As published in CrossFit West
By Sam Radetsky
May 14, 2010
Stuck at a training plateau? Here are five great and easy methods that every CrossFitter can do to break out of that plateau and hit new heights in your training.
1. Back squat 5×5 linear progression.
This is the big one. Four months of back squat linear progression will give you more strength and add more numbers to all your lifts than just about anything else you can do. So why don’t more people do it? It’s hard, very hard. You do the 5×5 once a week. That’s five sets of five repetitions at the same weight. Each week add 5 pounds to the bar. Start with a low number, such as a 10RM weight. This will also work with any big and systemic movement, such as deadlifts or front squats, but the back squat is the classic.
2. Sled Training.
Sled work is a stunningly effective training method. Push it, pull it, sprint with it, use your imagination as just about anything works, but the push is king. If you don’t have access to a good sled, then push a car. For pulling, a tire with weight inside, like a couple dumbbells or kettlebells, works as well.
3. Hill Sprints.
Looking to combine leg strength, speed, conditioning and fun all into one workout? Look no further than hill sprints. Just find a gnarly looking hill and sprint up it. You can do all kinds of distances and intervals on a good hill. My favorite is Miramar on the westside—about 100 yards of brutal.
4. Change Your Class Time.
Sometimes training plateaus are just about being in a rut. A very simple fix is to change the time you go to class. Train in the evening? Try the morning, or vice versa. This will often get you a different trainer who has a different style or focus and that might be all you need to boost your training. Different classes have different people and different vibes that might really click for you.
5. Dial in your nutrition.
It should go without saying that nutrition is the first place to look if you have hit a plateau. Frustration with a plateau and lack of progress and bad nutrition is like worrying about airbags and never wearing your seat-belt. It’s just that important.
Two extra ones:
6. Recovery and Mobility.
Recovery and mobility is an often underrated field in CrossFit. Some focus in this area will do wonders for your general muscular well being, as well as specifically improving your ability to squat, go overhead, and lift off the ground. Stretching and myo-fascial release is the name of the game here. Get a foam roller and a lacrosse ball and learn to be slightly masochistic. While there is certainly technique and methods to stretching, most people need to just get down and do it. Other important recovery techniques include getting more sleep and fish oil.
7. Explosive Training.
Take a tip from Olympian hammer thrower Kevin M and incorporate a little more explosion into your training. Kevin always ends a workout with something fast and explosive. Med ball throws to the ceiling, jumping, some light and quick high pulls; he always primes his body for speed and power after a workout.