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Rest Day

Sam P. PR-ing her back squat at 245lbs at Iron Maidens (she PR-ed her bench at 140 and deadlift at 290)

  • Our beloved Coach Arturo had surgery on his knee yesterday. Please join us in wishing him a speedy recovery!

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Heavy Thoughts

By David Osorio
Originally posted on 12.19.2013 

We're currently in our seventh week of our 10-week cycle, which means that the weights for all of your lifts should probably feel pretty heavy. In previous posts, we've discussed having a ritual and cultivating confidence when approaching your work in the gym. Today, lets talk a little about visualization. 

Visualization is simply a mental rehearsal of what you're about to attempt. Many studies have show the efficacy of this practice and countless successful athletes will attest to the importance of being able to "feel or see" an event in their minds eye before attempting it. While the action may seem somewhat intangible, it is still a skill that needs to be practiced in order to be of any real utility. If you're not already visualising your lifts, here are some tools to get you started.

1. Get into the habit of replaying the physical sensations of each lift AFTER they occur. The best time to summarize what just happened is immediately after you execute movement so try to "feel" it again, making note of anything that seemed to stick out. Try to create a physical memory of movement basics. Where was your weight? What kind of tempo did you feel through the movement? Did you feel braced and engaged? How did the weight feel? Walk yourself through it again in your head and try to recreate or slightly augment that sensation before your next attempt. Learning to review what just happened is the best way to start developing the internal resources to properly visualize. 

2. Start practicing! Visualisation takes time and a specific kind of mindfulness that doesn't necessarily come easily to most folks. Set an intention to practice visualizing your lifts during your warm-ups and especially before work attempts. In essence, you want to try and experience the lift in the most idealized way possible before you start. There won't be an internal dialogue to guide you through, simply perform the act in your mind. If you're aware of a movement fault you're working on, correct it in your head and then attempt to recreate a similar sensation when you actually go to lift. This also doesn't need to be limited to the gym, you can do it right now. Pick a lift, close your eyes, and feel yourself doing three reps of it in "real time" in your head. You'll note that you might want to rush through it, but don't; instead, take your time to feel it. 

3. Practice visualization from different perspectives. Some people prefer to simply close their eyes, "tune out" of reality, and experience the movement from a first-person perspective in their heads. Others might benefit from seeing themselves perform the movement outside of themselves, noting key elements they're focusing on. Another way would be to not only see it but feel it as well, by miming the lift physically while maintaining a careful presense-of-mind. Finally, you might even consider focusing on the sensation of executing a perfect lift, seeing yourself stand up with the heavy barbell as if it wasn't a big deal. This final method ties into what we wrote about developing and using confidence as a training tool.

Play around with this and let us know how it works for you. What you definitely don't want to do is allow non-productive thought streams to seep into your training time. And remember: Performing a lift, and then immediately focusing on a conversation with your partner, checking the time, looking around the room at something interesting, or just zoning out, can actually be detriments to your training. Stay focused, and stay present.

The Cost of Paying Attention The New York Times
What It's Like To Go Without Complaining For a Month Fast Company
The Happiness Conspiracy The New Republic 

Do you practice visualization techniques, in CrossFit or other endeavors?

Reader Comments (29)

Feel better Ro!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay-Star

David's post is 100 percent on point. A lot of lifting for me is mental rather than physical, and if my head isn't in the right place, things go badly.

Quick lifting session yesterday:

Wendler High Bar Back Squat:
Accidentally went too heavy on the rep-out (was supposed to be 410), but it felt good.

Wendler Press

Felt good. Tried to stay braced in these and stop as my form broke down.

Rowing intervals
20 seconds max effort
1 minute rest
6 total

Forgot how much these take out of me. I'd like to do these regularly. Did these outside it the sun, it was nice.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

Heal fast, Ro!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

And Ro: feel better! We miss you.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

Hope you have a speed recovery Ro!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristian

Can someone post tomorrow's WOD? I just want to figure out whether I need to modify anything before I do 7 AM tomorrow.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Speedy healing Ro!!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBethany Erskine

Sorry guys, sometimes I just like to keep you guessing...

Wednesday's Programming

Back Squat

Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Add 5-10 pounds to last week's exposure.
Performance: 95% x 2, 85% x 10
You're getting into territory where 10 reps might not be a given. Use spotters, but try to leave a rep in the tank.

Post loads to comments.

Partner WOD
For Time:
2000m Row
100 Box Jumps 24/20
100 Wall Ball 20/10, 14/9
Break the work up as desired between partners

Post what you worked on to comments.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

Heal up fast Ro.

