Do you remember how during the first 6-9 months of taking CrossFit classes you were hitting a new PR every single week? You would come in and see "1RM Backsquat" and essentially know that you were about to put a new PR up. I've seen athletes come in and do a workout on day 1 and then repeat that same workout in 2 weeks and finish it 2 minutes faster on a 6 minute workout! That much improvement is absolutely insane, but we see it all of the time.
Well now you are 12 months into CrossFit and haven't hit a PR in 2 months, and you have zero clue why that is. You are coming even more than you were before and maybe even adding in a fun (but challenging!) session in open gym on Saturday mornings, but the numbers still aren't improving. Why is that?
The answer to your "why" is painfully simple. Think back to your first air squats in First Step. You may remember Crissy saying something like, "push your knees out" or "pull your chest up" about 100 times in 3 sessions and as she drilled it in, your movements improved drastically. Then you got into classes and we put air squats into almost every single warm up. All of the sudden you went from not even knowing what "below parallel" was on a squat (yes, it is a safe way to squat) to putting over 185 lbs on a barbell and squatting it with great form multiple times.
Did you get stronger in your first 4-6 weeks of CrossFit? Without a doubt! Was strength what was truly holding you back in the beginning? For 9 out of 10 people the answer to that is a resounding no. What was holding you back was your quality of movement. It wasn't strength that allowed you to squat below parallel, but instead it was quality of movement that allowed you to display the strength that you didn't know you already had. Once you improved the air squat your back squat grew and this is the way it is with nearly everything in strength and conditioning in CrossFit.
HOW TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD?
So where do we go from here? We go back to the basics. You've heard us stress over and over the importance of "excellence in the detail." Warm-ups can seem mundane and less exciting than strength work but be intentional with your warm ups. If the warmup says to do air squats then do them with as much intent and focus as you did in the beginning. If you are pressing a pvc pipe then press it to full extension and work to improve that front rack position. Nothing is asked of you that isn't fully designed to better you and warm ups are a great way to see increased results in your lifts.
Another good way to grow is to find your areas of restriction with mobility and spend 10 minutes on them every day. Try to spend 3-5 minutes in the bottom of a squat through out the day and maybe get upside down on a wall at your house a few times a week. I can guarantee you you will see measurable results in your performance as your movement patterns begin to improve through hard work and perseverance.
If you don't know how to find your limitations, come talk to a coach, and we will gladly show you a few ways to test, correct, and retest different movement patterns that limit you. What worked for you so well in the beginning will work for you just as well now if you give it the chance. When you limit your limiters you will grow in ways that you didn't know you could, so give the basics a chance and see what happens.