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How Long?


How Long?


21-15-9 reps of:
Clean 135/95 pounds
Ring dips
For this Elizabeth we will use power cleans.

Pistols are a great example of a movement that takes many athletes time to master. Here, Val shows off a pistol during class.

Pistols are a great example of a movement that takes many athletes time to master. Here, Val shows off a pistol during class.

How Long?

One of CrossFit’s oldest sayings goes like this: “CrossFit gives you infinite things to suck at.” 

While we can all chuckle at this saying, we can also all relate to it. Whether you’re new to CrossFit and learned a killing pull-up in class (triumph!) only to find the next day that you are terrible at double-unders – or you’re the seasoned veteran who learns that you’re great at kipping handstand push-ups but strict ones leave you crying for your Mom – EVERYONE can relate to the saying throughout their years doing CrossFit.
But, out of the suck and shot to our egos often comes a determination from the athlete to improve upon a skill, lift, load, movement or technique. For many athletes at the gym, the inability to do something just makes them want to do it more, and they seek out ways to learn to do it. Staying after class, coming to Open Shop, working with a coach 1-on-1, and watching videos of athletes are just a few ways they work to achieve their goal.
But the reward for all of the work rarely comes overnight. Oftentimes it takes a lot longer than they would like. 
We want to hear from you. What skill did you commit to learning and how long did it take you to get it? What was your plan of attack? Was it worth it? Post to comments.

7 Responses

  1. CAL

    Wendy Ball is my “go-to” role model for how to approach skill work: commit, then Just DO the skill practice! Whilst the list of CF skills/movements I find intimidating runs longer than any ultra-marathon, I have made progress on a few:
    Double-unders: I credit Wendy & Lindsey Lettvin for helping me with these. It’s still a process and a practice, and YES! WELL WORTH the effort to do Annie RX!! Took me about 6mos + of dedicated post WOD time being whipped by my rope. First, I took Wendy’s advice and worked on a nice steady rhythm for singles, with focus on fact that jump rate for DUs stays at that SAME nice steady rhythm. Then, a bit of work with those yellow wristy things at home, listening for the “whoosh whoosh, whoosh whoosh” while jumping at that steady singles pace. Second, add the “secret sauce” — ya gotta practice CAL! Lindsey Lettvin said she stayed to do 100 DUs after every WOD, no matter how long it took to accumulate them. So, I started with 50, then 75, and every once in a while, sweated out a full 100. OUCH. When JumpNRope did their clinic at Roots back in July 2012, I could barely manage 10 DUs in a minute. These days, I’m thinking that number is around 50ish? The breathing is one remaining bane of my DU drills -.when I get 20-25 in a row I’m so surprised (and out of breath), that I stop to congratulate myself, then keep going. And now that I’ve posted this Ode to DUs, I’m going to RECOMMIT to practicing, because I’ve put it “out here”. Geez Louise!!
    Handstand against the wall: took a year to get over the “fear of death”, with props to a former Roots member whose name escapes me for the encouragement to “just keep trying to kick up until you get there”.
    Rope Climbs: Took me 2.5 YEARS to get my first one, was able to scale number in wod for a while, and then we got the new slippery ropes and back to square one. Have been practicing footwork w/o looking down at my feet and can now get about 1/2 way up, then fear factor kicks in re: “how the hell are you going to get DOWN this slippy thing, CAL?!!”
    20″ Box Jumps: Yes, I CAN do them. And they still take all the mental courage I can muster. Started on a 45# plate 5 years ago…inched up s…l….o….w…l….y. Made it to 20″ jumps in a WoD after about 2 or 2.5 years ish — YAY ME! There have been some pretty spectacular box jump fails since then….one physical (the great thumb smash), a few mental >> all hail to Coach RYAN whose seen me through the latter with his “Yes, You CAN, CAL!!” approach.
    End of Magnum Opus (aka procrastinating on my Sunday night “home” work!)

  2. lisa p

    One Sunday in the summer of 2012, I showed up to open shop and said to Shane, “I’m going to get double unders before I leave today.”, and I actually did – single, single, double, but double unders no less. I think that’s the only time mind over matter has every worked for me!

  3. Maria

    I commited to muscle ups last year. Took a while, did a los of strict pull ups and strict dips, went to open shop every sunday. Almost ripped my shoulders apart so decided to rest for about a month. Then they just came. it was awesome

  4. Jennifer Kievit

    Kipping HSPU started with a few sessions with Nicole, lots of homework, many open gym sessions and a relentless wife. We consistently practiced the assigned skill work for at least a month and then one day during Diane I committed to rx’ing the HSPU- the most volume I’d attempted to that day and now they are one of my favorite movements. next up…I want that muscle up!!

  5. Two things that come to mind are pull ups and double unders. Both of them took a bit of extra work on my own.
    Double unders are easy to practice for a few minutes before or after a class. As I started and got better I was able to set achievable goals, like accumulate X double unders before I leave. Get yourself a rope so you can get used to using the same one all the time. Be proud of your rope. Hang it in your house on the wall. It is your friend.
    I was on bands for pullups in workouts for quite a while. I was down to one band for long enough that I committed to a plan. I would get 10 unassisted pullups after class until a set of ten felt doable in a workout.
    Once I set out to achieve these things it didn’t seem like it took long. It just became the routine that I had extra work to do outside of class.
    It’s still rewarding years later when movements I remember struggling with are now my friend. The work is worth it.