common mistakes crossfitters

7 Common Mistakes That Many Crossfitters Make

Often small changes will make big differences to your health, happiness and performance. Are you are making any of these common mistakes?


We all know that good quality nutrition is essential for Crossfit and life. We need the right fuel to power our training, the correct macronutrients for recovery and quality food to keep us fit and healthy for long term health. One of the major problems that is overlooked is simply getting enough.

Many athletes underestimate what they actually need, get wrapped up in eating clean 100% of the time, and as a result don’t eat enough to fuel themselves properly. It’s worth talking to your coach or nutritionist to find out how much you actually need to be eating, so that you avoid this mistake. Check out these articles to learn more:

The Crossfitters Guide to Meal Prepping

Why Eating Enough is more Important that Eating Clean


Good movement comes first. Next should be technique and a clear understanding of the exercise, and finally comes the weight. There is no point lifting a weight so heavy that it forces an athlete to lift it with bad form, yet many athletes do it. This is basically a one-way ticket to getting injured.

Here is Ben Smith, the 2015 CrossFit Games Champion, to illustrate the point:

“I always suggest to athletes, focus more on moving the bar with speed and good form rather than how much weight is on the bar. The weight will come if you have good technique and generate a lot of power by moving the bar with some speed! You shouldn’t sacrifice form for more weight when doing your working sets.”

Ben Smith

Ben Smith

© Ben Smith


Professional Crossfit athletes may train 2 – 3 times a day, 5 – 6 days a week. Olympic lifters can spend 3, 4 or 5 hour days lifting weight and cycling through accessory work. This level of dedication is impressive, and it seems logical that in order to improve, surely more time must be spent training?

What is wrong with this oversimplification, and what often gets lost when we look into the training programs of elite level athletes is the progression that has taken place prior to their current program. Often this has taken place over many years, with an athlete gradually building up volume over time

Take Katrin Davidsdottir for example, as a young girl she trained gymnastics for over 3 hours a day. For her, this was normal and her body adapted accordingly. When she transitioned into Crossfit, she said (in an interview with BOXROX) that her sporting background gave her an advantage not only with the movements, but also in the way that it allowed her to cope with the high volume and training intensity of Crossfit.

If an athlete that is used to 2 light workouts and a run at the weekend, and they instantly switch to 7 sessions a week, they will probably burn out, no matter how strong they are mentally or how solid their nutritional program is. Crossfit is an intense form of training and volume should never be underestimated. Building up this aspect of an athlete’s training program over time will help them to adapt to increased volume.

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We all do it, often even unconsciously. A great way to get around this is to make sure never to cherry pick workouts. Say you go to Crossfit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, stick to those days so that you are forced to do whatever WODs are arranged for those days.

Where this method will force you to work on your weaknesses, it will not specifically target them. Try programming additional work on those exercises that just haven’t stuck yet in order to become a more well-rounded athlete. Struggling with pistols, still fighting for that first muscle up or trying to crack double unders?

crossfit athlete double unders

Keep working on your weaknesses

© RX'd Photography


Every Crossfit warm-up should be time efficient and fit for the purpose ahead. It should have a general and skill specific portion, and always establish an optimum body temperature. If your warm up is not specific for the forthcoming workout, then you will not optimise performance.

Crossfit Warm-up

A winning athlete will undoubtedly want to achieve two things every session:

  1. Perform at their best for that given day
  2. Prevent any injury occurring.

With this in mind, athletes are paying more attention to their warm-up procedure as the impact of an effective warm-up has shown to play a significant role in achieving those goals.


We all have big goals, and they are vital for success, but it’s also important to celebrate the smaller victories as well. Every extra 1kg on a PR lift, every time you manage a couple more double unders than before and when you shave a few seconds off a previous WOD time are all important moments. Every positive step is an incremental move towards that bigger goal. Never forget that and be proud of your smaller gains. Doing this will reinforce the enjoyment of the everyday process of training.

phil hesketh crossfit athlete mobility work


Most professional athletes get at least 10 hours of sleep a night. Whilst this is completely impractical for the vast majority of Crossfitters, it does highlight the importance of getting a decent amount of shut eye. No amount of supplements, foam rolling or mobility work will ever compensate for a significant lack of sleep when it comes to recovery and progress.

Which common mistakes have we missed? Which ones would you add?  Let us know in the comments.