Increasing Your Pain Tolerance for CrossFit (Part 11)


(This is part 10 in this never-ending discussion on how you increase your pain tolerance during a high intensity or CrossFit WOD. I would like to say thanks for all the kind words of encouragement from all of you on this series and glad it is helping you all, especially for those who are participating in the CrossFit Open. I have a couple of more suggestions and then I will have one final wrap up.)

Tip #12 Be grateful for what you can do now. One of the powerful emotions you can have is feeling grateful. When you create a sense of gratitude it can lead to whole cascades of other positive attributes like strength, courage, ambition and of course, pain tolerance.

However, in order for gratitude to enhanced your training, I’m not talking about new age or the spiritual shit that you see on the bookshelves of self-help books. I am thankful for nice sunsets and woman with round asses, but theses beautiful things isn’t going to get you mentally stronger.

I’m talking about blood, sweat and tears gratitude that you earn through toughness.

In other words, what you are grateful for must be in the context of your training. For example, when I practice gratitude, I reflect on how much I have change for the better since I started this training. I think back about my weak ways and how I have rid myself of bad habits that have held me back. I used to give up very easily back then, but now I seem to this super ability to handle the bullshit of life and grind through any crisis till I reach my personal goals.

Or sometimes I reminisce about my former, outdated crappy bodybuilding workouts when I was weak as hell compared to my current strength program where I am continuously get stronger. A couple of weeks ago, I hit another PR in my back squat. 305 pounds. Not bad for a 145 pound former weakling and aging 54 year old.

I am so grateful for the changes I made, but these changes did not come easy. Nothing was handed down to me or was given to me. The common theme with these improvements was lots of hard work. Many of these times were filled with frustrations and disappointment, but I through tireless effort and determination, I was able to preserver.

So I am grateful not so much for my achievements, but having the courage to complete the actions behind my accomplishments.

When I reflect about some of my personal and physical triumphs during my pre-WOD mental routine, it always gives me a sense of empowerment. I’ve faced a lot of doubt and fear, but by confronting them, I have grown. I have learned to take this positive momentum and bring it into my CrossFitbe workout feeling unstoppable and unhurtable.

This gives me that extra edge, the extra protection that I need when I know I’m headed for a bout of intense mental and physical pain.

If you want to elevate your ability to suffer to the next level, think about how you have transform yourself for the better since dedicating yourself to mental toughness training. Be specific and marvel at your achievements. Do a quick “before and after” shot of how you were before and how you are now. You should feel a strong sense of appreciation for what you have triumphed, but more importantly, what you have learned about yourself.

Now take this sense of gratitude into your next WOD and watch your ability to manage pain go up a couple of notches.

What I am most grateful for this training is how it taught me how to fight. Not in the literal sense of physical violence, but the ability to keep going when I’m at my weakest. Before this training, my stamina and courage to put up a fight was my weakest trait. I would start off fine, but after a few mental jabs at my soul and I would quickly fall apart and surrender.

Today I am a different man. Not only can I fight back now, but I do so with such fierce aggression. Instead of being on the defensive, I have no qualms about throwing the first punch. And when I do get hit, this training has taught me not only how to take a punch, but a cheap shot in the groin. When I’m hurt, I don’t back down. I keep going. I may crawl and scratch till the finish line, but I will finish.

Finishing for me is now an absolute while in my past, quitting was the norm.

Having the stamina to stay in the fight, is the ultimate sign of a brawler.

When I think about specific moments in my life recently in which I was able to display courage and tenacity, I get a burst of energy as my confidence continues to grow.

I am as grateful as fuck at how much I have changed.

With this training, you can too

Now go tear it up.

(To be continued)

Today’s Strength WOD

5 sets of 5 reps:


Front squat

Push press (with a barbell or with dumbbells)

Dumbbell incline press

Good mornings

When the weights get too heavy and your body starts to give out, you either will give up or you must impose your will into the training. Since today’s theme is about implementing your will, use today’s strength day WOD to hone in and discover how your will can be a major game changer in the strength world. So for those last reps when you are really struggling put your will to the forefront. Remind yourself that even if your body is tired and feeling weak is has no effect on the energy level of your will.

Your will is always on a high motor. It is never tired and capable to pushing your body to do things that you never thought you could. So during the deadlifts, squats, and presses let your will guide you to finishing the sets when you are feeling most weakest. When done, give your will the credit for leading you to the feats of strengths. If you are new to this training, it may seem silly to you to acknowledge something so elusive. But, let me reassure you that the power of the will is real. It is a hidden resource of drive in you that is the major intangible of all bad ass tough motherfuckers. The whole point of BUDS hell weak SEAL training is to find those candidates with a will that refuses to die.

It is your job today to find it in yourself.

Today’s training is just the beginning for you to discover the amazing things a unyielding will can do for you.

Acceptable alternatives:

  1. You can do strict military presses with a barbell or with dumbbells.