Don't Train Failures

Photo credit: Benjamin Von Wong

You've probably been in this place before. You're working up to a heavy single or maybe even a one-rep max, and perhaps the lift is something technical like a clean or a snatch. In your pursuit of The Fitness you begin adding more and more weight to the bar until you get to the point where you miss the lift. So you try again. And you miss again. And you try again and you miss again. Perhaps this goes on for 15 minutes. Missed lift after missed lift. You're getting pissed but you keep trying and keep failing.

Finally a coach or someone with a little bit of experience, tells you what they're seeing, gives you some advice and a cue or two. If it's a glaring breakdown in technique, maybe that person even suggests you drop the weight back down to work on your form, and then make your way back up. Has this ever happened to you? If not, you've probably at least seen something similar in your own gym.

Does the person listen? Sometimes. But CrossFittters can be stubborn individuals and they want to PR every damn day. So they won't accept a missed lift. They'll keep failing over and over again because that shows heart, determination and guts, right? Wrong. That's stupidity and thickheadedness. That's a good way to get injured. That's a great way to reinforce bad form and mechanics.

Training failures (not to be confused with training to failure, that's entirely different), as in not learning from your mistakes and continuing to try over and over again after repeated missed lifts is not helping you get better. I think Einstein said it best, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This is not to say that if you miss one lift that you shouldn't try again. But if you missed it 7 times in a row. Maybe you should drop the weight down, make the lift and end on a high note. Instead of beating yourself up for failing, praise yourself for doing it right. 

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