Myths about CrossFit competitions and why YOU – yes, you! – should compete! By Vern

If you’ve been doing CrossFit for any length of time, you’ve seen and heard about competitions. There are The Games, of course – but on any given weekend (especially in the summer!) you can find a competition hosted by a local CrossFit box. (Related: CrossFit Sabertooth is hosting the SaberSpook Throwdown on October 27!) Here are some common misconceptions about CrossFit competitions, and a few reasons why you should take the plunge and sign up.

Myth 1: I’m too fat/skinny/weak!

Nah, bro. Like CrossFit itself, CrossFit competitions are for everyone! Sure, there are minimum movement standards, and some competitions are more difficult than others (for example, the scaled division in Granite Games is not the same as the scaled division in SaberSpook). But that doesn’t mean you have to be jacked before you can compete. It means you need to find a competition with movement standards that reflect your overall abilities. There are more than twenty CrossFit gyms in the Minneapolis/St. Paul immediate metro area, with a competition to suit every fitness level.

Myth 2: I have to be competitive!

Nope. Busted again. Even at the highest levels, CrossFit competitions are some of the friendliest events you can find. Athletes cheer each other on, whether in direct competition or not. The whole box erupted in cheers when this athlete got her first muscle-up during a competition at Sabertooth!

Myth 3: I have to be able to do [insert movement here]!

Okay, so this one is a half-true, half-false kinda situation. You don’t want to sign up for a division where you know you can’t reach any of the movement standards, because you are setting yourself up for injury. But if you reframe your definition of winning, you don’t have to be able to do everything.

Example: Our members Corndog and Kayla recently competed at the Calypso Cup at CrossFit Calypso. They registered for the division that would challenge them, knowing that they could reach all of the milestones except one – toes-to-bar. To them, “winning” meant competing and trying as hard as they could. “Winning” did not mean finishing in first place.

Corndog and Kayla worked relentlessly to get toes-to-bar before the competition, and just couldn’t do it. They finished last in the workout that had that movement. And you know what? The world didn’t end. In fact, they did well enough in the other events that they would have placed if they’d had the toes-to-bar movement.

Growth only happens at the edge of comfort.

By reframing their definition of winning, Corndog and Kayla challenged themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. Growth only happens at the edge of comfort, and they are both stronger for pushing themselves past that edge.

Also, on the practical side: for many partner competitions, only one of you needs to be able to do any given movement – you can split it up as the standards allow.

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Example: this guy is Vern’s partner for SaberSpook and he’s doing ALLLL the pull-ups.

Truth: it’s a fun weekend filled with camaraderie, personal bests, challenges, and growth.

One of our members, Tricia, recently took the plunge and signed up for SaberSpook at the end of the month. Now, Tricia has been battling a demon ever since she started CrossFit, and that demon is named Box Jump.

We all have our fears that threaten to cripple us (personally, I can’t handle holding a handstand!). Tricia is physically more than capable of doing a high box jump, but has struggled to get beyond the fear that comes when we stand in front of the box and imagine ourselves clearing it.

Tricia found out that SaberSpook has an event with box jumps, took a deep breath, and got to work.

In the last week, she has gone from not being able to comfortably do a single box jump, to easily hitting 16″ jumps and consistently making the required 20″ jump.

We have a saying here at Sabertooth – #exerciseyourdemons. By signing up for SaberSpook and committing to compete, Tricia has finally started to master her fear.

Similarly, our member Maddie signed up for a Strongman competition last summer. Maddie is strong and powerful, but didn’t know whether she could hack it at a competition. She faced her fears head-on and got a personal best of 20 reps of 245-lb deadlifts.

What are you waiting for?

Life lesson: you will never feel fully ready to take any scary plunge. Whether it is buying a house, getting a dog, or signing up for a CrossFit competition, you will always have lingering anxiety. Face that anxiety down, find a competition, and sign up today. Remember, growth only happens at the edge of comfort – don’t hamper yours!

As always, if you’re brand-new to CrossFit (or an expert athlete), you are welcome at CrossFit Sabertooth! Head to https://linktr.ee/crossfitsabertooth to learn more!

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Get HOT! – by Vern

When is the last time you put any real thought into the most important part of your workout – the warm-up?!

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about it too much. You coast half-heartedly on the assault bike for a few minutes, maybe do some casual rowing, stretch while chatting with friends, and call it good.

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It’s okay to go with the warm-up flow in CrossFit classes, where our coaches – especially coach Matt! – incorporate intense warm-ups in every WOD. When you come to open gym, though, it’s important to create a warm-up that is specific to your workout. A good warm-up will have several components.

First, you need to…wait for it…get warm! Get on the bike, get on the rower, get on the ski erg and get that heart rate up. A good way to ease your body into the warm-up is to use intervals. Do at least three minutes of cardio, breaking up each minute: thirty seconds easy, fifteen seconds medium-intensity, and fifteen seconds of sprinting.

Once your body is warm and you’re breathing heavy, it’s time to warm up your muscles. Dynamic stretching is a great way to do this! Lunge and twist, spider-man walk, bear crawl, broad jumps – anything that combines muscle engagement with muscle mobility.

After dynamic stretches, take your warm-up a step farther and do movements that specifically activate what you’re working on. Let’s take squats as an example. If you jump straight into a squat workout without a proper warm-up, your hamstrings and quads will likely take on most the work because your glutes haven’t been activated. Try this next time you squat heavy, as part of your dynamic stretching:

  • Ten bridge holds (3 seconds each)
  • Ten single-leg bridges, each leg
  • Ten fire hydrants, straight back
  • Ten fire hydrants, to the side
  • 100-foot monster walk
  • Ten jumping squats

By doing a glute-specific warm-up, you’ve activated your glutes and are allowing them to help your quads and hamstrings to lift that heavy weight.

tl;dr: Get HOT before every workout! Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite exercise-specific warm-ups?

Experienced CrossFitter? Brand-spankin’-new to CrossFit? Elite athlete? Couch potato? No matter what, you’re welcome at CrossFit Sabertooth! Click here to set up your own free, personalized intro session.