Category Archives for "Functional Fitness"

Does CrossFit Need Weightlifting or Vice Versa?

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Does CrossFit Need Weightlifting or Vice Versa?

The CrossFit Games were pretty dang exciting this year. There was a 1RM Snatch, a dang heavy clean and muscle-up ladder, and a strongman event. Now that’s what I call an awesome CrossFit Games. The best part was the athletes that ended up on top. Here’s what USA Weightlifting’s CEO Phil Andrews said on Facebook:

Congratulations to former IWF Jnr World Team member Mat Fraser, Australian Olympian Tia-Clair Toomey, IWF 2017 Youth World Team member Kaela Stephano, former Youth Nationals competitor Angelo DiCicco, and former USAW Club Wasatch CrossFit on their Championships at The CrossFit Games.
Some other notable placements:
2017 IWF Youth World Team Member, Taylor Babb – 5th Place 16-17
Pan Am Youth Team Member, Shelby Neal – 6th Place 16-17
National medalist, Romy Gold – 11th Place 16-17
National competitors, Carson Culpepper & Brooklin Smith, Top 20 16-17
National competitor, Vincent Ramirez, 5th Place 16-17
World University Team member, Lauren Fisher, 30th Place, Women
Former OTC Resident, Steve Swistak, 13th Place, Masters M40
#WeightliftingWorks

It’s hard to argue that strength wasn’t the dividing factor at this year’s Games. I just finished looking over all the leader boards, and all you have to do is look at the 1RM Snatch, Clean ladder, and Strongman event to see why people made it to the top 5. If you’re weak, you’re not going to do well at the Games. I think that we can all agree on that.

I was super pumped to see two of my athletes from Youth Pan Ams (I was Team USA Head Coach) last year killing it. Kaela Stephano won the Female Teenage Division, and Shelby Neal took 6th. Shelby is also from my home state of North Carolina. These girls killed it for me last year, so it was amazing watching them roll through the games. Watching their performances is what sparked this article.

At first glance, I was thinking to myself how badly CrossFit athletes need competent strength coaches that are competent in weightlifting. That’s for sure true, but then I started thinking that maybe young weightlifters need a start in CrossFit. Kaela is the best Youth 53kg lifter in the country. Shelby is one of the best. Maddy Myers is the highest ranked 63kg lifter in the country, and we all know her CrossFit skills. Two of my best young athletes started in CrossFit. My 13-year-old phenom Morgan McCullough started in CrossFit and still absolutely loves it. We continue to add CrossFit to his workouts for overall athleticism and general physical preparedness. My 15-year-old Ryan Grimsland missed the games by one spot. I have no doubts that he will make it next year. He won Bronze overall in his first Youth Nationals.

I could go on and on with examples, but I think that I’ve made my point. So which is it? Does CrossFit need weightlifting, or does weightlifting need CrossFit. A lot of people are going to be mad at my answer, but I by now I am use to making people mad. The answer is obvious in my opinion. The answer is they need each other.

CrossFitters need strength and conditioning coaches that understand weightlifting in my opinion or hybrid coaches. I consider myself a strength and conditioning coach first, but I love weightlifting. My friend Spencer Arnold is a perfect example of this hybrid coach. He is known for weightlifting, but he’s just as good of a strength and conditioning coach. What’s the difference? A weightlifting coach understands the sport of weightlifting. A Hybrid Coach understands movement, all aspects of sport programming, and the applicability of weightlifting.

An aspiring CrossFit Athlete should find a coach that understands:

• Physiology
• Biomechanics
• Basics of Physics
• Basics of Anatomy
• Mechanics of Weightlifting
• Mechanics of Powerlifting
• Mechanics of Strongman Movements

I think that it’s time for CrossFit athletes to either find a CrossFit coach that is also one of these Hybrid Coaches, or you need a strength and conditioning coach just like other sports. Kristi Eramo, 13th at this year’s Games, had Spencer, and used Westside Barbell to help her with special exercises to strengthen weaknesses and for extra GPP. If you’re not strong, there’s no point in worrying about your butterfly pull-ups. That’s one thing that was proven this year.

