Patch Your Achilles Heel

“You’ve injured me, Farshooter, most deadly of the gods;
And I’d punish you, if I had the power.”
 – Achilles, The Iliad
Was brave Achilles lamenting being struck down by Apollo, who shot an arrow at his ankle, the only vulnerable spot on his body?  Or is this “Farshooter” actually Mr. Dave Castro, and Achilles’ part played by the average CrossFitter when Double-unders are revealed in an Open workout?
As the CrossFit Open draws near (the first workout will be revealed Thursday, February 21st), the timing couldn’t be better.  If you haven’t been already, now is the time to focus on a new goal for 2019, and you don’t have to wait very long to test your results!  I encourage all of us to identify that one glaring Achilles’ Heel in our CrossFit skillset, and attack it without mercy for the next 6 weeks.  If not now, then when?  And if not Double-unders, then what?  Toes-to-bar?  Squat Snatches?  A Bar Muscle-up?  Be honest with yourself about what you would REALLY not want to see come up in a workout, and write it down.
Underneath that, write down a SMART goal, and a plan.  A SMART goal, if you’re not in the know, is:
Specific – not just “get better at pull-ups”, but “5 consecutive chest-to-bar pull-ups”
Measurable – similar to above, but make sure you can measure whether you achieved it or not
Attainable – is this realistic for you, in the given timeframe?
Relevant – we’re talking about The Open here, so running is out.  Think gymnastics and weightlifting.
Time-based – you have 6 weeks
Now, a plan.  Set a baseline for where you are right now, and then map out how you will achieve it.  If your weakness is skill-based, you need to build in lots of time in your plan for practice.  If there is a strength component, use your baseline test to figure out the most difficult variation of that movement you can currently perform, and then set a benchmark for when you will move on to a more difficult version.  For example, once you can do 5 sets of 3 strict pull-ups, you should move on to performing 5 max sets of strict chest-to-bar pull-ups until you are at sets of 3.  Then move on again to a more difficult skill.
Here is where you might need help, or at the very least someone to bounce your plan off of to see if it makes sense.  At CrossFit Kent Island you have access to 8 CrossFit trainers with varying backgrounds, but all of them REALLY want to see you succeed and will help you brainstorm or punch holes in your plan if you ask, I promise!
I know that my current goat is Double-unders – my technique of tensing every muscle in my upper body and holding my breath makes for an endurance crash that I have a hard time recovering from mid-WOD.  So my plan is to work on relaxed Double-unders every training day for 10 minutes, and then do 200 for time to work on staying relaxed while feeling the stress of the clock.
Achilles was too proud to admit he had a weakness, and consequently was struck down when it counted the most.  Find your Achilles Heel now, and put on the strongest patch you can, fastened down by a smart plan and hard work!

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