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5 Memorable Tips to Set New Personal Records at CrossFit

If you've been doing CrossFit long enough, you know that you can’t expect to see the progressions you had from month 12 be the same as month 18. The improvement in muscle size, fat loss, and strength isn't just the same. There's a proverbial "wall" that every serious CrossFitter will hit at some point. But that doesn't mean there's no room to get to the next level.

So if you want to get an edge and smash your way to new personal records, read these 5 unforgettable tips from CrossFit Sanitas coach Tom Baker.

Tip #1 – Don’t spend too much time in the lower percentages of your maximum lift.

According to Coach Tom, the one that seems to work best for him is 5,3,1,1 and then attack!

  • Set 1 is 5 reps at 65-70% effort
  • Set 2 is 3 reps at 75-80%
  • Set 3 is 1 rep at 85-90%
  • Set 4 is 1 rep just below or just above your current PR
  • Sets 5, 6 and 7 are budgeted for your new personal record.

"When I lift, I usually go off “feel” and how good (or bad) the movement looks. If I hit my 1 rep max deadlift on set 4, and it could have looked better, I take about 3 minutes and only add about 5-10 lbs."


Tip #2 – Make aggressive and calculated attempts on your lifts.

If you stay true to rule number 1 then you know that you can ramp up rather quickly. The time between sets should be around 3 minutes, given how you feel. As you ramp up towards your new PR, you may need more time to recover.


Tip #3 – You get a shot at three failures, then stop.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a lift. What you need to do is to make a realistic assessment. You can start by troubleshooting your technique or decreasing your weight. A good rule of thumb if you miss lifting a weight 3x: just stop, chalk it up, and move on.


Tip #4 – Stay safe and train intelligently.

Learn to know your limits so you can work around it. If you need to bail from a lift, bail from it safely. There is no shame in bailing from a lift; it means you’re attempting something hard. If you’ve already hit your PR, be smart and know your limits.


Tip #5 – Get some help

If you’re feeling stuck on or have questions about your technique, you may benefit from some in-depth coaching. Complicated lifts sometimes require custom coaching. So reach out to a coach who's been there. He/she can definitely help you get to that new PR.

Of course, the most important tip is to always have fun. Whether it’s an increment of 1 or 5kg, a new personal record is still a definite sign of improvement. Celebrate and record PRs, whatever they are.

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