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10 CrossFit Mistakes You’re Making (And How to Fix Them)


Everybody makes mistakes. It’s cool, it really is, but the key to any mistake is twofold: What can we learn? and How can we grow from it. I want to share with you 10 mistakes that I’ve been seeing in the gym lately or that I feel CrossFit athletes overall need to be conscious of. This isn’t an all inclusive list and I’d love to see you add to it in the comments below!

Lack of Focus on Strength Training

Yes CrossFit will make you stronger. Eventually. It takes time depending on how your box looks at programming. Our box programs in strength days and strength work prior to the WoDs. We haven’t always done this, but once we started doing it, we say PRs left and right. Members were getting stronger, faster. If your box doesn’t do something like this you’ll need to look at doing some basic strict strength training on your own or prior to your WoDs. If your goal is to get stronger and increase your lifts, you’ll need to work this in.

Too Many MetCons

I love a good MetCon workout, but you can go to far with it. Too many MetCons can lead to negative effects in your overall strength gain and metabolic performance. I’ll defer to the folks over at RxReview.com who have written a great article about this topic called: The Dangers of MetCon Addict


Yea it looks cool. Yes you can typically do reps faster and more efficient. But if you can’t do at least a dozen strict pullups, then don’t even try to kip in my gym. I want to make sure that the overall strength is there and that you understand what muscles you’re engaging and when. I may take some flack for this one, but I’d prefer you to do banded pull ups vs. kipping until you can show me the strength in your strict pull up.

Going Rx

I like writing “Rx” on the whiteboard just as much as the next guy or girl, but when you go into a workout you need to be focusing on form/technique and intensity. So you need to decide up front, what weight can you do that let’s you maintain a high level of intensity while maintaining perfect form. All to often I see athletes trying to go Rx and it ends up being too heavy for them. This will lead to sloppy technique at high speed, or they will slow down in order to get the rep (with good form). At that point you’re losing the intensity factor in your workout. The bigger numbers and the Rx will come, just give it time.

Listening to your Coach

 You can tune out a coach, especially if you think you know more, but understand that they have the bigger picture of your overall training program in mind. Sure deadlifts at 135 may not seem like much for you, but what’s the end goal? Technique work? I’ve seen athletes that have a background in heavy lifting or athletics tune out the coach (especially if the coach is younger) and continue to do what they’ve always done. Well, look here: This is CrossFit, it’s different than all the stuff you’ve done before, trust the coach. They are there to help you, not hinder you.

Realizing That You’re Great at Some Things, and Not so great at others…

This goes along with ego. Don’t let it guide you. One of my workout buddies and I typically trade WoD wins back and forth. He’s stronger than me, but I’ve got more endurance than he does. I’ll smoke him on Fran, because I can maintain longer. He’ll tear me up on something like Diane since he’s capable of producing strength output longer than I am, and he’s better at strict headstand push ups. The point is, somedays I walk out a winner and somedays I walk out a loser. Don’t let it get to you. Tomorrow is always another day and another WoD. Our defeats are learning opportunities and nothing more. Learn from it, and it turns into a victory.


One other thing that I’m glad my gym programs in front of every WoD is mobility work. And please understand that mobility work is more than rolling on a foam roller. There’s exercises you can do for any muscle group that you’re going to be working that day…so do them! Also, don’t run right out the door after the WoD is over. Proper recovery starts with post WoD mobility (and it can help keep you from being so sore)


Keep them high in the front rack and don’t flair them on pullups. Alot of athletes that I work with forget about their elbows, they are too busy focusing on hips, legs, etc… and that’s good, but the elbows are an important piece of the front rack for front squats and thrusters, positioning is important for pull ups and overhead presses (don’t let the elbows flare out), and quick elbows (ie: getting from the clean pull to the front rack position quickly) can help you out in getting under the bar for squats cleans/power cleans, lastly no-bend in the elbow is important for the initial pulls of the snatch.

Embracing the Whole Body

The foundational movements and Olympic lifts are full body movements. At various points in each movement, different functional areas take over…don’t try and muscle through a power clean, you’ll end up reverse curling it. Instead use the hips to drive the bar up and use the arms & fast elbows to help you get under the bar. Remember that rowing on a rower is driven by a strong leg drive, not a strong pull from the arms, the pull is the secondary piece. This is the beauty of CrossFit, the full body functional movements, embrace it. Remember to use all the muscle that you’ve been given and that you have available for each lift/movement.


Don’t eat for weight loss while CrossFitting. Let me say that again: Don’t eat for weight loss while CrossFitting. You’ll actually need to be eating a slight surplus, border-lining on eating for muscle growth depending on your goals. If not, you’re going to have 0 energy and/or you’re going to inhibit muscle growth & strength gains because your body doesn’t have enough raw materials to build them with. I can tell you this because I’ve tried this and I lost alot of ground that I had gained. I hit alot of salads, 0 carbs, and just a little protein. I felt terrible, and I performed terribly as well. Eat some good carbs, it’s okay. Eat good healthy protein, actually just eat. Treat food as fuel for your body’s engine.

  • bird

    how about make sure your coaches arent fuckin retards without formal education of some sort in the field of exercise science. any moron can read the crossfit journal and say they know what is what. bullshit… and also if they only went to a crossfit seminar to get “qualified” you should probably not go to that gym, you dont learn squat from that course (good pun right.) truth.