Plateaus suck. It seems like you are trying your hardest in every WOD of every week, but in front of you is just an endless, perfectly flat plain of identically mediocre scores and times. This is where tips and tricks to improve your WOD score come in handy.
Ya, that isn’t fun, but what can you do about it? Well, there are a few viable options:
- You can force yourself to accept being in a zone of passivity. You no longer wish to improve in CrossFit, and that mentality will trickle into your life. Soon you will no longer want a nicer car, to be a better person, or to get that raise at work. You will live in a general stasis, seeing absolutely no results no matter how hard you work.
- You can quit. After all, what is the use of doing something – no matter how much you may enjoy it – if you don’t constantly improve in it in a never ending stream of self-success? Maybe you hate levels, the state of Florida (which is the flattest state in America), and all other flat things so much that you can’t bring yourself to be on a metaphorical plateau for more than a few days, and therefore quitting the sport is easier than trying to get back on the hill of improvement.
- You can sit down and try to figure out why you’re not improving as much as you would like. Like it or not, there are probably various reasons that you are plateauing.
We don’t want to make your pick for you, but option 3 should be the option that you choose. To help you along with that pick, here are 15 tips and tricks to improve your WOD score.
Water, water, and more water. Without it, life on the entire planet would cease to exist, so act like something that exists on the planet Earth and drink it!
If you think you’ve drank enough, grab a bottle and drink some more. Drink it until your pee turns clear. It is a lot harder than you think to drink too much water, and you will feel gross and bloated long before you do so.
The trick with drinking water is to drink it early enough that it has time to filter into your body. This means drinking about 20-30 ounces 3-4 hours before your physical activity, and another 10-15 ounces half an hour before.
Drinking water during your WOD may help quench your thirst, but that early water is what really helps you perform to the best of your abilities.
Get a Good Warm-Up in
You may not feel like it, but getting a good warm-up in is essential to success. Look at professional athletes who make millions of dollars a year – they warm up for hours before their event takes place, and they clearly excel at what they do.
You may not have to go that overboard with your warmup, but taking 15 minutes to get your muscles warm, your heart pumping, and your lungs bellowing before you start the actual WOD itself will help you improve your score.
Show Up, No Matter What
‘Ugh’, you think to yourself as you lie in bed, phone pushed up against your face, ‘a ‘Fran’, I hate the Fran. You know what, maybe this isn’t worth getting out of bed for…’
With that, your head hits the pillow and you re-enter Dreamland.
Only doing the WODs that you like may seem like it will improve your attitude and abilities in CrossFit, but it actually holds you back. WODs are structured to not only help improve the individual WOD, but also your overall CrossFit abilities. That means that doing a Fran may help your time in a Murph and vice-versa.
Get Used to Being Out of Your Comfort Zone
There is a little human organ that is in charge of making you stay comfortable.
It helps you make decisions that will benefit you with the least amount of work and is constantly looking for ways for you to make your life easier. In the olden days before TVs, cars, and fast-food restaurants on every street corner, that little organ used this tool to keep you alive.
It is called the brain.
The problem with the brain is that by naturally wanting to keep you in your comfort zone, it can actually hold you back from improvement and success.
By pushing through that blockade in your mind and accepting that it is OK to be outside of your comfort zone, you allow your body to push itself harder. This leads to faster, better improvements in CrossFit.
Get used to being outside of your comfort zone if you want to improve your WOD score.
Tighten Up Your Technique
After you’ve done an exercise a few hundred times, you may start to feel like a bit of an expert. You know how to do a burpee and a pull-up and a thruster, right? Of course, you do.
But do you know how to do a burpee and a pull-up and a thruster perfectly? If so, do you know how to do them perfectly with your eyes closed and in your sleep?
There is an old quote that is very simple and very wise and very badass and goes something along the lines of: “Good is the enemy of great.”
By thinking that your form for movements is “good enough”, you stand in the way of them being great. Experts never stop learning, and you should not let your “good enough” form stop you from continuing to improve.
Improving your form is one of the best ways to improve your score.
If you need to tighten up your technique in the upright row, click here: https://blog.wodrecoveryrx.com/how-to-do-an-upright-row-properly/
Work on Strict Movements
Kipping pull-ups are all well and good. They count as reps and help you proceed through your workout at a faster pace.
The problem is when you only do kipping pull-ups or other similar kipping exercises. While they are put there to help you finish your reps and you see professional CrossFitters do them on the biggest stage, they do not give you the same workout as strict movements.
