Training Strategies

June 29

Want to achieve a new goal in CrossFit?  

Reverse Engineer it for success!

Do you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve? Maybe complete your first pull up/chest to bar/muscle up, PR a lift, complete a 5k, perform a workout Rx, change your body composition?  

A lot of the time, Coach Whitney’s programming and all of the coaches’ scaling helps to progress everyone toward achieving new PRs but if there is a particular goal you have your sights set on, start with the end goal in mind! Reverse engineer the activity components and then layer on those components over time to progress toward the goal.  Breaking down the end goal into smaller, more visible steps, allows you to see the path to success more clearly.

As most of us know, it’s not as easy as just wanting to achieve a goal, it takes time, consistency and trust in the process to attain the goal.


Pull ups and muscle ups:

There are many components to these movements but often people skip foundational building blocks. The questions I ask myself for every skill is, “what position am I starting in, what path is my body moving through and what position am I ending in?” The pulling bar movements take place when you’re hanging from under the bar and are smoothly rising above the bar. 

Work through the following:

  1. Dead and Active Hang from the rig: You need to have the ability to hold your body weight from the rig. It would be hard for me to imagine anyone being able to do a muscle up without the ability to hang for a minimum of 60 seconds.
  2. Kip Swings: Your hollow and arch positions are where you generate and express force in gymnastics. Your ability to create and maintain tension as you transition from your hollow position and arch position is critical for longevity and power expression. Consistent kip swing practice is crucial for all levels of gymnastics and you should have the aim to achieve 3 sets of 20+ as often as 3 days a week within warm up or as accessory movements. This especially applies in early stages of gymnastics.
  3. Strict Pull Ups: Build the foundational strength! Start with negatives (aim for a 3-5 second descent) from a jumping pull up then progress to banded pull ups and finally, aim for achieving a solid 5-10 strict pull ups before moving on to movements like a bar muscle up.

Going beyond a pull up to bar muscle ups:

  1. Chest To Bar Pull Ups: These will increase the range of motion at the top of the pull up and will get you more comfortable pulling higher. Obviously strict here would be fantastic but comfortable sets of 5-10 kipping C2B pull ups will also be a great aim.
  2. Transition Drills: One of the most forgotten aspects of practice when it comes to the bar muscle up. Practice the transition on a low bar or with bands to understand the movement pattern of getting on top and over the bar. The aim here is to have a strong physical connection with understanding the relationship between the elbows and shoulders when the transition from under to over the bar occurs.
  3. Dips: Come on baby, dip it out! Strengthen your triceps and chest with upper body pressing exercises, especially the ring dip. Your body is going to combat you getting into a position you can’t support yourself in. Aim is 10+ strict bar dips and 5+ strict ring dips.

If you’re able to reach these targets, I feel confident with you being in a great spot to take game time attempts at the bar muscle up. 

If your goal is focused on other movements or activities, work to break them down and develop a plan.  Ask me or another coach for help (we all love helping) to integrate it to your training plan.

Don’t make it overly complex, in fact make it easier than you think it should be.  Start with the basics and give it time for your body to adapt and progress.  Don’t rush things and trust the process.  

Those are the types of things that run through my head each day when it comes to learning new things. Embrace the awkwardness, celebrate little wins and don’t forget to laugh at yourself along the way. The right mindset and a good laugh can fix nearly everything!

Keep lifting, learning and laughing,

Coach Benji