I did seven CrossFit competitions in 2011, all of them good learning experiences. Here are 8 things I learned from competing.
1. Most CrossFitters have shaky lifting technique, especially on the Olympic lifts. Improving technique can go a long ways towards increasing performance and decreasing the risk of injury. Since I am in that group, I started taking Olympic lifting classes to get better.
2. The top guys and gals have coaches and are showing up at competitions with their coaches. Another sign this has become a sport. Get a coach to take it to the next level.
3. Strength is not going away from competitions any time soon. The bottom line is people like seeing big people crush heavy weight and competition programmers know it.
4. Mix in a second or third WOD on specific days to simulate competition conditions. Check how your output is affected by the extra volume.
5. Most folks don’t know how to warm up properly. All athletes in all sports need to warm up the aerobic energy systems in addition to prepping the muscles and joints. Besides being an injury reducer, being correctly warmed gives a performance boost.
6. Use video and a stopwatch to review technique and round splits.
7. Always use safety collars on barbells. Otherwise your weight can slide off. I made this mistake and it caused me to DNF a WOD.
8. Competition WODs are unique, creative, and fit into a larger program. If your goal is to compete, find a way to train to the level of competition programming. I don’t think regular CrossFit WODs will get you there. Your programming has to be just as creative and fit into a larger plan.