As for the QoD - When I was a competitive gymnast, I did mental visualization all the time. Constantly. Walking between classes, and before falling asleep, I would constantly be visualizing doing specific movements, or full routines.

This really helps when it comes to actually doing the physical movements. Your mind is prepared, you have "seen" yourself doing it, it becomes less scary and you feel more prepared for the unexpected.

It also helps with developing engrams (muscle memory) of movements. For skills that take multiple dimensions like Snatches, Cleans, kipping anything, muscle ups, handstands, even wall balls and box jumps....

For any physical movement your mind has to be there.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterk2h2


Does anyone know of pools in the Park Slope/South Brooklyn area that are decent for triathlon training?

Has anyone been to the summer lap swim hours at the Douglas & Degraw Pool, and does it fit that bill?

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

Hey Ro - sending my very best wishes for a speedy and full recovery! Your knee is lucky that it's in the very best hands, not just the surgeon's, but yours! How fortunate for your knee that it's owner has the expertise to heal it and bring it back strong! In the meantime we will miss your awesome floor lever demos and other feats of amazing strength. Get well soon!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterColleen M.

@Miguel: The pool at Berkeley Carroll is great. Evening laps at the Red Hook pool in the summer are even better. I think it opens after Memorial Day. The pool at the Y on Atlantic is hyper-chlorinated.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterConnor

Get well soon, Ro!

Last night at 7:30
I learned a lot of things about bench press last night from David, chief among them if you bench press by yourself with an incorrect grip, you will die alone in your parent's basement. The more you know. With that in mind, I hit 45x5, 135x5, 185x3, 210x1, 220x2, 195x6. I may have had another rep or two in me, but on my 7th rep the bar came a little too forward and I failed.

I set out to do the performance WOD, but got stuck in the round of 30 on the way up, so just used the rest of the time to practice. I feel like my double unders have regressed, but it's definitely just from lack of practice overall, as I have only been doing them in workouts over the past few months. Need to spend a little more time on these. Getting somewhere in the 15-30 range is not a problem, but I need to move forward a little more here. Plus my donkey kick has come back. Time to smooth everything out.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Sending you speedy recovery wishes, Ro! Hope to see you back at Sunday OG in no time (not that I don't enjoy Noah being there, of course!)

Also 1 luv to Sam P. <3

To answer the question up there, I think I need to do more visualization, I agree with Matt K that a lot of it is mental to me sometimes, and lots of nervousness, not enough focusing!! Thank you so much for re-posting that article!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCam

Ro--rest up and heal fast!
While I'm here, a make up post from yesterday. 8 a.m. with Mr. Myers. BP 195# x 2 and then 170# x 10. I completed the flight simulator for the first time, albeit in 12:15. Thank you, McDowell, for allowing me to jump after the 10 minute time cap.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris A.

Arturo - Heal well, my man. I trust that they've rebuilt you well.



I practice visualization on all my lifts and athletic endeavors. I also visualized popping the question to the Mrs for a long time before I built up the courage to ask...like a month or so while I carried the ring around in my pocket and then for a few hours during bathroom breaks while we were out to THE DINNER where I planned to ask...anyway... I've found it helpful to visualize lifts before the weight gets heavy as well. I "see" myself nailing the lift perfectly, and then because I'm me, I also "see" myself celebrating a successful lift! When I do have misses I try my best to immediately process feedback (either from myself or from a coach) about what went wrong and what went right.

10am gimp lifts
I developed a pretty bad infection at the site of a tattoo I had done last Saturday and can't really use might right leg a whole lot so am relegated to upper body stuff.


Tried to do Good Mornings but hammies cramped up.

Clean Pulls off Blocks
135x3, 185x3, 235x3

Hoping to be able to do power versions of the lifts by the weekend so I can join my fellow Olympic Cyclers in a total. Either way I plan to be there to cheer, you should come too!


March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFox

Sending good healing vibes to Ro!!!

Visualization: Yes. I used to use a lot of visualization in my dancing: in class, rehearsal, before performances, and particularly before competition. I used to watch myself do the movement or combination or dance perfectly, and then try to "beat" that vision when I did it in real life. I definitely use this from time to time in my lifting, particularly with: A. heavy attempts at anything, particularly olympic lifts B. very dynamic or complex/coordinated movements, like a muscle up C. things I've failed before -- like if I get stuck at a particular weight on a particular movement.

