Shrugged Collective

Don’t hide behind your strengths

Balance is critical. 

I’ve had the chance to spend quite a bit of time at various Boxes around the country, and I’ve trained with some amazing athletes. One thing I’ve noticed from some of the better competitors is that they never place unnecessary focus on developing excessive maximal strength.

You have to be very strong to be successful in anything, Crossfit included. Rich Froning is plenty strong, as is a guy like Sam Dancer. However, they aren’t nearly as strong as they could be if they dropped the cardio and hard WODs. But that doesn’t matter. Getting stronger is great for ego, but it’s not what’s best for the athlete. The top guys realize that the sport they play requires a balance.

Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses is key.  Once you have the data, and if you are honest with yourself, then you can make a plan…You must have a plan.

If you can back squat 600 pounds but can’t do 10 pull-ups then your priorities are fucked. Own up to your weaknesses and figure out a way to fix them, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it is. 

Find someone that can offer a qualified, unbiased assessment, then do exactly what they recommend. Shit up and do the work. You’ll be a better athlete because of it.

Sure, there are occasional max lifts in competitive fitness events. But the athlete that has the most consistent day is still the athlete that’s going to win. That’s never going to change. There is so reason to go out and win a strength event by 100 pounds, only to finish last in the gymnastics or running events. If you really want to be competitive you must be realistic. 

Maximal strength is awesome, but if that is your primary goal then you should consider taking up powerlifting.  

The balance in top athletes is what makes them impressive.  Do not be the guy walking around with your chest puffed out because you can out deadlift everybody in your Box. Believe me, people notice that you suck at double-unders and wall-balls. 

Work to be good at everything. Take pleasure in picking up new skills, just find that sweet spot where the effort and reward are balanced. Set a variety of goals across the board that complement each other. Push the squat if you need to get strong, but there’s nothing stopping you from also increasing your max number of pull-ups or handstand pushups. 

Shift your focus as soon as you notice a skill beginning to lag or fall off. Add accessory lifts into your training to focus on addressing those weak spots. Don’t hide from the work. Go right through. 

Crossfit is a demanding sport and requires athletes to push themselves in the gym every day. Brutal WODs can come out of nowhere and crush you. So, training smart is key. Aggressively root out and expose your weaknesses. Fuck ego. Instead, commit 100% to being the best athlete you can be.

Be ready for anything.

Always learning,



Learn on

Mike Bledsoe


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