Strength: Not Enough To Be Strong

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Strength: Not Enough To Be Strong

Road to the CrossFit Games Pt. 4

Lately I feel like my life is a never-ending version of the movie Groundhog Day. Wake-up, eat, work, eat, train, eat, work, train, eat, recover, eat, sleep, and then repeat. Where some people become overwhelmed by repetition, it’s in my daily routine. My desire continues to fuel and motivate me toward my goals of being better, stronger, faster and punching my ticket to the CrossFit Games.

My inner daily dialog this past week has been, “ I’m strong, I’m strong, I’m strong,” but on Tuesday a voice inside my head responded to me.  “Yeah, you’re strong, but do you have the strength?” Ummm, “I am strong, but do I have the strength?” I replayed this over and over again in my head.

The CrossFit Games were created to find the fittest people on earth. They were designed to test our fitness, which is a combination of our: endurance, stamina, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and strength (physical). There’s also a concept that’s core to CrossFit – and I believe it is one of the toughest to grasp – of “Preparing for the unknown and the unknowable.” It requires the type of strength that is deep down inside of you, and it requires much more than just being strong.

Do I embody this type of strength? I show up to the gym everyday knowing what I’m going to work on and what will be expected of me. I know what lift I’ll be working on and its percentage. If the WoD calls for gymnastics, I know how I’ll break it up and I generally know how the workout is going to make me feel. I can create a strategy that will work in my favour and lean towards my physical and cardiovascular health.

But how can I prepare for the unknown and the unknowable? I can practice, train and mentally dial into every aspect of what I think will be asked of me, but will it be enough? How will it feel? Will I be able to handle it if I’ve never experienced it before? What’s it going to take to build this type of strength?

How it all went down last week

This sets us up well to move into the week of the Open, which kicks off (eek!) on Thursday, February 23. We focused on skill refinement and light conditioning, with a slight reduction in volume. This week was meant to recover the body and mind, and prepare of for the next five weeks of competition.

Monday – Conditioning

75 Wallballs

60 Calorie Row

45 Alternating Dumbbell Power Snatches

30 Chest to Bar Pull-Ups

I was 5th on the leaderboard by the end of the day. I struggled mostly with pull-ups, but wallballs, snatches and the row were all unbroken. Try as I might, I couldn’t get past the pain I was feeling in my right ring finger. It’s an example of the mental strength I need focus on and build.

Tuesday – Barbell cycling (Power Cleans, Front Squats and Push Jerks)

This was a repeat workout from December. My score didn’t move much, but I did keep close to the top of the leaderboard in all three rounds.

Wednesday – Conditioning and skills (double-unders)

Calorie Assault Bike


Meter Row


Calorie Assault Bike

I was aiming to complete this workout in 20 minutes – PK wanted it done in 17 minutes. I finished in 17:27

Thursday – Rest Day and mobility

Friday – Conditioning and skills (toes to bar and bar facing burpees)

Toes to Bar

Overhead Squats

Barbell-Facing Burpees

Once again I find myself 5th on the leaderboard. I started the first round way, way, way, too fast. I should have broken up the toes to bar and taken a slower place on the burpees; I probably wouldn’t have died on the first round of 21.

Saturday – Lifting and Conditioning and then some extra!

Hang Power Clean + Power Clean – up to 170#

Calorie Row

Box Jump Overs

Dumbbell Hang Squat Cleans

I loved this workout. Kept the row at my 2K pace, could have picked it up on the box overs- and the dumbbell hang squat cleans…like a boss!  Top of leaderboard for this day.  Hurricane Kate arrived late to the gym and we messed around with snatches and handstand push-ups, followed by weighted strict muscle-ups, handstand walking, chest to bar pull-ups and 100# d-balls.

Sunday – Rest day…and good thing too, my lats are sore!  Andy, Benny and I enjoyed the unusually warm February weather, we outdoor mall shopped (yeah new gym outfits!), prepared this week’s meals and watched the 2010 CrossFit Games!

I’ll be continuing to train and work on being both strong and having strength.  It’ll take a load of effort, sacrifice, persistence and determination to build something amazing, and that’s exactly what I want!

Kathleen Mitchell

Team Strong Athlete

About the Author:
Strong Athlete was founded in 2011 by Strength & Conditioning Experts PK Mills and Gaétan Boutin. With over 40+ years of combined experience in sports nutrition, athletics, and fitness, the Strong Athlete team is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their maximum potential through a holistic approach to training, nutrition, and mindset.

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