Managing Your Extra Work

It’s no secret that for those interested in taking their fitness level to new heights, extra work, beyond that of a normal class, must be done.  It’s why everyone at the Games has made it to the Games.  Each puts in a significant amount of additional WODs and movements, ranging from attacking specific weaknesses to dialing in complicated technique.  Many even have coaches whom they pay a pretty penny for personalized programming.  But what about those of us with limited time simply looking to be better than last month?  Than last year?  Deciding what to do, and when to do it, can be very overwhelming.  Which movements do you choose?  How much do you do?  Too often eager athletes bite off more than they can chew (I speak from personal experience).  Before they know it things become unmanageable and the extra work stops completely.  If you’re interested, here are a couple tips for creating an extra work routine that will last and that you can ultimately build from.

Simple tips regarding extra work:

  • Include mobility


We’ve talked about this recently at our gym and we’ve seen a huge improvement in the amount of time people are spending on it.  Most people struggle with mobility issues.  Improving those issues via stretching/mobility exercises is the least time consuming and the least physically demanding way to see big improvements in performance.  Start here!

  • Focus on weaknesses


Your extra work should focus on weaknesses.  Their is no sense in getting even better at what you’re already good at.  This is CrossFit people!  We pride ourselves on being fit.  Fitness means all-around competency/proficiency.  Identify your weaknesses and attack them.  You’re much better off being “okay” at everything rather than amazing at a couple things and awful at a bunch of things.

  • Start small


Pick a handful of movements and get better at them.  You don’t need to start with an elaborate program with upwards to 10 movements.  This is the easiest way to overwhelm yourself.  Select 1 to 3 movements at most.  Work on making those a habit first.

  • Limit yourself to an hour at most


No body, especially non-Games athletes, should be in the gym for more than an hour at a time for extra work.  It simply isn’t required to be better.  As long as you are diligent about getting it done and you designate around 10 minutes to each weakness, less than an hour is more than doable.  We’re all busy people with numerous responsibilities. Putting in 10-30 minutes of extra is more than enough to start off and will go a long way to making you a better athlete.

  • Only add more when ready


If you’ve managed to build a nice routine for yourself that you’ve been able to commit to and hasn’t proven to be too time consuming, you can start to add in more work without feeling overwhelmed.  It’s very important to build that routine first though.  Never bite off more than you can chew.  Careful though, if you add too much, suddenly working on your weaknesses doesn’t seem so appealing after getting dominated by Fran!  Stay disciplined.

It doesn’t take an awful lot to be exponentially better than you currently are.  Follow the steps above and watch as you begin to reach your full potential.  Not everyone needs to be, nor wants to be, a Games athlete, and that’s absolutely fine. What’s not fine is not being the best YOU can possibly be. If you have questions about ways to get better at specific movements please do not hesitate to ask one of the CFK trainers.  We’re more than happy to help!
Jake is a Head Trainer at CrossFit Kinnick. He has been CrossFitting for 8 years and has been a Trainer at CrossFit Kinnick for 6 years. His Certifications include: CrossFit Level 2 Instructor, USAW Sports Performance Coach. He earned his BA in Political Science from Cal Poly Pomona.