Rest Day Rantings – Embrace Your Weakness

Posted: July 14, 2012 by Admin in Random Thoughts
Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points. – Knute Rockne
Want to make me get that “I don’t wanna workout” look on my face? Build a workout centering around Handstand Push-Ups, Box Jumps, and Ring Dips, and you’ll see me squirm like a gangster in a confessional. For various reasons, I don’t like those movements: they are difficult for me and make want to hide under a blanket with a half gallon of Blue Bell, questioning why the world hates me so much.
These movements have always been difficult for me. On HSPU, I’m long and heavy, so not only do I have a long way to move, I have to move all this mass through that longer range of motion. Box jumps used to straight up terrify me. When I was over 500 pounds, I couldn’t step up from the ground to my front stoop, let alone ever dream of JUMPING on a higher surface. Additionally, once I finally made the move to the 20 inch box (and thought I was doing something) I had a horrific, face-first-into-the-box fall. Ring dips feed straight into my biggest weakness – strength in my chest.
What’s even more frustrating than long-standing weaknesses are movements that at one point were strengths and, for various reasons, become weaknesses. For me, I worked diligently to achieve a body weight snatch, which Dan John refers to as “minimally proficient” on that movement. I can still remember the satisfaction of getting that load over my head for the first time. Then I separated my shoulder and couldn’t perform overhead movements for nearly 8 months. Today, I’m doing really well to move 135 over my head. What had become one of my favorite movements is now the bane of my existence.
I see the fear and despair many of my clients experience when one of their weaknesses appears on the whiteboard. Recently, I’ve had a few people leave, or even check out the WOD online and not even show up. This brings up an interesting question: what are we to do with our weaknesses?
“Once we know our weaknesses they cease to do us any harm”. – Georg C. Lichtenberg
I find that many of us like to ignore our weaknesses when they are not directly in our face. In my opinion, we should become intimately aware of the various movements that cause us struggle. Write them down. Make a detailed description, not only of the weakness, but exactly HOW it is a weakness and start considering reasons WHY it is a weakness. In my athletic career, I’ve seen great results when I place my weaknesses on paper, and then start resolutely charting a course to improve them.
“I knuckle down with my demons, and with my weaknesses.” – Carlos Santana
This quote shows the second step to tackling your weaknesses – commitment. We must resolve against giving in to those things at which we suck. It may take baby steps, but we must make a conscious decision to move head first at improving our weaknesses. If you struggle with pull-ups, add five pull-ups to your warm-up and five pull-ups to your cool down. Try to make progress a little each day. If you’ve been on a thick band for a long time, force yourself to move to a smaller one. If push-ups are your demon, try to do at least one perfect push-up every day. Tenacity will pay off and before long, you will see improvement in these areas. Do not allow yourself to be defeated.
“My weaknesses are my jumps. The reason is that although I land them in practice, when I actually compete or perform, I should let my body go and stabilize my mind better. Also, I need to work on not letting negative thoughts and emotions get to me on the ice.” – Oksana Baiul
This quote shows a trickier and much more difficult step to master – the mental fear that often accompanies our weaknesses. If I’m trying to overhead squat a big weight, and right before I lift the bar, I say, “wow, that’s really heavy,” I’ve just diminished my chances of landing that lift successfully. One of my former training and lifting colleagues, Kristina Hull, once shared with me that she tells herself that she is going to dominate a lift before she attempts it. Interestingly, she said that she must not consider whether or not she actually believes what she says. She simply says, “this lift is mine, this lift is mine, this lift is mine,” and then lifts. I see so many members of Infragilis defeat themselves before even attempting a lift or a movement. Tell yourself you can do it! Visualize yourself nailing it. Aggressively stay positive!!
So as we move into another cycle of training at CrossFit Infragilis, EMBRACE your weaknesses. Nothing will make you stronger and better at living than making significant progress on things you are worst at. Remember, small steps over time build to a huge gain down the road.

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