It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? If you’re not good at weightlifting, work on it more; if you’re not good at gymnastic skills, work on them more. There isn’t anything wrong with working on things we’re already good at; hell, if you want to have the best damn air squat the world’s yet to see, do it! It’s just a matter of making sure we don’t neglect the things we’re bad at. Without knowing it, most of us are probably spending way more time on things we’re already good at and completely neglecting some of our biggest weaknesses. This is because it gives us a sense of accomplishment whereas working on things we’re bad at can often be discouraging.

So ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Which movements do you hate seeing in the WOD? If you feel like your list is too long, don’t stress out about it. Simply concentrate on 1 or 2 at a time and prioritize the ones that have a strong carryover to other movements.
  • Why do you hate these movements? No, “just cause” or “cause I suck at it” are not good answers. Be specific: Is it mobility? Is it endurance? Is it strength? It is coordination? Just to name a few…
    • Mobility Issue – Find exercises to improve specific mobility issues and do them before or after class. If you have no idea where to start, ask your coach or go see a physiotherapist, etc.
    • Endurance Issue – Instead of short intense workouts all the time, do longer ones that require more endurance and do them often. Maybe your gym programs the longer WODs on Saturday mornings so make an effort to go to these classes every week.
    • Strength Issue – Get on a strength program. For example, if you’re getting pinned at the bottom your clean, it’s probably a good time to concentrate on a squat program.
    • Coordination Issue – Not all of us are blessed with coordination but that’s ok, it comes with practice. That’s all. Practice. But be sure to practice the movement (or rhythm of the movement) correctly.
  • How often do you work on movements you hate? Some of you may say “never” or “only when it’s part of the WOD” so let me rephrase this question to how often do you work on movements you hate outside of class time or on your own? 

Here are a few tips to help you develop a plan to attack your weaknesses:

Do More Volume – Volume is your friend. The more you do a movement, the more comfortable you’ll become with it. For example, instead of working on 2-3 reps of weighted ring dips, do sets of 10 bodyweight ring dips and see how many quality reps you can do. Can you reach full range of motion and can you hold the bottom of the dip with a strong support? If it’s weightlifting related, work on drills and complexes at about 70% of your max. It’s enough weight to give you feedback but not enough to be too heavy.

Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) Workouts – If you have a hard time figuring out how to structure your time to work on certain movements, EMOMs are great in that they give you a structured rest time so you can’t get distracted elsewhere. Better yet, pick one movement you like and one that you don’t like and alternate between the two throughout the EMOM to make it somewhat enjoyable. For example, on every odd minute I’ll do 5 wall balls (hate) and on every even minute I’ll do 5 burpees (like).

Do Max Effort (ME) Sets – Once you’re feeling a little more comfortable with a movement, you can add a ME set once a week. It’s almost like a little test for your progress. For example, you may have started with 5 unbroken pull ups on the first week and now you’re able to do 10 unbroken pull ups at the end of the third week. Progress! It’s also a good way to test your ability to perform the movement while you’re under some sort of fatigue. This mimics an actual metcon. For example, if you’re able to cycle 10 toes to bar when you’re fresh, can you cycle the same amount if you’re performing cleans and pushups in the metcon?

Work with a Friend – It’s more fun and will make working on weaknesses bearable. A friend can also give you valuable feedback while you’re performing certain exercises so you can adjust as needed.

Do It Often – How much time is enough?  I’d say as much as you can without having it interfere with your everyday training. Something as little as 10 min sessions can make a huge difference. This is where a plan will have to come into play. For example, practicing toes to bars can be extremely taxing on the grip and forearms so 2-3x/week is probably enough. Whereas, practicing kicking into a handstand is less taxing and can be practiced on a daily basis.

Be Consistent – Consistency is key. Put in the work, stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. There are no shortcuts.