Strict movements can greatly benefit your kipping movements. By going through the full range of a pull-up, for example, you work out all of the muscles involved in both the strict and kipping versions of the movement than you would while kipping.
When not in competition, switch between using strict and kipping movements to get the most out of the exercise.
Perfect Your Squat
This does technically fall under the “Tighten Up Your Technique” tip, but it is worth quickly stating in even clearer terms.
The squat is the lifeblood of CrossFit. It strengthens your legs tremendously and is used in a great variety of different movements and exercises.
Learn to do it as well as you possibly can. Learn to go through the full range of it and do it enough that you can do it in your sleep.
Perfecting your squat is essential.
Get Your Nutrition in Order
Nutrition can make or break you as an athlete. Getting enough food in you – as well as the right types of food – can be the difference between feeling faint and barely finishing a WOD and crushing a personal best in your WOD.
While we are not going to get into the nitty-gritty’s of nutrition in this article, some research into how to eat to properly fuel your body before high-intensity physical activity would go a long way.
As well as eating directly for the WOD, eating clean and healthy in general will make you feel a lot better and help you recover faster.
Scale Your Reps Instead of Your Range Of Motion
While many CrossFit coaches tell you to scale back the exercise and not the reps – for instance, doing pushups from your knees for the full amount of reps instead of doing full push ups for half the amount of reps – research now supports that you should cut the reps, not the range of motion of the exercise.
This may mean doing 5 full pushups at the start if that is all you can do. But this will build up every muscle used in the exercise, and soon you will be able to increase that number to the full rep range.
Do the full exercise, not the full number of reps.
Accept the Plateau
While this whole article may be about improving your WOD scores and breaking through plateaus, you need to recognize that plateaus are a real thing.
No amount of effort will instantly break a plateau. Instead, use it for what it is – a chance to sit back and think about what you are doing well and what you could be doing better. By being forced to look at your weak areas, you can then focus on them and bring them up to par.
Taking the time to analyze why you are plateauing could do you a whole world of good in the long run.
More is Not Better (Know When You’ve Done Enough)
While they can sometimes seem to be a mishmash of random exercises, WODs are actually built in a very specific way: to get the maximum results with the minimum effort.
But I put a ton of effort in, you silently screamed while staring at your computer screen just now.
Yes, you do. You are getting the maximum results, that means you still need to really exert yourself. What WODs do are get you the maximum results without going needlessly overboard.
Say you took a WOD and doubled it and tried to do it in one sitting. Would that give you double the results? No. Really, it would make you way sorer and may even start breaking down your muscles for energy.
So know when enough is enough, because trying to go over and above may end up hurting your WOD score.
This doesn’t need to be overly complicated or time-consuming, just keep track of how you do and how you feel.
If you had a really good WOD, write down why that may have been: did you eat a particular meal that gave you lots of energy? did you sleep a certain amount of time? Did you do something particular for recovery the night before?
Write down exercises or spots where you may have struggled.
By keeping track of both the good and the bad parts of the exercises, you can look back and use this information to help with future WODs.
Recover Recover Recover
A huge part of CrossFit is the recovery. It is amazing how much some post WOD cooldown and rolling can help someone improve.
Rolling before bed can be another great way to increase recovery and therefore feel better the next day. If you do all of this and still seem to be needlessly sore in the morning, then try using CBD oils as part of your recovery regime.
Recovery can come in many different forms. Check out our shop for various ways to improve your recovery: https://www.wodrecoveryrx.com/shop-rx
Be a Part of the Community
The best part about CrossFit is the community. It is a collection of people from all different backgrounds who love the sport and enjoy bringing a positive, supportive mindset to CrossFit.
By getting involved, you create a group of external forces who want nothing but the best for you in CrossFit. You make friends and teammates who will push you and help you up when you fall down.
As well, you have friends who will go out for drinks with you after a WOD and love complaining about how sore they are just as much as you do.
This is arguably the most important step when trying to break through a plateau and improve your WOD score: have fun while doing it.
Consciously or subconsciously, once CrossFit becomes a chore you will no longer put as much time and effort into it. You will start to look only at the finish line instead of the process.
No matter how many of these other tips and tricks you follow, if you don’t allow yourself to have fun while working hard then your heart won’t be in it.
So go kill that WOD, and have a smile on your face while doing it!
You Kill The Wod, We’ll Recover The Bod!