If you’re a youth interested in weightlifting, I recommend finding a coach that understands CrossFit. The general physical preparedness that CrossFit gives an athlete will pay dividends in the sport of weightlifting. Handstand walks, handstand pushups, pull-ups, muscle-ups, and double-unders teach athleticism, while stabilizing the athlete for years of hard work.

I have no doubts that CrossFit has helped to make my 13-year-old Morgan McCullough the best 13-year-old in the country. Yeah he’s big a strong, but he moves better than the smaller 13-year-olds. He’s fast under the bar, and he moves around the barbell better than most of my older athletes. CrossFit is at least partially responsible for his kinesthetic awareness and balance.

So before all of you weightlifting coaches go walking around with your chests puffed out next week, maybe you will want to consider the ways that CrossFit has aided our sport. I think more than ever that it’s a great marriage between weightlifting and CrossFit. I hope that the 2017 CrossFit Games sparks people to work together more than ever to make both of our sports better than ever. I can promise that more and more of my athletes are going to be incorporating CrossFit types workouts and movements into their training. I am also excited to be working with CrossFit Invoke (Christmas Abbott’s famous gym) as they look to prepare a team for next year’s CrossFit Games. I am also working with several local CrossFitters including Ryan Grimsland 21st top teenage athlete 14-15 y/o, and CrossFit Games Teenage athlete Nathan Clifton. I plan on being at next year’s Games with a few of my own athletes. I am excited more than ever to immerse myself in the sport of CrossFit.

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Barbell Intangibles

Come check out the “Mash Strength Spectacular” on September 2nd. Find out more:

==> https://www.mashelite.com/2017-strength-spectacular/

-Powerlifting
-Weightlifting
-Strongman
-or Just hang out
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Barbell Intangibles

There is so much more to lifting weights and strength than simply picking up a heavy barbell. Yeah that’s fun, but there is something so much more that most people are missing. Actually sometimes it feels like the world has forgotten the best parts of the strength world. One of my main missions in life is teaching all of you about the roots of strength training. I want you all to experience relationships that can form simply from a common love of the barbell.

My two best friends from college were not my fraternity brothers or classmates. They were my training partners Chris and Kristi Mason. Yeah they are married now. We formed a relationship based on bleeding together in the weight room. We were there for each other during our successful competitions, and we were there for each other when we didn’t quite hit the mark. We cheered each other on during never-ending sets of squats. We kept each other safe as we pushed the limits of human capabilities.

I remember most the days of Appalachian Fitness Center in Boone, NC while we hung out around the entrance after grueling sessions. Once we were all talking about our love for training. I remember tears running down my face as I explained how much the barbell meant to me. I mean the barbell allowed me to transform my body into just about whatever I wanted. I was in control for the first time in my life. For a kid that grew up in a broken home, that’s a pretty amazing feeling. I couldn’t share thoughts like that with anyone else. They simply wouldn’t get it.

York Barbell got it back in the days of the York Picnics. People from all over the world traveled to York, PA to lift weights together, and more importantly just to hang out together. Was it competitive? Well yeah, but that’s now what it was about. It was about being around people that understood each other if only for a weekend. The barbell bonds people in a way like nothing else. I have met people that I consider family, and the main connection that we had was the barbell.

Maybe I am old school, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of people get that nowadays. People lift weights, take videos, and run home to get on Instagram, and it appears that they are missing the most important part. I remember going to a party with Steve Jeck, Ed Bodenheimer, and Chris Mason during my days at Jack King’s Gym. A couple of beers later and we are lifting logs and stones together like it was the World’s Strongest Man Live from Winston-Salem, NC. If you don’t know Steve Jeck or Jack King, I’ve pretty much made my point.

