Increasing Your Pain Tolerance for CrossFit (Part 2)

cursiing 2

(This is part 2 to this series on how to increase your anaerobic threshold for CrossFit training. See read about tip#1, see last week’s blog)

Tip #2 – Expect the Pain to Come in Abundance

Get ready for the upcoming pain is a coping skill that you must develop in order to perfect your skill to suffer. The better you gear yourself up for the upcoming suck, you better you will be able to handle it and fight back.

If you do a famous gut-wrenching WOD like “Randy” or “Barbara” you just know that hurt will be inevitable. Mentally giving in to the upcoming pain party is not a cop out. Instead, you are preparing yourself to be aggressive and resilient when the bleeding begins.

The worse thing that can happen to any competitor is feeling over confidence before a WOD begins. It is one thing to feel assure of yourself and in your ability to overcome challenges. This is good thing and something I want all of you to obtain during this training. However, it is mistake to think you won’t take a hit in the face or kick in the groin when fighting a strong opponent. When that strikes land on your body, they will hurt. I don’t care how good you are at doing pull-ups or how strong your chin is. The way most of this CrossFit WODs are structured there will always be a point in the WOD where it fuckens hurts like hell. Remember the whole point of the physical training is to make you want to quit.

Pain is always an absolute in CrossFit.

Mentally preparing for this hurt will help stop the hurting. If you think you are invincible to the suffering, it will exponentially hurt more when it comes.

Again, knowing that the extreme discomfort is coming is not being in a pessimistic position. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The only way to deal with the forthcoming misery is to fight back with an aggressive mindset. When the deep muscle burning happens and the uncomfortable feeling of not being able to breath normally begins to capture you, you must fight back with a relentless mindset that refuses to be broken

The more your body hurts, the more aggressive your thoughts need to be. You need to pull out your mental arsenal of mantras and positive self-talk to counterattack the fatigue and pain state that you are in. This is how the mind begins to manage and overtake your suffering so you can keep on giving your best effort to the WOD.

The best way to do is to mentally prepare and psych yourself as if the upcoming WOD is going to be the worst hell in your life. Don’t ever assume it is going to be walk in the park. If you underestimate a WOD or any athletic competition, you will be sorry. So don’t do it.

Gear up for World War or an opponent that can manhandle you. This fear of getting stomp should automatically put you into fight mode and elevate your tolerance to the pain that will be inevitable. By doing so, you are preloading your mind to be aggressive when you need it the most.

When you have this ability to fight back while at the same time increasing your tolerance to pain, you will always have the capability to not only handle misery, but to defeat it.

Tip #3 – Swear and Drop as Many F-Bombs as You Want.

Many scientific studies have shown that swearing improves you ability to deal with pain. One of these experiments had two groups put their hand in a bucket of really cold water. The control group was instructed not to say a thing while having their hands immerse in the ice cold water while the experimental group was encouraged to swear like a drunk sailor. Not surprising, they found that the group that swore had a higher threshold to the pain from the cold water than the group that didn’t drop any f-bombs.

I was ecstatic when I read about these scientific studies on cussing! I’m an uncontrollable trash and vulgar talker in the gym so I was thrilled to read that there are some positives to my potty mouth. Wow, I would have loved to volunteer in these studies!

Before, you start cussing up a storm while you are training at your gym, let me give you a warning beforehand so you don’t get ejected from your shitty global gym. Awhile back, I was training at this really wussy gym where swearing was NOT allowed. I was getting ready to a heavy set of high rep squats and taking shit to myself by unloading a ton of “motherfucker this and motherfucker that” to get me into the mind frame of embracing the upcoming pain.

Right before I was going to do my set, the fucken ass licking employee who-looks-like-he-never-squat went up to me and said, “You can’t say the F-word in this gym.

I was flabbergasted and caught off guard. In my 30 years of training, I never heard of such an absurd rule in a gym before. This is just another sign of how this society has gotten so soft and continues to repressed male testosterone.

So just the warning to you all! I don’t any of you kicked out of your pussy gym like how I almost was! (UPDATE – Sadly, I got emails from some of you that profanity was NOT encouraged and looked down upon at some of your CrossFit boxes. Ridiculous!)

I’m still a huge proponent to swearing while training if you do it naturally. If you curse just to do it, it will sound very forced and you will look and sound like an idiot

I still swear all the time while I train. Sometimes, I just mumble it before hand or I scream it out loud in my mind. It gets me in the aggressive state that I need to be in when I’m about to deal with loads of suffering. When I’m coaching, you bet your sweet ass I’ll use whatever fucken language I feel like using. If it offends, well then you can go find another coach. Not surprising, the more offensive I am, the harder and more effort I get from my athletes.

Swearing just amps up my attitude and apparently those around me too. However, in terms of those scientific studies, I think cussing like a sailor was just a strong distraction to the pain from the cold water. If that’s the true reason why swearing works, it can be a powerful coping skill.

Using a strong cerebral distraction as means of ignoring the burning of muscles is a smart strategy to developing mental toughness. I could argue that positive self-talk and mantras are also power distractions as well. What I like about these mental distractions is that you must create them in your mind. You must call upon these distractions tools. They are internal mental tricks compared to strong external distractions like music or watching TV while training. The problem with external factors is that we don’t create them in our mind. We must be depended on them. Unfortunately, they become a hitch for us to lean on which makes us weaker.

Do yourself a favor. Ditch the headphones and cuss up a storm instead.

Unless you are in a pussy gym like how I was.

(To be continued)

Today’s strength day WOD:

5 sets of 5 reps


Military press

Back squats

Good mornings

Barbell roll outs

I get a lot of emails on how to get a bumpy set of abs. One of the best ways is to do a lot strength training. It all has to do with the setup. It is important to get your core tight before you begin. If your abs are loose before you touch the weight and you tighten up right before you begin the lift, it is already too late. You most likely will over extend and put your back in a precarious position. So always before you touch the weights: get your shoulders back, brace the abs, squeeze the glutes and screw your feet into the ground.

During all the movements today, really focus on tensing your abs as hard as can throughout the lift. This is your number one priority today. During your rest in between sets repeat the following mantra over and over in your head: By squeezing my abs hard, I will be protect my back and get the six pack that I always dreamed of. Drill this mantra in your head. Trust me, when it comes to strength days or metabolic conditioning WODs, we all get distracted easily and lose our focus. So today, go overboard and overdo it by reminding your over and over the importance of being stable and the aesthetic benefits of doing it.

Now only will your form be better, but you’ll look better neeeeked because of it.

A win-win situation for your strength and your looks.

Scale back version of today’s WOD:

1. Do three sets of three reps.

Acceptable alternatives:

1. You can use dumbbells for the presses. If you have an ab wheel, you can you use that over a barbell for the roll outs.