Workout of the Day:
Bench Press
and then,
Three rounds for time of:
10 x Hang Power Snatch (115/75 lbs.)
15 x Ring Row

George (and his hamstrings) made quite an impression on Coach Starrett.
George (and his hamstrings) made quite an impression on Coach Starrett.

Fundamentals – Steps Back, Leaps Forward
Written by Mike Hom

Often times, we become overly involved in forward progress without regard to periodic re-evaluation. This happens with both experienced and inexperienced athletes. As an example, you may be decent enough at the air squat, which then allows you to be decent enough at the front and overhead squats, which results in you being decent enough at the clean or snatch. What invariably follows is decent enough progress until you hit a very tangible ceiling – the plateau, so to speak. The basic thought process is to examine how to create quick forward progress (to maintain momentum, of course) which, for most people, is the ability to move more weight. And, often times, the easiest conclusion to come to is to suck it up and try to increase the weight with your “decent enough” form.

Unfortunately, this is not the best approach to make progress.

Virtuosity is a subject we coaches like to hit on, repeatedly, from every angle. It gives us a base motivation to be better at something. That constant improvement is what keeps us coming back. Let’s go back to the example above: Everything about our overall performance is “decent enough.” It’s alright. It ain’t anything to write home about.

We DO NOT want good enough.

We want to be the best at what we do. We aspire not for a 10 on a scale of 1-10. We want to aim for 11. The question is, how do we get to 11 when we’re at a 3, 5 or 7? How can we make those leaps of progress? Sometimes we have to do what is hardest.

We have to take steps back.

Aside from being a coach, I try to maintain some modicum of athleticism. I have to be very honest with myself about where I stand with regards to my performance overall and with each discrete movement and exercise. I am good at some. I am OK at others. I am terrible at many. I can elect to only chase my strengths. That’s great for my ego. But to become more well-rounded – to become fitter by any standard – I have to buck up and work on the stuff I am simply not good at. It also means that I have to work on all of the constituent exercises that may lead to more complex movements – regardless of whether I am good at them or not.

Going back to the original example in the first paragraph, if I am only decent enough at the clean, I will work on not just my front squat, but my air squat! Why? Because it is principally the fundamental exercise. If I cannot improve my ability to brace as hard as possible, squeeze my glutes, suck my ribs down and keep my spine and hip wedded for integrated movement without load, it would be a good guess (not necessarily a law, though) that having a load across my collarbone and shoulders will not assist in the matter.

If chasing excellence leads to success, then chasing virtuosity leads to progress. Some could say they are the same, but I say they are similar with differences. Excellence is a state of superiority in some given quality – to go above and beyond. Virtuosity is having great skill in the practice of something – anything. You want to chase virtuosity in your movement to continually nurture the seed of progress. You want to use that progress to help you chase excellence in order to go above and beyond what you think you can do, and consequently, experience success.

Be excellent. Be virtuous.

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No time for benching… what’s a bench?

WOD: 6:50 still working my way back from a little back tweek.


Great encouragment, Mike. Well said and so true!


Weighted Ring Dips
BWx5, 10kgx3, 20kgx3, 25kgx2, 30kgx2

3 rds of
10 HPC 60kg
15 Ring Rows

No bench or snatch due to shoulder issues. Ring Rows were hard. Did them with feet elevated to ring height and with rigid body. No kip.

FAQ - Workout of the Day (WOD)

What does WOD mean in CrossFit?

WOD stands for Workout of the Day. Most CrossFit gyms post one workout each day for their members and online followers to complete. Invictus currently offers THREE free programmed WODs each day (shown above)... and even more personalized and online supplemental programs through Invictus Athlete.

Which program is right for me? Can I move between them?

One thing that sets Invictus apart from other CrossFit gyms and online training programs is that we recognize everyone has different fitness goals, abilities and needs. Be sure to pick which programming is right for you so you can get a great workout that meets your needs.