Here’s the thing. You can have one million followers, and I will say cool you must be a good businessperson. However, that many followers will never allow you into the barbell fraternity. Only blood, sweat, and camaraderie will get you in that club. You have to endure those sets of ten on squats to earn your way into that club. You can take all of the cool videos you want, but it won’t get you there. Hey maybe you don’t care. That’s fine, but it will be you that missed out on the most important part of the barbell experience. Personally I’ve earned my badge. I can look people like Ed Coan, Steve Goggins, Brandon Lilly, and AJ Roberts in the eye, and they will know dang well what I sacrificed during my days with the barbell. You can’t fake that man. True players know! Right Coach Kenn?

In September, I am hosting an event on my family farm in Mocksville, NC called the “Mash Strength Spectacular”. We are hosting it September 2nd over Labor Day Weekend. We are having weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman, but more importantly we are bringing all the worlds of strength together. This isn’t about money as all proceeds go to my non-profit team, so I am not getting a dime. It’s all about bringing back that York Barbell experience.

We are going to lift weights, set records, and crush PRs, but we are more importantly going to hang out into the wee hours of the night talking about training, life, and love. That’s what it’s all about man. It’s all about the community centered around a inanimate object, the barbell. It’s the process that we all go through that brings us close together. The only way in this club is through that grinding process. If you know, you know. If you don’t know, you don’t know. Period!

I hope that this article, rant, or whatever you want to call it resonates with some of you. I want you all to experience the beauty of the barbell fraternity. Lisa G is a lady that some of you might remember. She was a 40-year-old nurse that couldn’t do an air squat until she met me. She went on to fall in love with the barbell and the process. She competed in weightlifting and powerlifting, and she killed it. She died a few years ago, and her passing rocked my world. My heart was crushed. It was as if a sister of mine had died. I have come to realize that it was a sister of mine who died. I hope all of you will experience family like that. family that is created and nurtured in the gym center around the barbell.

They say that blood is thicker than water. Well I say that Iron is thicker than blood!
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Come check out the “Mash Strength Spectacular” on September 2nd. Find out more:

==> https://www.mashelite.com/2017-strength-spectacular/

-Powerlifting
-Weightlifting
-Strongman
-Just hang out

So CrossFit is Stupid?

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So CrossFit is Stupid?

There are a lot of people that hate on CrossFit. So-called experts complain about the programming and the technique that “they” use. My question to them is, “Have you ever been in a commercial gym?” If so, why are you singling out CrossFit? I went to L.A. Fitness in Atlanta this past Friday and a local gym tonight, and man did I see some of the craziest movements of my life. Actually I am not sure that I can even call what these people were doing, “movements”.

Tonight I looked at my wife and said, “Wow this is real! People actually do this insanity.” I shook my head as a group of teenage boys came in the gym, slapped 205lb on the squat bar, and proceed to perform the most rounded back, knee-knobbing, and high squats that I have ever seen. Not to mention they of course were using the sissy pad to protect their precious little necks. I almost threw up, and that’s when I was inspired to write this blog.

You can hate on CrossFit all you want, but I have never seen more insane movements and awful technique than in a commercial gym. Now before I become the first hater of commercial gyms, I want to say that good things do happen in commercial gyms. Heck Ed Coan trained in a commercial gym. Nathan Damron trained in a commercial gym. I just trained in one tonight, so obviously there are people doing it right in commercial gyms.

Here’s the point that I want to make. Whether you are in a CrossFit, commercial gym, collegiate strength and conditioning room, or any other type of gym in America, there will be good coaches, bad coaches, ridiculous people, and amazing people. It doesn’t matter the genre of strength that you love. There will always be good and bad.

I just want to make this point once and for all. I want all of you to know that there isn’t a strength genre that is perfect. There are no absolutes, and that goes both ways. I have met some amazing CrossFit Coaches like CJ Martin, Kevin Simons, and Ryan Grady. They are masters of their craft, and are dang good weightlifting coaches as well.

