I Don't Care What You're Good At

March 12, 2018

Mike Warkentin

Are you working on weaknesses?

Did you ignore me and repeatedly max out your snatch over the last 12 months?

I’m talking about my very, very blunt advice to work on your weaknesses after the 2017 Open ended. I presented it in the article “Open Workout 17.6.”

Knowing all about the tendency to stick to things in one’s wheelhouse, I suggested this: “Make a note of any movements you avoid because you don’t like them or can’t do them. Now commit to attending classes in which these movements show up.”

Did you do that?

If you did, please leave a comment so we can all give you fist bumps. I’d love to hear about breakthroughs, PRs and slaughtered goats.

Woman overhead squatting in 18.3

If you didn’t, ask yourself why not.

If you struggled with double-unders in the 2017 Open, why didn’t you commit to eliminating that weakness in the year that followed? And I don’t mean half-assed three-minute sessions twice in 12 months. Why didn’t you make an appointment with a coach? Why didn’t you check out the Journal’s instructional material, including this article and videos such as this? Why didn’t you film yourself in slow motion? Why didn’t you take a step back and brush up on fundamentals?

Group of athletes, all tackling double-unders

Same questions with regard to muscle-ups, both on the rings and on the bar, plus these ones: When ring muscle-ups were programmed, did you just default to the comfort of the bar or did you modify the workout to include movements that might help you get on top of the rings? Did you heed your coach’s advice and try the false grip or did you just kip and pray whenever your hands weren’t torn up?

Athlete struggles through a ring muscle-up

Here’s some tough love: If you’re really into the Sport of Fitness, you need to understand that it’s not about your strengths but your weaknesses.

Director of the Games Dave Castro simply doesn’t care what you’re good at. And neither do I. Castro wants to know what makes you sulk like a 6-year-old, and I’m part of an army of CrossFit trainers who want to help you eliminate weakness so it’s harder for Castro to find chinks in your armor.

Eliminating weaknesses will help you perform well in the Open, but it will also make you fitter overall. That’s the real goal, because fitness is welded inseparably to health. Show me someone who can bang out large sets of muscle-ups, overhead squats and double-unders, and I’ll almost certainly show you a person with good blood work.

As we all know, working on weaknesses sucks. It’s tedious and frustrating. It hurts the ego. It makes you want to hit your jump rope with a sledgehammer (I’ve done this). It’s usually not that great for the Instagram game. But it’s ultimately good for the mind and the body.

Pull-up success!

So, I’ll say it once more: Make a note of any movements you avoid because you don’t like them or can’t do them. Now commit to attending classes in which these movements show up. Watch CrossFit’s instructional videos and read our articles. Book personal sessions with a coach. Take CrossFit Training’s courses. Invest in your health and performance. Be ready for 2019—and for life.

Or cherry-pick workouts, ignore coaching cues and max out your snatch in the corner.

The choice is yours.

Work on your weaknesses, and I’ll gladly hit the heart when you post a PR or breakthrough to Instagram. In fact, tag me (@crossfit204) and @crossfitgames so we can share in your success.

Let your goats roam free for another 12 months, and I’ll be here in March 2019 to say “I told you so” again.