Box jumps eat shins for breakfast. Or at least that is what I think whenever they are programmed into the workout. When setting up, there is an unforgiving wooden box that comes up pretty high on my leg. Looking at the box can get all into my head, making me think about hitting the side of the box and missing my jump.
When I first starting CrossFit, I could not do a box jump for the first year because I was so afraid of falling. Then one night I decided that I wanted to finally learn how to do box jumps and was determined to do so. Still, the fear stayed in the back of my mind and I was limiting myself on what I could do.
So, while I was trying to learn how to jump up and onto a box, one person said to visualize jumping and landing onto the box. That sounds easy enough, right? To just visualize making it onto the box, it could not possibly be that easy. But I decided to give it a try and to picture myself making it on the box. And guess what? After I adjusted my stance and prepared to jump onto the box, it all worked out perfectly and I made it!
Now, it seems a little silly that just visualizing making it onto a box when you jump could really make that much of a difference. But yes, that little tool made me be able to do something I had never done before. And in one night I went from fear blocking me from jumping on a twenty inch box, to jumping a thirty inch box!
When you picture yourself doing something, with correct form and a happy ending, then you will most likely do it correctly and have success. If you can think of doing something then you are more likely to actually accomplish that task.
Visualizing helps to increase mental toughness as well, making you believe that you can complete a task, then you will have the confidence to succeed. CrossFit can be very mental; you can either believe you will succeed or think that you will fail. It is important to stay in control of your mind and only think positive thoughts so that you can truly do your task well.
Personally, I use visualization all the time. I despise running, it is one thing that I cannot seem to like no matter how much I practice it. Nevertheless, I continue to run and participate in 5K’s and do extra hard running workouts. When I run and start to get tired, I picture a gas peddle in my mind. Like in a car when you push down on the accelerator, I have the same image in my mind and mentally push on the gas peddle when I run. This mental image causes my legs to pick up the pace and mentally I feel as though I have more to give in that workout.
Other times, when I am about to PR a lift or need to practice my form, then I picture lifting that specific weight or having perfect form while pulling on the barbell. When executing the movement in real life, I try to emulate the form and speed of the pull and make my lift as perfect as it is in my head.
Visualizing is a good tool to remember when in the box and trying to accomplish a new feat. It is easy enough to do and really does help in the long run. I like to think of the whole process in steps, and following the steps produces the best results.
1. Set Your Goal
Before you can visualize, decide what you want to accomplish by visualizing. This can be a lift, running, gymnastic movement, yoga pose, or a hundred other different goals. Decide what you want to get better at and improve. Once you have a clear idea, then you are all set for the rest of the process.
2. Produce a Clear Picture in Your Mind
In your mind, the clearer you can picture yourself doing something, the more effective this process will be. Even if you can see yourself in the exact clothes you are wearing that day, with the same hairstyle worn that day, the more effective it will be. Feeling like you are really in the moment, and have actually already done it, the better you will be able to execute this movement.
3. Follow the Steps of the Movement in Your Mind
When the image is in your head, see yourself going through the motions. Look at the setup in your head, your form and attitude. Then look at how you move through the process of the movement. By following the steps it will help you to understand how to effectively go thorough the movement.
4. Get in a Good Physical Position
After watching it in your mind, get ready to do it in real life. Get in the correct setup and steady your nerves. Having a positive attitude will help tremendously when getting ready to do a movement. Send good vibes and do it!
5. Perform the Movement in Real Life
Here is the fun part! Just go for it! You have done all these steps and are ready to attack the movement with everything you have. Getting your goal accomplished will feel amazing! Even if you cannot get it, take a breath, walk it off, and then go for it again.
Visualization can help you perform a movement that you were scared of or thought you could not do. Even a small tool like picturing yourself in your head can help you. Whatever your goal is, give it all you got and go big!