I have been in CrossFit where all the movements were beautiful. That’s pretty darn impressive because there are a lot of movements to perfect. I have also seen some pretty crazy stuff like a 60-year-old snatching when they had no business snatching. I have watched people snatching that needed to learn how to air squat properly.

I have also been in Division I strength and conditioning rooms where I was actually confused about what was going on. I am talking about major universities with strength coaches that weren’t qualified to teach a spin class at your local YMCA. I have also watched guys like Coach Kenn from the Carolina Panthers run a room as if he was conducting an orchestra with athletes performing exercises with perfect movement.

The problem is that there isn’t enough regulation anywhere in the strength world. A guy goes to a CrossFit certification over the weekend, and now he’s a coach. A guy takes his C.S.C.S and now he’s coaching Division I Athletes because he knows somebody in the organization. Heck a guy or gal goes online tonight and takes some certification, and then gets a job at L.A. Fitness tomorrow. Are you kidding me? Clients and athletes deserve better.

Instead of everyone hating on each other, we need to find common ground where we can judge all coaches. Here is a list to judge a coach/trainer by:

• Have they produced quality athletes?
• Basic understanding of physiology, anatomy, physics, biomechanics, and kinesiology.
• A desire for continued education and an overall thirst for knowledge.
• An eye for movement
• A sincere desire to help their athletes/clients.

If they possess these qualities, you have something to work with. If not, they need to keep working until they have them. I want this industry cleaned up. I want people to get the help that they deserve. There isn’t one genre worse than the other. This is an entire industry problem. Let’s stop pointing fingers, and let’s look around and see where we can help.

CrossFit has done a lot for the strength world. It has introduced more people to the barbell than anything before. CrossFit has been the catalyst for millions of people to get off the couch and into shape. It has done a lot more good than bad. Personally I am a big fan, and I enjoy programming for my CrossFit clients and gyms.

Let’s all stop hating and get to work cleaning this industry up as a whole. Let’s become better coaches and trainers. Let’s work our best to help our clients reach their dreams.

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• “No Weaknesses” (Defeat Muscular Imbalances crush the Recovery Game)
• “Mash Program Sampler” (Athletic Performance, Oly, Powerlifting, and Functional Programming)
• “Mash Program Sampler 2 (8 More 12-week Programs)
• “The Mash Blueprint for Program Design” (Learn all about Programming)
• “Performance Zone” (Defeat all Mental Roadblocks)
• “Train Stupid”(Programming and Philosophy of Nathan Damron)
• “MashJacked” (Hypertrophy for Performance and Aesthetics)

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Adapting GPP to Strength Work by Crystal McCullough

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==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
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Adapting GPP to Strength Work
by Crystal McCullough (Check her on Instagram @crystalmac_72)

Strength training is extremely important and has so many health benefits and very few, if any, risks (knuckleheads aside) for anyone of any age. Women, unfortunately, tend to shy away from strength training because they have believed the old wive’s tale that says women will get bulky if they lift weights. This is a misconception and flat out wrong. “Bulky” is a subjective term that can mean different things to different people. I would love to review a study that compares women in one camp (let’s call them Team Weak) vs. the women in another camp (let’s call them Team Strong) and their incidence of osteoporosis. For those of you that don’t know, osteoporosis is a debilitating disease where bones become so weak and brittle, you can break a bone by simply standing on it. Women, because of hormonal changes as we age, are more susceptible to this disease. Strength training has proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by strengthening bones and increasing bone density. Other health benefits of strength training is decreased body fat percentage and increased muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism is. So, why would we not want to get strong? I target women here because what man doesn’t want to get strong? Women are harder to convince.

