Essential Tips for CrossFit Newbies

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Cara Silverstein | November 10, 2016 | no comments |

Beginning a CrossFit routine can seem daunting;  I know it was for me.  The intensity of the workouts are like nothing I’d ever done before and the competitive nature of it in a group fitness setting was different than any group fitness I had done before.  As I get more comfortable with doing CrossFit, I’ve realize that a lot of my preconceived notions have fallen away and I’ve learned a lot that can be useful to other CrossFit newbies.  So with that here are my:

Eight Essential Tips for CrossFit Newbiesoverhead squat

  1. Understand that everything is scaleable: Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing CrossFit for years, your workout can be scaled to fit your needs.  If you’re not sure how to scale a movement, ask one of the coaches.  They’re happy to make the workout work for you.
  2. Work on form first:  Some of the typical CrossFit moves have a very specific form.  It is much easier to learn the form and get that muscle memory when you start with a lighter weight.  Before progressing to heavier weights, make sure you’ve got the form down.  This will help you avoid injury and allow you lift heavier once you’ve got the form.
  3. Be prepared to be sore: It is inevitable that after an intense workout, your muscles are going to be sore.  It is in your best interest to take care of that soreness in some way – whether that is an Epsom salt bath, extra stretching, using a muscle balm like WOD Balm, icing your muscles or taking ibuprofen – your body will need some extra TLC, especially in the first months.
  4. Take care of your hands: Some of the movements are tough on your hands and you may find that the skin on your palms starts to blister, tear or form callouses.  Repeated damage to your hands can be really painful and get in the way of a good workout.  Some people swear that gloves help, some say they make it worse – try for yourself and see.  There’s also chalk available for when you’re doing pullups or lifting a heavy barbell.  If you do wind up with torn skin, Tear Repair is great at healing it quickly.
  5. Only compare yourself to yourself: In the competitive atmosphere of a CrossFit gym, it can be easy to compare yourself with the people in your class and while that’s great as a motivating tool, the only thing that matters in the end is how much you’re improving.  The next tip is vital to that.
  6. Track your progress: Its easy to forget where you started, so figure out a way to track your progress.  There are apps you can use, an Excel spreadsheet is great if you’re computer-minded, keeping a notebook is a great way.  What I’ve done to track my progress is use my phone to take a picture of the white board at the end of class.  Every few weeks I’ll go through my pictures and write my improvements in a notebook so I can see the progress.
  7. Push yourself: CrossFit isn’t supposed to be easy; its designed to push a level of intensity that you might not be familiar with or comfortable with.  Go with it – see how much you can push yourself and watch your gains add up.
  8. Listen to your body:  You want to push yourself but only to a point.  Listen to your body on any given day and if something feels wrong/painful, pay attention.  There are certain movements that I have learned can push my body toward injury and I have to be extra careful doing them. Push where you can, ease up when you have to.

Whether you’ve been doing CrossFit for three months or three years, do you have any tips?  Share in the comments!

 

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