As a visual learner, this REALLY helps me, and seems to boost my confidence, too.

Some lifts today at 10AM:
warm up: 2:00 row, Droms, Foam roll tspine, lats, quads, lax ball chest.

33x5, 48x3, 58x2
63x5x3, strict start each rep

Snatch balance
33x3, 63x3, 73x2, 83x1, 93x1

Overall need to be faster and sharper down. Had a few solid reps, but was really still pushing up (to try to jerk/press) a lot more than dropping under fast. Bottom position feels strong once I get there, just have to trust it. Felt good to put 123 overhead, though, as 113 is my best snatch at the moment.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWhit H

Hey All,

Ive been away from the gym to what is now closest to my longest stretch since 09. A second kid, busy hours, a broken toe, and laziness will do that to you. Miss CFSBK. Haven't posted on the blog much-- have to stay away so I don't get too much of the itch.

I plan to be back this summer-excited to see the new space.

Anyhow, I know a lot of people at CFSBK are Engineers/Developers or general smart people who are also into sports --so I wanted to put this out there.

My company-- Krossover​ (www.krossover.com) - a sports/tech startup is hiring for all types of tech positions. We haven't officially posted all the positions yet, but we're looking for:

Project Managers
Web Developers
Back End
Android Developers
QA Testers

We currently work with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, and a number of top college and high school programs in Basketball. In Lacrosse we work with 4 of the top 10 teams and a number of MLL and NLL teams. We helped Team Canada win the Men's Lacrosse World Championships this summer.

Pay is competitive and it's a great place to work--- especially if you love sports. Email me at shawn a t krossover.com directly if you have questions or want to know more about a specific job and I can either give you details or pass you to the person who does.

Here are just a couple of articles about our company and what we do/how we help teams:



March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShawn$

Ro...D-Ro-se will be back for the playoffs with a similar injury...so we'll all be expecting you back then as well.

Wishing you a speedy recovery

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Awww, Fox. Someone is definitely cutting onions by my desk right now.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Speedy recovery, Arturo.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermichele

made it on the blog! dreams do come true!

ro! get better asap! we need you back.

fun class last night, i minimize pr'd the number of times i swore during double unders (3) and learned how many people die per year from bench pressing in their basement (7).

s/o to kharpz for helpful tips on dubs and an awesome (first?) coaching session. looking forward to more!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSam P

RO! your recovery is For Time... so make it a fast one.
wishing you a super fast healthy recovery.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMo

4:30 w/ Coaches Jeremy & Whit

Tomorrow's Squats Today:
LBBS: 260x5x3 (+5 from e6/8)

WOD: 18:17 Rx
Row: broke it into 500mx2
Box jumps: first round 20, then 10s
Wall balls: 10s

Onwards and upwards, Coach Ro!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris Yun

Thanks for all of your kind words and sentiment!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCoach Ro

Yea RO! Gettin er done right away. You'll be back in the gym going up on a Tuesday real soon.

Rest day ish
225x8, 245x8, 265x8

Lots of laying around the mat afterwards.

I definitely visualize my lifts often. It helps, no doubt.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

4:30 with Whit

Bench: 100, 3x5

Flight simulator: 5:38
My new rope is dope!! RPM rope, Im a changed WO-man. RAWR! This made all the difference. Felt a tension headache coming on around 30 on the way down the ladder, managed to shake it off. This is way better compared to last year, where I was only halfway through at 10 min

15.2 redo yesterday: 123 reps
Completely worth it. The outlaw way was not for me. Just like Noah said a few days ago, I overpaced the second round and was about 5 pull-ups short of clearing the round. Very frustrating! Really glad I had Noah, McDowell, Charlie and Lauren S to coach me through it, those unbroken OHS were woof!

Thank you @Sam P!! Feel better Ro!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterK Harpz

I often visualize meals I'm excited to eat.

They are often less colorful in real life.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

1) Sending good vibes to Ro- 1 week AMRAP netflix- go!
2) Go Sam- Allllll the PRs.

3) 7:30 with Jess and Noah.

140#x5x3 on the back squat, this was pretty smooth but not exactly light. Trying to figure out how to approach the next cycle.. Did 1 rep at 160 just to make sure I didn't become infinitely weaker in the last 10 days lol.

This partner WOD was not easy but much needed. For the life of me I cannot remember what we finished in... i know it ended in a :48 lol. Maybe once I see Michael C's time I can remember since we were a few mins behind him.

Oh and Fox's story- adorable.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny M

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