August of 2015, I took over as affiliate owner, general manager, and head coach (yes, I wear many hats). One of my responsibilities is the programming, which I absolutely love to do. I came into a situation where the athletes were accustomed to one way of programming which was very traditional CrossFit. It was random and constantly varied. My way of thinking and many of my peers is that strength training should be planned out and you should know why you are programming what you are programming at any given time. The worst thing you can say to a member of your gym when they ask you a question about your programming is “I don’t know”. KNOW!! I have our strength planned out for several weeks in advance and work conditioning around that strength. I had a brief transition period because I was not ready for the programming to be placed in my lap at that time. So, I fell into the mold of random until I could get it together. After a few weeks, I was able to create a template that I felt would better our athletes and keep them coming back. Conditioning is still very much constantly varied from movements to time domains. The program still consists of traditional CrossFit style couplets and triplets in various time domains. I also like to put some non-traditional movements in to shake things up a bit and work on muscular imbalances. Strength is not random nor is it constantly varied. In the last few months, I have adopted the Squat Everyday approach and my members are seeing the benefit in it. I have also begun to add in underused movements such as barbell rows and dumbbell work.

Adapting my athletes to more strength work has not been much of an issue. It has actually been very smooth. I would like to credit my passion and belief in what I program and the backing I have from my other coaches. I will not say that the programming is flawless because there is always room for improvement. I am constantly learning and will adapt the programming accordingly. The worst thing we can do is come to a point when we feel there is nothing else for us to learn because we know everything. We are then no longer useful to our athletes.

Some key points:
1. Have a plan and a purpose for everything you do. Don’t make things up as you go. Take the time to sit down and create a template for programming. Map out your strength cycles and then build in your conditioning around it.
2. Don’t keep that plan from your athletes! Athletes want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It isn’t them questioning your programming, but instead, they are empowering themselves with an understanding of how and why they are training.
3. Have scheduled de-load days, and quite possibly weeks when you think it is necessary.
4. Be able to answer questions posed to you by members. Give your other coaches the same insight so they can answer those same questions.
5. Be passionate about it and believe in the programming you are creating. If you are passionate and believe in it, your athletes will be excited and buy in!
6. Educate your athletes, especially your female athletes, on those myths that make them shy away from strength training. Also, make sure they are fully aware of all the benefits strength training provides.

You don’t want to create a program that will eventually break your athletes due to the volume. The goal should be to better them and, at the same time, give them longevity and an injury free experience if at all possible. The foundation for this is smart programming and also teaching athletes to listen to their body as well as having a coach’s eye when we see an athlete struggling. And I will end with reiterating if you believe in it and are passionate about it, they will be too.

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Last Weekend to get our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
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This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

About the Author:

Crystal McCullough

40-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races, local CrossFit competitions, and most recently competed at the Arnold 2016 XPC Powerlifting Finals as well as USAPL Raw Nationals 2016 in the Open division. Her best lifts are 145k squat, 81k bench, and 162k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance nutrition coach (among other stuff). She is a member of the Mash Mafia Powerlifting team and is currently studying for her CSCS as she prepares to move to Winston Salem with her family in May to join the Mash Mafia crew on a full-time basis.

The CrossFit Paradox by Coach Nick Scott

Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

The CrossFit Paradox

In this piece I am going to go over what I refer to as the “CrossFit Paradox”. This is based off of several years of observation, and experimentation involving literally hundreds of athletes. So what is the CrossFit Paradox? The basic gist of the principal is this: You can improve athletic performance in a given sport using CrossFit training, but you cannot improve in the sport of CrossFit beyond a certain level by only using CrossFit training. Let that sink in a moment…

Now, that we’ve processed that statement, I’m going to start backing up my claim. For years Louie Simmons has been telling big, sweaty, huffing and puffing powerlifters that the only way they can beat the guy standing next to them is to out work them. He has always maintained that a lifter needs to have a good GPP (general physical preparedness) base in order to have the requisite conditioning to be able to handle more volume in the weight room. I think everyone can agree this statement is true. The more fit you are, the more you can do; and the more you can do, the faster you’ll develop. Simple really. So here’s the funny thing, what is CrossFit? Yep, you guessed it….a GPP program (straight from coach Glassman’s mouth).

