Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity
Are you new to CrossFit? Maybe you've tried a variety of different fitness regimes in the past, or this may possibly be your first real exposure to exercise. Regardless of your athletic background, current conditioning, or experience, the beauty of CrossFit is that it is the best general strength and conditioning program available. That said, there is a progression. We all had to sit up before we could walk, and we walked before we could run.
As in anything new you learn, the teaching process matters. Proper and effective coaching matters. Whether your goal is to improve your general health and fitness, augment a sport, or become competitive in the sport of CrossFit, the first and most important component of beginning CrossFit is to follow its charter of mechanics, consistency, and then intensity. These three aspects are intricately interrelated. CrossFit does not work to its potential unless you execute each one and understand how it is bound to the others (A CrossFit Startup Guide: Part 1).
Mechanics refers to technique. We want people to learn proper movement patterns before focusing on increasing a load or introducing more complex concepts. If you have proper movement quality, then we next want to see consistency in the movements. For example, we will introduce you to a shoulder press with a PVC pipe. Once the bar path and body position are correct, we will look for consistency in the movement before adding additional load or increasing repetitions or speed.
Intensity, as Coach Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit, formally states, is the independent variable most commonly associated with the rate of return on favorable adaptation. More simply put, intensity brings about all the good results from working out. However, we also have to realize that intensity is relative to our physical and psychological tolerances. This is a process, and one that takes an indeterminate amount of time, so it's important to be patient. Elite-level athletes may be ready to ramp up their intensity in a couple of weeks, while de-conditioned athletes can take months or longer. The goal of CrossFit is to improve your fitness for life; no one ever got in shape overnight. It takes time and commitment.
We can’t emphasize enough that sound technique is the most efficient and effective road to fitness. Proper movements will allow you to lift more weight, perform more repetitions faster, or both. More work in less time means higher average power (force x distance / time = power). Higher average power means higher intensity. Higher intensity means better results. Therefore, proper mechanics are the ideal supports for the bridge to fitness.
Be patient, stay the course, enjoy the process, and celebrate your successes along the way. Log your workouts and barbell lifts so you can look back in a week, month or year to see how far you have come!