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The 10,000 Hour Rule

By admin | In Psychology | on May 13, 2011

CrossFit Mach 5 recently posted a great article about the amount of practice required to achieve the level of mastery in any given subject.  Neurologist Daniel Levitin says:

“The emerging picture from such studies is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert in anything. In study after study of composers, athletes, fiction writers, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals and what have you, the number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time.”

How does this apply to us at CFI?  CrossFit is already a constantly varied sport including movements from many different specialties such as gymnastics, power lifting, [Olympic] weightlifting, running, rowing, plyometrics, etc.  Granted, the principle behind CrossFit’s genious is that there is no specialty.  No 10,000 hours poured into one particular area.   However, in order to “master” the art of increased work capacity across broad time and modal domain (move large loads quickly over and over), you do have to put in practice.

Perfect Practice:  Every rep you perform be it in a warm up, skill work, work set, met con, even visualization work, has to be deliberate and well executed. Give into the lure of the Clock, and you’ve just put in a bunch of reps with poor form towards your muscle memory bank.

Skill Work:  Movements that are difficult and require skill (think double unders, handstands, etc) necessitate even more hours of deliberate practice.  Those of you who have put the time into working on your double unders before and after class have known the joy of suddenly repping them out with ease mid-WOD.   Those who struggle with them and don’t put time into practice will repeat the temper-tantrum-self-flagellation ritual until you do.

Invest in your 10,000 hours of mastery and you will find yourself struggling less and working harder through WODs.  Set short term goals.  Conquer them.  Repeat.

WOD 05.13.11

Back Squat 3×5 or Wendler

Tabata Burpees

8 Hang Power Snatch
8 Knees to Elbows

5 Comments to "The 10,000 Hour Rule"

  • Xuan says:

    May 13, 2011 at 9:02 AM -

    Ok Ruth so you’re telling me that at my current average rate of 1 class a week it will take me….208 years to master Crossfit?! Oh crap.

  • Alia says:

    May 13, 2011 at 9:52 AM -

    Xaun + math = Hilarity and Winning! Nice motivational post Ruth!

  • Jason says:

    May 13, 2011 at 10:27 AM -

    Great post, Ruth!

  • tyler says:

    May 13, 2011 at 10:34 AM -

    good stuff for sure.

    check this out, saw this morning. thought i’d share. pretty cool.


  • Nik Werre says:

    May 13, 2011 at 3:18 PM -

    Very cool video!

    Timely post! Ever read Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers? Great piece on 10,000 hour rule in there.

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