Over the years I have used Westside barbell methods to train my CrossFit athletes. At every single powerlifting meet I have had athletes in I have always had people on the podium, and in fact at every single meet we have won best overall lifter. Now keep in mind these are CrossFit athletes competing in powerlifting. So we weren’t up in the super high weight classes, and weren’t doing equipped meets. These were all raw meets, and yes we stuck out like a sore thumb. However people were always surprised that we were winning all the time, especially against people that just did solely powerlifting. I would often get asked how I was able to develop their strength so quickly, and I would always reply “CrossFit.”

If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Westside uses the conjugate system for accessories and GPP for conditioning. So what does a metcon end up looking like? A constantly varied group of accessories (conjugate), plus conditioning (GPP). In fact, we learned that prepping for meets, it was actually really easy to combine your conjugate/accessory work with your metcon. Simple, just use movements that make sense and make a metcon out it!

My lifters had such a level of conditioning that they could do more squats, more deadlifts, and more sets of bench than the average powerlifter. They could also recover from their training sessions faster. As a result, my athletes got stronger in a shorter frame of time when first starting out than traditional powerlifters just starting out. I’m not the only person who has seen the light on this, in fact the strongest woman in the world Laura Phelps-Sweatt does CrossFit these days.

Moving on to Olympic weightlifting. At every single meet I have had athletes in, we have won gold. Period! In fact in my team’s first ever weightlifting meet they gave out 10 total medals, my athletes took home 7 out of 10 of those medals. Again I was asked how I did this, again I replied “CrossFit.” For the record, I have only ever trained one dedicated weightlifter…and yeah, I still made him do CrossFit (he hated it too). That guy went on to be the Kansas state champion, and took best overall lifter in powerlifting and weightlifting (he did back to back meets actually). CrossFit lends itself very well to quickly developing weightlifting aptitude. The reasons are obvious, we do Olympic weightlifting A LOT in metcons. Tons of movement pattern reinforcement (if coached properly), as well as even more volume within the lifts themselves. As mentioned previously, more work gets you there quicker. I believe when you have plateaued in a specific thing, and you feel that perhaps “this is my limit” that the way forward is not do more of the same. To me that’s like slamming your head against a wall. But rather the way forward may very well be something else entirely. Only an open mind is capable of seeing possibilities beyond what is in front of them. To achieve true mastery in a thing requires one to often times search outside of that thing for answers.

Lastly in the strength spectrum we have strongman. Every athlete that I have had compete in strongman has qualified for nationals. Every. Single. One. And again, CrossFit. They moved faster, got tired less quickly, and were on average as strong or stronger than their competition. GPP for the win again! Tons of athletes and coaches have added CrossFit into their training to help elevate them in their sport. For example: Cristiane Justino (UFC fighter), New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Danica Patrick, Houston Astros pitcher Brady Aiken, Robert Guerrero (boxer), Erin Cafaro (Olympic gold medalist – rowing), Mattie Rodgers (weightlifter), Ilya Ilyin (Olympic gold medalist – weightlifting), and so on.

Now for the paradox. I have never seen a CrossFit athlete get to a very high level within the sport of CrossFit and break through into Regionals or the Games by just doing CrossFit. Now don’t get me wrong, you can get super fit by just doing CrossFit. But you’ll never see anyone getting to Regionals on CrossFit alone. You can probably smash some local comps, and kill it in your gym against your classmates. But beyond that, it won’t happen. You see a guy named Michael Rutherford way back in the “Preebok” days of CrossFit saw the writing on the walls. He saw that his athletes as a majority weren’t strong enough to do the WODs as Rx’d. Their rate of progress to get to that point was very slow, and in some cases would just never happen. So he started having his athletes do dedicated strength training on top of their WODs. As a result, they got stronger, faster! Again the inverse result, to get more out of CrossFit you needed to do more work outside of CrossFit! Now you see it everywhere with high level CrossFit athletes. They have a weightlifting coach, a gymnastics coach, a running coach, etc. They all know what Louie Simmons has been telling lifters for years. If you want to beat the guy next to you, you need to out work them! But for CrossFit athletes this means doing more in weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, and aerobic-specific training/development.

