1. You’re lifting too “light”

Something thought to be reserved for those who are just starting out on their fitness journey (a.k.a. beginners), this deadly strength training sin can happen to just about anyone who isn’t paying attention to what their body is saying to them. With generalized physical preparedness training (CrossFit), there are multiple stimulus / energy systems being trained simultaneously, and as a beginner, the hard part is knowing what you’re capable of.  Truth is, beginners are usually very conscious of their heart rate and using proper technique when it comes to learning new movements.

(As well they should be)

These two things are crucial for laying the foundation for functional fitness success, they often blind the newer athlete from forcing their body to adapt and grow. Paralyzed from fear of sub-par technique, some trainees mistakenly stop too soon or take breaks when they feel the slightest amount of discomfort.

To elicit change and encourage lean tissue growth, a deep “burning” sensation inside the muscle belly will may be a side effect. Sadly, many trainees mistakenly associate this feeling with negative wording such as:

  • Pain
  • Tightness
  • Hurt
  • Weirdness

Although your heart rate may momentarily drop as your movement slows from handling slightly heavier loads, that’s okay! Research shows that that strength is most appropriately developed by using weights at or above 80% of an experienced lifters 1RM.

However, in new trainees, gains in strength (primary neurological in nature) can be seen by using a far less percentage of the lifters maximum capacity. Ultimately, athletes will need to welcome a feeling of discomfort and push themselves repeatedly out of their comfort zone if they wish to continue to improve.

Bottom Line = If you’ve never felt this burning sensation I speak about, LIFT HEAVIER.


2. You’re lifting too “heavy”

What once was thought to have been only seen in seasoned athletes, this CrossFit strength sin doesn’t discriminate. From experience and success with learning the lifts, confidence is likely to develop in the novice / intermediate athlete. With newfound confidence comes the courage to attempt to handle heavier loads.

Unfortunately, this confidence can temporarily blind the athlete and distract them from what brought them success in the first place. In absence of the proper stimulus, that adaptation (that was once so prevalent) has no chance to occur. Thus, choosing a weight that is too heavy, will essentially set the athlete up for failure. These athletes must work smarter to follow a progression that will continue to foster gains in strength.

Repeatedly “maxing out,” and starting workouts with one weight, and ending with another will cast the athlete into strength purgatory of sorts. A place where some never return from, this training mistake can often lead to frustration, injury, or even burnout. Those cursed with this affliction must be honest with themselves and ask for the help of their coach.

Training percentages for metabolic conditioning workouts should be 30%-60% of the athlete’s 1RM, and strength training should thoughtfully balanced. A period of time (months) should ensue without the athlete “maxing out.” The following are all great rep schemes to re-invest in:

  • Perform metabolic training with 40%
  • 5 x 10 @ 60%
  • 3 x 8 @ 70%
  • 4 x 6 @ 80%

Bottom Line = Sometimes more isn’t always more. Every now and and then, lift less… FASTER.


3. Your flexibility is limiting you

This isn’t what you think, and I’m not talking about your ability to reach down and touch your toes here. Actually, you might want to sit down for this one, because if I didn’t describe your training block in the first two bullet points above… Odds are you’re guilty of one or more of the below:

  • You show up to class with a preconceived notion of what you are capable of doing
  • You before you even start
  • You’re not taking your coaches advice to heart

So as you read this, you might be realizing right now that your MIND, is what’s holding you back. You’re not going too heavy, you’re not going too light… You’re just showing up and expecting to get better through osmosis.

(Which is actually the most deadliest of all the strength sins)

The beautiful thing about the way that we do fitness here at CrossFit Hard, is the fact that we can measure our progress. You must take control of your investment, and chronicle the ups and downs of your journey if you’re looking to succeed long term. Plan the days in which you’re going to give it an all out 100% effort, while also scheduling those in which you’re willing to work on your weaknesses, invest in learning a new skill, or nailing down an advanced technique.

Bottom Line = Get out of your own way!

In Strength,

Coach Graham


WOD 112216

How do you cook your Turkey?

Holiday Body Weight Challenge Day 6 - 12 burpees

Stay engaged. Have fun. Do some burpees, and don’t let your fitness fall behind this holiday season!

Please note we are only running a 9am class this Thursday, Thanksgiving day, all other classes are cancelled.

Regular schedule all other days this week.

Reminder - CrossFit Hard in conjunction with Manna Food Center, is running a food drive, and we need your help! Join our efforts to collect as much food as possible to be donated to the hungry all over Montgomery County just in time for the holidays.

Dates: November 8-November 22

Collection Site: There will be boxes placed inside CrossFit Hard. Please bag any heavy items.

What to donate: all items must be non-perishable; see below for specific items

Please consider donating the following items:

*Peanut Butter

*Canned vegetables

*Canned Fruit

*Canned tuna

*Boxed pasta

*Boxed Mac n Cheese

Questions: Ask any coach and they will be able to give you more information! If you would like to know more about Manna Food Center, check out their website:

Please give all that you can; you can make a difference this holiday season!

Warm Up 3

Warm Up
2 Minutes of Single/Double Unders
Two Rounds:
3 Inch Worm Progression
10 Scorpions (5 Per Side)
10 Slam Balls
10 Air Squats
10 Air Squat Hold Bottom - 3 sec
10 Air Squat Jumps

Quad Foam Roll
Calf Smash Roll
Hip Flexor Band Stretch - Squat Rack
Squat Hold - Squat Rack


Every two minutes, for 20 minutes (10 sets):
Clean x 3 rep

Build over the course of the 10 sets to today’s 1-RM.

Metcon (AMRAP - Rounds and Reps)

“Five-Minute Capacity Test”
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 5 minutes of:
5 Squat Cleans (135/95 lbs.)
10 Burpees Over the Barbell

Cash Out

12 Burpees

Then 800m Run, Row or Bike

Out of Town WOD

EMOM for 14 Mins

5 Air Squats

6 Jumping Lunges (Alternating Legs)

5 Hollow Rocks


CrossFit Journal: The Performance-Based Lifestyle Resource