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Too Stubborn?

Big Matt S after rowing a 1:21.1 500 meters. Congratulations buddy. It was incredible to watch (and right after that he rowed a 250m at a 1:19 500m pace!).

Meesh PRs on her 500m.

A couple years ago, the lovely ERad and I were looking to get a dog. I was online and I came across a thread on the CrossFit forum devoted to CrossFit gym dogs (yes, there is such a thread; CrossFitters and dog owners tend to be the tiniest bit obsessive). My favorite was a heeler/cattle dog with a steely look about him. Emily took one look at that dog and said, “that’s a CrossFit dog? Forget it. A heeler CrossFit dog would be the most stubborn dog in the world. No way.” Well, we ended up with the Mowgli boy who is, of course, a CrossFit heeler/cattle dog, albeit with a more goofy than steely look.

Yeah, CrossFit seems to engender stubbornness. Of course we CrossFitters call it an iron will, but sometimes it can be too much of a good thing. I think that most of us would agree that the most important thing about your training is that you continue to progress. You can’t progress is you are messed up and too injured to work out. And that is where stubbornness can get ya–messed up and too injured to work out.

Too messed up to train can be a big thing like a real injury, or just a silly annoyance like torn up hands. Torn up hands are one of the biggest symptoms of stubbornness.  Sure, the WOD may call for a ton of pullups and you can do them all and you want to. I can understand that. A tear here and there just happens, often without you even noticing it, but I see people with enough skin missing from their hands that it looks like they were flayed by the Spanish Inquisition. These aren’t trophies of bad ass toughness, these are trophies of stubbornness that mean you can’t train hard for a few days.

When stubborn is mixed with ego, the combo can get serious. Ever seen someone do a deadlift WOD at a weight that was too heavy and they refused to stop or lighten the load? Yeah, you want to get in their grill and pull some plates off the bar. And I have done just that. Tweaking your back enough that you can’t train for some days because you want to do it RX’d is not exhibiting an iron will, it is exhibiting all the intelligence of an iron frying pan.

Good stubborn is pushing through the suck, doing one more rep and one more after that and then another. Bad stubborn is pushing through real pain, doing one more rep and just exacerbating the injury. Good stubborn is resisting the siren song of a rest break on a transition. Bad stubborn is getting back on the pullup bar after tearing your hands, knowing that you are going to unable to grip a bar for the next three days without enough tape to outfit a boxing gym, much less wash dishes for the next three days.

Know the difference.

And Mowgli? He didn’t turn out to be all that stubborn, just a little obsessive. With the cat, the ball, the other cat, fish oil, and anyone running near him.

Please post thoughts to Comments.

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Snatch Grip Deadlift

Work up to 1.25x your snatch 1RM.

(Be sure to keep the chest up, butt down, and knees out.)


AMRAP in 12 minutes

1 Round of Cindy (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats)

3 Clean and Jerks 155/100#


  1. Hey! So why’d you make me finish Cindy with torn hands??

  2. samrad

    Heh, I remember that Anna. If I recall, I also made you go longer and do a full Cindy. Sometimes when you just have to break the rules when you are on fire. And how big of a PR was it for you?

  3. Well the only other time I had done Cindy the pullups weren’t rxd and I think I got 14 rds…so rxd plus 5 rds. I wasnt so happy with you in the moment. But that quickly passed :)

  4. Emily

    It’s generally not good form to refer to your wife as, “exhibiting all the intelligence of a frying pan.”

    Especially if she knows how to wield one.

    Good post, though–I’ll grudgingly and stubbornly admit.

  5. Rich S

    Hurt back,Torn hands…
    sounds way to familiar!!
    Stubborn? I dont know.
    Hope to be back 100% soon though.

  6. 500m row 1:21:01 – respect……..

  7. I am very amused by the people who took this post as speaking to them. And just in case you wondered, Rich, I think you might be stubborn.

    But I don’t have this problem at all, mine is just the opposite, unfortunately…


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