I will end this with saying that I know this obviously isn’t a catch all and absolute rule for sport specific athletes. There will always be outliers. However, more often than not, I’ll be correct in this. If you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, football player, or what have you, that wants to get better at their sport, then I strongly suggest getting outside your comfort zone big time. Especially in the off-season!

If you’re a CrossFit athlete who is really wanting to breakout, I suggest focusing your training to supplement your sport. If you’re not strong enough, then add in powerlifting. If your Olympic lifts aren’t making the cut, then add in more weightlifting, and so on.

You see, sometimes when you plateau, the answer isn’t to keep grinding forward with what’s in front of you. Then you will just be slamming your face into a wall. Sometimes the answer is to do something else entirely. This only works when you have an open mind and you are able to see the possibilities outside of what lies directly in front of you. It has been my experience that in order to achieve true mastery of a thing, you not only need to have the discipline to train dedicated in that thing until you feel that you have reached the end, but to search outside of that thing for answers. It is when we close our minds to possibilities that we see less.

About Coach Nick Scott:

Nicholas Scott
CrossFit affiliate owner of 5 years. Started my gym in my back yard on a 14’x15’ slab of concrete with some pull up bars stuck into the ground and a squat rack. I have been a personal trainer since 2005, and a CrossFit coach and athlete since 2009. Every year since 2011 I have qualified athletes to Regionals, and have even competed at Regionals twice myself. Over the years I have had the incredible privilege of learning from some of the world’s greatest coaches. I started my coaching education by learning from Rick Hussey and Becca Sawnson at Omaha’s Big Iron gym. They introduced me to powerlifting training and the sport of powerlifting. After receiving my CrossFit Level 1 in 2010 I was lucky enough to be coached and trained in Olympic weightlifting by coaches Mike Burgener, Ursula Garza, Jodi Vaughn, Chad Vaughn, and Cody Burgener. After that I received my CrossFit Endurance certification and worked with several triathletes and marathon runners. Follow him on Instagram: @scottstrengthsystems

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Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

“CrossFitter Turned PowerLifter: Mentality Differences” by Crystal McCullough

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Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
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CrossFitter Turned PowerLifter

“Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

I consider myself a multi-sport athlete. Yes, I am a Powerlifter, but I am still a CrossFitter. I am simply on an extended hiatus from CrossFit to pursue certain Powerlifting goals. My hope is to go back and forth between the two depending on the time of year and the season.

I am going to be honest with you from the get-go. I am a baby in the sport of Powerlifting. I do not pretend to be an expert or even know very much about this sport. I am in the process of absorbing as much knowledge as I can from the best in the sport so I myself can be successful as both coach and athlete. I want to just go ahead and put that out there.

I was initially introduced to Powerlifting in 2010 through a friend of mine that personal trained his athletes out of a CrossFit gym. He then held a meet in that same gym. It was the first time I had heard of a powerlifting meet. We were there, didn’t have anything better to do, so myself and a few other gym members decided to sign up. I had not trained at all for it, nor did I really know what I was doing. That day in May 2011, I benched 110, squatted 205, and deadlifted 275. I thought I was the shizz!! Little did I know how those numbers would change quite drastically over the next few years once I put some work into it. And, man, oh man, I’m not done yet!!

I had always enjoyed the Big 3 lifts from the time I was introduced to them, but didn’t think much about specializing in it. I just thought they were a part of the CrossFit regimen and methodology Kool-aid I was drinking. It has been said by many in both sports that CrossFit has opened up the world of Powerlifting to a very large population. This, in turn, has made powerlifting a more popular sport than previous years. I couldn’t agree more. Powerlifting meets are being held weekend after weekend in CrossFit gyms across the country. Each and every week, more and more people are being introduced to the sport of powerlifting. That being said, I know several powerlifting athletes who have supplemented with CrossFit-style workouts to break up the routine or try something new. It is a symbiotic relationship where both sports benefit from the other in relation to exposure. I believe this will continue as both sports grow.

