(This is part 8 on this very in depth look on to increase your perceive pain perception to CrossFit. I never realized I was such a pain specialist, but it seems from the responses I have been getting that the advice from this series is helping you all. That’s good to know. I have more thoughts and ideas on how to elevate your reaction to suffering from the WODs, especially now that the CrossFit Open has arrived.)
Tip #9. Take responsibility for your weakness. I’m going to assume most of you follow this site because you want to rid yourself of your evil weak ways. One of the reasons why you are having a difficult time dealing with pain is because some of you are a former pussy while others are still stuck in your pussy ways.
I know for me, I lived all of childhood and adolescent years as a whiney, excuse-making crybaby. If I had little scratch from the playground or a ball was thrown to hard at my head during dodge ball, I would weep like an infant in diapers. This negative pattern continued way into my adult life where I hid my tears, but I was still overly fragile and very soft.
When I reflect on my “why” before the WODs, I always ruminate on my pathetic weak lifestyle. I still hate myself for past passive actions and am motivated to whip out my memories by overachieving in the WODs. In order to do this, I now must be able to handle pain. If not, I am still the weak and puny individual that my memories remind me of. I have no choice, but to raise my body’s strength to say no to hurt.
I hope this sounds like I am bitching or feeling sorry for myself. I am not. I have nobody to blame but myself. I am totally responsible for who I was and was I am now becoming.
When it gets time to train, my memoires are strongly ingrained in me and completely effect how I train. In other words, by taking responsible for the past, I feel I am also empowered to change the future as well. And the best way to transform myself is to be better and stronger in handling physical and emotional pain. Whenever I show myself that I can handle suffering, it is evidence that I am taking an active and responsible role in turning myself into pain-ignoring-machine.
So, in your pre-WOD warm-ups, reflect on your past failures, mistakes, and weak choices. Think about them not to get you down, but to motivate you that you now have to ability to not repeat those weak actions. This strength acknowledgment can be carried through and tested in the upcoming WOD. By deliberately raising your tolerance to the discomfort from the WOD is a step that your are making gains in your mental toughness development.
Again, what makes responsibility for your past mishaps so empowering is that you don’t play the victimization role anymore. I know for myself, once I was able to free myself from blaming others for my former weak ways was my first step towards self-transformation. When I stopped pointing fingers at my enemies and started pointing them at myself is when I shifted power of control into my hands.
This was a huge turning point in my life and I will be for yours too. What you will learn is that you have the ability to change from being a weak individual into one that owns up for all his bad deeds and convert them to meaningful experiences. When you can get over your past adversity and benefit from it is the trademark that you are becoming a stronger person.
So today, take responsibility for your former misery, know that you have the ability to change it and use this new source of empowerment to better yourself. The WOD is still going to hurt, but instead of being a big time sissy, you can tolerate the discomfort and go on.
Remember you have no choice. Either you handle the suffering and show yourself you can be tough or you don’t. If you can’t up your ability to dealing with hurt, it may a sign that you will be a weak bastard the rest of your fucken life. Let’s hope that’s not true. LIfe will clearly suck for you. But, I’m going to remain optimistic. If a former crybaby like myself can change so can any of you. It starts with taking responsibility with your life.
When you take ownership of your past and aim to change it, you’ll tolerate new levels of suffering in the gym that you never knew you had inside you.
Now go tested it out for yourself.
(To be continued)
Strength Day WOD –
5 reps for 5 sets
1. Strict military press
2. Back squat
3. Bench press
4. Good mornings
5. Toes to bar
Now that you know how to brace yourself, you are ready to put your body into action. However, getting your body all tight and stiff while standing up is one thing, but moving your tight body into a deadlift or squat position, now that’s whole different story all together. It takes a lot of practice as bracing while moving is a skill in itself.
In the meantime, you can still practice the bracing method, one body part at a time. For now, just concentrate on bracing your abs as hard as you can before you begin the movement and during it. For example, before you begin the military press, brace your midsection first and then get under while maintaining the tension in your abs. The same goes for the bench press. Even though you are lying down, you still can make your stomach hard and tight. Once you got your tummy braced, grab the bar and then pump out some reps while still maintaining this tension in your abs. Instead of focusing on just your chest muscles, you now make the bench press into a full-body movement because you are working your abs too. As you get used to bracing while benching, you can later add your legs, backs, shoulder to make the bench press even more of a complete total body movement. This strategy is coming up in upcoming posts. For now, just concentrate on keeping your stomach tight. The tricky part now is how to breathe while keeping your abs nice and firm. Here is a good article on what you can to practice this bracing method while breathing.
Like any other skill, it just takes a lot of practice on your part to do. However, with diligence and focus, breathing while stabilizing your midsection will become second nature. This post may not be the sexy abs article that you may have been expecting, but I hope you take the importance of bracing your midsection seriously. In future posts, I will go further in how to get those washboard abs, but in the meantime, please take the time to work on this method of getting your body as tight as possible at the gym and out of the gym.
So the next time you are standing up and having a casual conversation with a friend, in a long line at the bank, or talking on the phone, do the following: screw your feet in the ground, get your glutes on, tighten up your belly, look forward and get your shoulders down and back. Get your body as tight as you possibly for ten seconds without letting people aware of what you are doing. If you do this ten times every day, you are not only practicing saving your spine, but working your abs better and definitely safer than if you just did 100 sit-ups.
Now stand up and get tight.
Scale back version of the WOD –
1. Do three reps for three sets.
2. Omit the toes to bar.
Acceptable alternatives –
1. You can use dumbbells or a barbell for the military or bench press.
2. Lifter’s choice for the bench press. You can use a flat or incline bench.
3. If you like, you can do RDL instead of the good mornings.