What does 30X0 mean? (How to read the WOD)

Another thing you might notice that’s different about our programming is that we use ‘tempo training’ - almost always in the Fitness programming and in various cycles for the Performance and Competition programs. Those extra numbers (ex: @30X0) might seem confusing at first glance but you’ll totally get how it works and why we like to use it after reading this. Trust us, you’ll soon witness the many benefits firsthand. Learn more about tempo training.

I need help with some standard movements and warm-up ideas!

Whether you’re new to CrossFit or have lots of experience with the WOD, our coaches will help you get the most out of every workout. It doesn’t matter if you struggle with a particular movement or if your goals are pushing you toward the higher skilled and more elusive movements, our professional coaches support everyone with advice and feedback.

They have worked with all athlete levels and know what it takes to get people moving to the best of their abilities. Whether it’s burpees, double-unders, muscle-ups, or tips for the Assault Bike - we’ve got a coach who can help you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your warm-ups covered, too. Our coaches are constantly learning from other modalities and love to use what they learn in innovative warm-ups focused on both preparing for the workout at hand and maintaining the body for a pain free life. Check out this full body routine to keep your joints functioning and free of inflammation. We also post warm-up suggestions in the Workout of the Day for each of the programs that are tailored to that day’s movements.

Workout on your own and don’t have much time for your warm-up? Here’s a couple of quick and simple ones for your shoulders, squat day, deadlifts, and everyone’s problem area, the thoracic spine.

What if I can’t lift the weight or do the movement as prescribed?

Scaling is part of the beauty of CrossFit because it enables workouts and programming to be tailored to anyone’s ability. When it comes to weight, you can and should ALWAYS scale the weight down if it is unsafe for you to lift it, or if it changes the intended stimulus of the workout.

Here are some rules of thumb for scaling weight in metcons (lifting for time). For gymnastics movements, there are some simple scaling solutions as well. If you are unsure, reach out to your Invictus coach! We are here to make sure you get the safest and best workout possible - proper scaling allows for that.

How many days per week should I train? / How many rest days should I take?

At Invictus, we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday and we realize not everyone’s schedule - or training needs - are the same and therefore, you must use your best judgement and listen to your body when it comes to deciding how often to take a rest day.

If you have been doing CrossFit for a while now, you recognize that our program excels due to the high intensity component. With that being said, one thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t sustain that high intensity every single day; otherwise your body ends up breaking down.

You can learn more about how often someone should take a rest day in this article.

What does EMOM stand for?

EMOM stands for Every Minute on the Minute. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does AMRAP mean?

AMRAP means “As Many Rounds (and Reps) as Possible” in a certain time period. For example, the workout might say...

AMRAP in 10 minutes of:

30 Double-Unders
20 Pull-Ups
10 Thrusters

So you would keep going through the cycle of those three exercises until the 10 minutes is up. Your score is the number of complete rounds plus any extra reps you did. So if you did four complete rounds plus 15 Double-Unders in the fifth round, your score would be 4+15.

What does OTM mean?

OTM stands for “On the Minute” and is the same thing as an EMOM. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does NFT mean?

NFT stands for “Not for Time” and means that you shouldn’t rush or try to go fast, but instead, focus on technique, skill, form or whatever you are working on for that movement.

How heavy should my first set be?

You might also be wondering where to start your first set if, for example, the workout of the day calls for 5 sets of Deadlift x 5 reps. Is the first set a warm-up or is that the first working set? Here’s our recommendation for how to properly build to your starting weight and what we consider warm-up sets and working sets.

How can I figure out my 1RM?

We frequently use percentage references in prescribing the number of reps to perform, so it’s essential that you have a good idea on most of your maxes.

Let’s say it’s been awhile since you have attempted a 1RM; maybe you had an injury a few months ago, or maybe you just somehow keep missing the 1-RM test days, or maybe you just forgot to write it down in your log book. If you have a multiple-rep max, you’re in luck. There’s actually a simple equation you can use to calculate an estimated 1RM based on the max number of reps you can do at a given weight.