I’m not surprised that I’ve struggled with the barbell movements of CrossFit. I’m 5+ months into my CrossFit journey, and I’m still very much a beginner at just about all the olympic lifts.
Even after 4 weeks of training specifically with the “Barbell Club” (albeit 1 coach & 1 other person), I continue to struggle.
The problem is… there’s so much to think about. Tighten up. Hook grip. Feet shoulder-width. Push your knees back. Drill your feet into the ground. Power triangle. Down & finish. Elbows high & outside. Ass to grass. Throw the elbows through. … And somewhere amidst all that, I definitely forgot to use my hips. I always forget to use my hips.
The real problem
I shouldn’t be thinking about anything! I’m over-thinking & over-analyzing every single part of every movement. I’m already at a slight disadvantage with (probably) more slow-twitch than fast-twitch muscle fibers. But after I’ve solved the equation two times over in my head, my fast-twitch muscle fibers are long gone.
Stop thinking & drop your butt to the ground.
Focus on one thing at a time
In tonight’s workout, I finally felt comfortable with a fairly difficult movement… and a decent amount of weight (for me, anyway). Squat cleans at 115#.
I practiced one or two before we started. They felt pretty good. So I told myself to not think and just do. I was pleasantly surprised with how it worked out.
It’s not like I attacked them with reckless abandon. I still focused on form, but instead of thinking of everything, I focused on one key point with each rep. First, it was the down & finish. Get a nice hip explosion and shoulder shrug.
Once I started to get tired, I focused on fast elbows for a few reps. After that, the weight started feeling much heavier, so I focused on my footwork, and committing to dropping down below the bar (because I couldn’t physically pull it up any higher).
Win the battle. Continue fighting the war.
Tonight’s feeling of comfort was a small victory for my confidence. I still have a long way to go, but if I can apply this same methodology to many of my future workouts, I’m confident that things will continue to improve.