There is a definite mentality difference between the two sports. Everything in the CrossFit community is for time. You are racing against yourself, the clock, each other….each day you walk in, you are competing in some way. There are no “sets” or focuses on small muscle groups in traditional CrossFit programming. I get looked at funny in the CrossFit gym I manage when I do barbell shrugs or hammer curls. My athletes don’t understand just yet the slowing down and focusing on specific small muscle groups. I am slowly but surely educating them on the importance of dumbbell work. They are already grasping the importance of squatting!! There is a benefit in both powerlifting and CrossFit where these types of movements can be of great value to both sports. When you are stronger, the lighter weights in conditioning workouts can be moved faster. I have had to transition my mentality from GO, GO, GO into longer resting sets and much less conditioning.

For me personally, it has taken time for me to appreciate the rest periods and focus in on the little things that had been neglected/ignored for quite some time. What led me to powerlifting in the first place was a shoulder ailment that would not go away. In all honesty, since focusing on powerlifting, the shoulder has healed and strengthened at the same time. I feel stronger and healthier now than I ever have! Definitely makes you trust the process and very appreciative of my coach forcing me to address the issue.

The one area I was NOT mentally prepared for by CrossFit was making weight and what athletes are willing to go through to get there. I had to make two drastic weight cuts in December 2015 and again March 2016. I went from 162 to 148 in a short period of time. The federation I competed in was a 24-hour weigh in. My attempt to cut weight was two-fold. First, if I could lift the same or better at a lower weight class, well, that would be awesome on all accounts. Second, I proved to myself I have the discipline to do it. There are no weight classes in CrossFit, so instead of focusing on the scale, I focus eating for performance and the weight I will perform my best at in both strength and gymnastics. There has had to be a mental switch on my part to cutting weight for the purposes of a weigh in with no intention of actually lifting at that weight. I have since switched federations to USAPL where I am comfortably in the 72k weight class with minimal to no cutting!

Mental toughness is required in both sports and I know without a doubt, the time I spent focusing solely on CrossFit helped prepare me for what I needed to succeed in Powerlifting. CrossFit requires a lot of skill in gymnastics movements and the Olympic lifts. There are a lot of days you leave the gym frustrated and disheartened. The key is to use those days to fuel yourself to keep pushing to get better. That is where being mentally tough breeds success. Powerlifting is strength only. Yes, there is technique that comes into play with the lifts just like everything else. Foot placement, bar placement, bracing yourself, depth, how you set up, etc. are extremely important and must be consistent with the lightest to heaviest of lifts. At the end of the day, the goal is to stay healthy, train smart, and be as strong as you possibly can be. This could apply to both sports. When I have a training day that I am required to lift at 90+%, I have to be mentally focused in order to be successful.

Whatever the sport you are competing in, mental focus and toughness are the only way you will succeed at a higher level. I will leave you with these pieces of advice:

1. Find a coach you trust and knows what they are doing!
2. Listen to that coach!
3. Work hard and put in the work required.
4. Realize you will have bad days and those are the days that just might be the best training days to train that mental toughness.
5. Celebrate small victories. A PR is a PR and new skills are always worth celebrating.
6. Go back to the basics and make your technique flawless.
7. Don’t talk smack or degrade others. Put your head down and let your numbers talk for you.

You could add so much more to this list, but bottom line, allow your sport to bring out the best in you!!

Good luck to you in whatever you are aiming for!!

Crystal is quickly becoming a world class powerlifter. She has squatted 325lb raw, benched 175lb, and deadlifted 370lb all at the age of 40-years-old. To find out more about her, check out her Instagram: @crystalmac_72

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