Optimizing Your CrossFit Potential

how to train for the CrossFit Games
Jason Khalipa competing in the row workout last summer. Photo courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.

On Jan. 1, Reebok announced the schedule for its 2014 CrossFit Games. If you’re thinking about competing, you may be wondering how best to train.

According to one of the world’s top CrossFit competitors, it’s not about training more, but training right. If you want to achieve your maximum potential and reduce your chance of injury, revisit the core movements—Squat, Deadlift, Push Press, etc.—and get them thoroughly squared away before you start on the more difficult moves.

Neal Maddox, the owner of CrossFit X-Treme Athletics, finished 9th overall at the 2013 Games. At a recent CrossFit seminar in San Jose, Calif., Maddox taught a class on the Overhead Squat, pointing out technique errors along the way. He suggested that one participant work to improve his shoulder position and squat depth.

“It’s hard for me to get into the right position without a loaded barbell,” the participant replied.

“I’ll tell you what [CrossFit training director] David Castro once told me,” Maddox responded. “He told me that one of the best ways to improve my overall performance was to master the fundamental movements without using any weights.”

Apparently, that advice worked for Maddox, who weighs 205 pounds and can Deadlift 505 pounds, Clean & Jerk 315 pounds, and Back Squat 455 pounds. His power goes beyond just one-rep maxes. Maddox also has the stamina to perform a 2:04 “Fran,” a timed workout involving a 21-15-9 rep scheme of Pull-Ups and Thrusters (Front Squats combined with Push Presses using 95 pounds). That’s one of the best-ever times recorded for the workout.

Castro’s advice also jibes with one of CrossFit’s bedrock principles: “virtuosity,” a term borrowed from the gymnastics world. CrossFit defines virtuosity as “doing the common uncommonly well” and advises newcomers to master basic movements before ratcheting up the intensity.——> Read more on Stack.com

In Inside the Box, veteran journalist and marathoner T.J. Murphy goes all in to expose the gritty, high-intensity sport of CrossFit®. From staggering newcomer to evangelist, Murphy finds out how it feels, why it’s so popular, and whether CrossFit can fix his broken body.