improve our fitness. This is a great thing for both eliminating weaknesses and developing discipline and mental toughness.

But, let’s look at the other side of the coin for just a moment. Goat work, while valuable, also typically equates to LOW POWER OUTPUT. Something we “suck” at is probably not going to allow us to move large loads, long distances quickly, which is the essence of CrossFit performance. Therefore, I share with you this thought; Doing something you are GREAT at, or at least kind of good at, occasionally can also benefit you in a variety of ways that goat work might not. Here are just a few:

  • Movements you excel at can give you a much needed WIN. Getting crushed by every single workout can be discouraging. At least occasionally, it’s good to do some work you can really sink your teeth into. Feel the joy of kicking ass. This can give you the energy to slay those goats the rest of the week.
  • Doing what you are good at can increase your work capacity. If you are an excellent runner and a terrible jump-roper, you need to learn how to jump rope. But, it will NOT give you the same level of conditioning you can get from opening up the throttle on a hard 5k until you get to a higher skill level at the jump rope. Don’t however think just cruising along at an easy and comfortable pace running will help your Annie time any more than practicing your jumping. You need to push it on the things that come easy just as you need to practice on the skills you’re not so good at until you have them down. Mixing these up can lead to stalled progress or worse, messing yourself up.
  • Excelling at that which you have some talent can inspire your fellow CrossFitters. We all have some moves we are better at than other movements. We can set the pace for our friends at the gym with these movements and everyone will benefit from the push. Don’t be shy to crush it when you can.

In your training I suggest to always seek that balance between that which is in your comfort zone and that which is not. Like most things in life, balance is the key. This can help you stay motivated while pushing the boundaries of what you are capable of. Don’t only focus on your goats but also on your STRENGTHS. This will ensure, as your skills improve across broad time and modal domains, you also increase the most important thing of all, your work capacity.

Now go DO WORK!

-Coach Ryan Avery

P.S. I know… what about those @*%’^!’ing [insert movements here] though? Stay tuned and in our next blog we’ll discuss strategies for conquering weaknesses and learning new skills while improving your overall fitness.