I actually wrote this way back in 2014 – but for some reason I never finished/published it.
It’s uncanny though as I was chatting with one of my guys this morning re: spending dedicated time working on your weaknesses and seeing that I’ve just come back from a week away down the coast (having spent some time working on a few of my weaknesses) perhaps it’s appropriate that I post this up today…
Let me introduce to you the concept of ‘Goat Freestyling”
Goats are your weaknesses “Metaphorically speaking…” (in a Jim Carrey Mask voice)
They are the movements that you try to avoid because you know you suck at them. Let’s call them goats because goats are annoying animals; they’re pretty ugly and make a horrible sounds (sorry to all the goat farmers out there…) but I’m sure you’ve seen that taylor swift/screaming goat clip on youtube right?
I’ve seen a few of you guys attempt butterfly pull-ups and I think it’s pretty safe to say that quite a few of us look more like a retarded eels trying to break free from a fishing line as opposed to displaying the smooth effortless technique of Camille Leblanc-Bazinet
If the movement makes you look ugly and/or results in the disgusted and/or confused faces of onlookers, Lets call it a goat.
If you haven’t already figured it out, we do CrossFit and this means we’re going to be spending a fair bit of our time, performing a variety of different movements, all the while trying to increase our physical capacity over multiple broad time and modal domains, etc. etc.
Read between the lines: “It may not happen today but one day (and quite possibly in the very near future) your weakness will indeed be exposed…That’s right: it’s not a matter of IF, it’s only a matter of WHEN…” although I’m sure that’s not a problem for you guys… I mean, I see you working on your weaknesses all the time (please note my sarcasm)
Waiting for a magic 3 point plan…
I’m constantly amazed by the amount of people that come up to me on the regular and ask “Hey Coach, when will be be doing ring dips again? I really suck at them…”
“Hmmm… I don’t know… there’s a set of rings over there, good to go – perhaps you should…”
I’ve also heard from people that would spend more time working on technique and their weaknesses if only we offered a dedicated technique session – but that’s giving your power away
If you really wanted it – you would have gone after it already
If you have poor mobility but are waiting for a dedicated mobility session once a week – Here’s the thing: you’re going to need to do mobility work – every. single. day. and all the tools you need are available in the gym right now – eg. ROMWOD, an iPad and a big screen TV to stream it to
OK, so perhaps mobility isn’t an issue for you, But maybe you suck at ring dips, handstand push-ups and/or butterfly pull-ups. It could be pistols and/or legless rope climbs or perhaps it’s OH squats
Whatever you suck at, there’s a good chance one of the coaches may have even told you about it.
Don’t worry – we all have goats but I guess the real question is: What are you going to do about them?
Sometimes it seems like you guys are waiting for a magic 3 point plan from the coaches to conquer your weaknesses and while Ben Manning’s [Sure-Fire-10-min-EMOM-4x/week-increase-your-HSPUs] program works a treat – it’s not exactly rocket science…
Wanna be better at something? -> Spend time practicing it
The best way to to get better at something is to… Hang on a sec. Go grab a big fat texta and right this down on your forehead (so you’ll see it every time you look in the mirror) as what I’m about to say might just shatter everything you thought you knew about life and the universe…
- Choose a Goat -> Pick something you suck at (anything at all); and
- FreeStyle that Goat -> Just do it (practice the movement) whenever it pops into your mind – it could be before a session or afterwards but in the great words of Shia “Just Do It!”
Possible Scenario: butterfly pull-ups.
You’ve just completed your 1 hour group class at Adapt (or where ever you may train) which was 5×5 back squats and a short metcon
You’re feeling pretty good about life, the post WOD endorphins have kicked in and you feel like you’ve got a little bit extra in the tank.
You think to yourself “Man I wish I could do butterfly pull-ups like Karl… He’s such a boss… I bet my Fran time would be quicker if only I had butterflies…”
TAKE ACTION: #goatfreestyling
- Look around to see if there’s space on a pull-up bar closest to you…
- Go directly to that bar.
- Put your hands on that bar.
- Begin to have a go at trying to replicate what you saw Karl do, what you saw Camille do in Slo-mo on youtube (as if you haven’t watched that more than 20x)
It may not happen the first time you try it but I guarantee things will start to click for you and all you gotta do is have a play whenever it pops into your mind.
The scenario above is actually mine and it was I who coveted Karl’s amazing pull-ups in 14.2
I ended up spending a couple of weeks thrashing with butterfly pull-ups before they actually started to click for me and while they’re still not as beautiful as Camille’s, they’re definitely better than when I first started 😉
So that is it
Goat Freestyling is
- Pick a goat (weakness); and
- Work on it – whenever it pops into your head
What are you waiting for? Forget about a magic 3 point master plan to work on your weaknesses and go and do it already.
Much (tough) love,
PS: super-charge your results and overcome your Goats faster
If you really want to super-charge your results and master something in a relatively short amount of time pick a goat and dedicate a week to working on it.
It’s very important that you don’t spend any longer than a week because like I said earlier: “with so many goats to work on – this could take years…” 😉