|The 2010 CrossFit Games at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles|
Training vs. Competition
This weekend the 2011 CrossFit Games Northern California Regional qualifiers are happening in San Jose. The best men, women, and teams from this region will again assemble to compete at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles in July for the 2011 CrossFit Games.
In light of the games season, the question often arises, "What is the difference between CrossFit competition and CrossFit training that we do day in and day out?"
In CrossFit competition the goal is to win. The movement standards are laid out, and you do anything you can within those standards to maximize movement economy, speed, and leverage, while minimizing effort, fatigue, and time. It is as much about good strategy and mental preparation as it is physical preparation.
Daily training at The Compound is a little different. The movement standards are laid out just as in competition, but in order to get better more range of motion should be used, more control, more technique, more weight, etc. Training is where we get better, and that improvement is displayed in competition.
A good example of the difference between competition and training is the deadlift. For competition purposes the bar must start from the floor and be lifted until the hips are fully open at the top. Those are the only standards. If your chest is too low, back is too rounded, or knees are caving inward, those things don't matter in a competition. In competition it is perfectly acceptable to almost bounce the bar off of the ground on each rep and stand back up, as long as the standards are met (floor to open hips).
In training, however, your deadlift should contain all of the above listed checkpoints: chest up, neutral head, bar close to the body, good lumbar curve, knees over the toes, open hips at the top, and each rep should come to a dead stop on the ground before the next rep is completed. That is how you get stronger in the deadlift, so that when you do compete you are faster, stronger, and a more efficient mover.
Some of you may be thinking that for you, CrossFit is what you use to stay in shape and you will not be competing any time soon. For you, your competition is with yourself. Every so often we program CrossFit Benchmark WOD's. These WOD's normally are named, often with girls names. These are your competition. These workouts are when you are trying to maximize your movement efficiency and get the work done as fast as possible within the standards of each movement.
Our typical days, however, have strength work, skill work, or metcons that are designed to make you progress in the benchmark workouts when they come up. On the non benchmark workouts, make it more difficult on yourself. Use more range of motion if you can do so safely. Use more weight up to rx'd or higher, even if it takes you longer than that person who you normally compare scores with. Work on your pull ups and get out of those bands. Go for accuracy and consistency with the wall balls. Take those opportunities to get better so that when Fran, Elizabeth, Helen, Fight Gone Bad, or the CrossFit Total show up, you will set new PR's each time.
This is what we mean when you hear "check your ego at the door." Every day at The Compound is not a competition, but every day is a chance to make yourself better. Train most of the time, compete sometimes, but always look to improve. bc