Setting Effective Goals

We now know the benefits of goal setting and the differences between process, performance and outcome goals, so now it is time to learn how to set effective goals.

Here are some guidelines to make your goal setting more successful!

1. Emphasize process and performance over outcome goals

We discussed this in a previous post, but for a quick summary:

Process work on improving form, technique and strategy.  Performance goals look at overall personal performance.  Outcome goals focus more on external factors (outperforming another competitor and hitting an objective such as winning).  Process and performance goals build on one another towards an outcome.

As discussed in the previous post, outcome goals can be negative to focus on as they involve factors outside of our control.  You can´t control the other competitors, referee or judge, weather, sickness… you can only control your own process and performance (to a certain extent).

2. Set specific and measurable goals

This is such an important one!  It´s not enough to just set a goal of, doing your best, for example.  How do you measure that?  When trying to set specific and measurable goals, try to follow these guidelines: emphasize both quantity and quality of performance, use both objective and subjective performance measures, measure abstract elements by setting goals based on specifically defined behaviors that demonstrate such qualities.

3. Set moderately difficult goals

This is a balancing act between setting goals that aren´t too easy or too hard.  It should be challenging, but attainable.  The best way to do this is to set goals that are only slightly more challenging than their current ability (5-15% increase).  Work towards this goal by setting smaller, intermittent goals.  You will work your way up the staircase towards that 5-15% increase.

4. Set positively focused goals

When setting goals, focus on what you want to accomplish.  If you want to improve your nutrition, maybe set a goal of tracking your food each day so that you can see how well you have done instead of focusing on all the foods you have to avoid.

5. Set both long-term objectives and short-term goals

Let´s say that you want to run a marathon, but you´ve never done a marathon before… In fact, you don´t even run!  Your long term objective is what you ultimately want to achieve, but setting that as a short term goal is unrealistic.  There are too many steps between where you are now and the marathon.  Instead of setting it as a goal, set it as the objective and set smaller, short-term goals that help you reach that objective.

When doing this, put a time constraint to it.  For example, in the next month you want to be up to running 8 km.  That is your monthly goal towards your marathon objective.  You can then break that goal down even further into weekly and daily goals!  See!  You take something that was previously a mountain and created steps for yourself to more easily and effectively reach the top!


Burton, D., & Raedeke, T. D. (2008). Sport psychology for coaches. Leeds: Human Kinetics.

Process vs. Performance vs. Outcome Goals

We recently discussed the benefits of goal setting and now it is time to talk about the different types of goals (and why that even matters).

Sport Psychology for Coaches by Damon Burton and Thomas D. Raedeke define the types of goals as:

Process Goal– goals that focus on improving form, technique and strategy

Performance Goal- goals that look at the overall performance (such as your run time, 1 rep max bench press, etc.)

Outcome Goal- goals that emphasize outperforming other competitors (and the objective outcome…winning)

Process and performance goals are important to achieve in order to reach the outcome goals.  If you have an outcome in mind, you must go through the process and performance goals first.

But are outcome goals necessarily ¨good¨ goals to be setting?  Sure, you want to hit that objective target, but that isn´t always in your control.

In sports, many things are out of your control.  You don´t control the opponent, or the weather or the referee or even how you feel that day.  All you can control is what you do to prepare.  With this understanding, it makes more sense to focus on process and performance goals rather than just outcome goals.

It´s also important to build in some flexibility and understand that even if you want to be perfect in hitting your goals, it won´t always work out.  You get sick, injured, work or family conflicts…life happens and you should be ok with being flexible when that comes up.

Next, let´s look at how to set effective goals!

Benefits of Goal Setting for the New Year!

We have all done it-that New Years Resolution.  This year I will eat better or work out more or sleep more (or less…) or drink less…  More often than not, that excitement to make a change and start something new often fizzles out.

Why?  Well, in the next series of blogs from Fit Fast Focused, we will be discussing goal setting and how it can set you up for success in 2018.

Setting goals for yourself has many benefits.

Goals enhance focus and concentration

If you have a clear goal set for yourself, your efforts can be better directed at achieving that goal.

Goals boost self-confidence

It is great working towards something instead of just….working or going with the flow.  When you make a plan and work towards achieving it, you will feel more confident in yourself and your efforts.

Goals help prevent or manage stress

Uncertainty causes stress.  Using goals effectively helps to take away certainty and manage the stress associated with hitting your target.

Goals help create a positive mental attitude

How do you feel if you wake up in the morning and don´t have anything planned?  Are you as likely to get up and get started early and with that spark…or maybe you stay in bed a bit longer?  What about when you have the day planned out?  What about when you have a goal to hit?  It makes things a bit easier, you feel better about it!

Goals increase intrinsic motivation to excel

Intrinsic motivation comes from within.  If you really love what you are doing and feel passionate about it, then your likelihood of success increases.

Goals improve the quality of practices by making training more challenging

This benefit is all about deliberate practice.  It isn´t just about going to the gym and going through the motions…anyone can do that, but you aren´t likely to progress.  Use those goals to guide your training and evaluate after each session how successful you were.

Goals enhance playing skill, technique and strategies

Let´s say that you want to improve your Clean and Jerk by 5%.  It isn´t a matter of just doing more clean and jerks.  If your technique is off or you don´t spend enough time on accessory work or you don´t give yourself enough rest, then its likely you won´t hit that goal (Note: This is with the assumption that the athlete is not a beginner.  Beginners have a sharp curve for improvement simply because they are starting at zero.  More experienced athletes have a slower progression rate because the improvements needed become more technical).  Part of improving that Clean and Jerk in your goal setting should involve the technique work.

Goals improve overall performance

Evidence shows that goal setting is the most effective enhancement strategy that we have in sports.  Goal setting works and works well, the key is to know how to set effective goals.

Up next, Process vs. Performance vs. Outcome goals and why that is important to understand when setting goals!

Bottom Banded Kipping Pull-up

The kipping pull-up is a sport specific movement in CrossFit that incorporates elements of a gymnastics gliding kip to improve the efficiency of the pull-up. This new movement is a kipping pull-up using an elastic resistance band. The intent is to increase force production and efficiency in the kipping pull-up.


Equipment needed for this drill include resistance band(s), weight belt, pull-up bar and weight that is 40% or greater than the body weight of the athlete (to secure the band to the floor). The heavier the band, the greater the weight needed to secure at the bottom.


Step 1: Attach a band to weight directly beneath the pull-up bar and to weight belt.


Step 2: Perform the arch of the kipping movement


Step 3: Perform the hollow position of the kip, allowing the band to go between the legs

step 3

Step 4: Using the hip, generate upward momentum just as you would with an un-banded kipping pull-up to complete the repetition.

step 4

Note that a secondary set-up with two bands to each side of the athlete may be used, but the bands should be lighter than when using a single band setup. The pull-up bar should be high enough that the athlete´s feet will not touch the floor or weight during the kip. If necessary, the athlete may use a box or step to reach the pull-up bar to initiate the movement if needed.

For the execution of the movement, the athlete performs a standard kipping pull-up. The feet may have to separate more than normal during execution of the movement to accommodate for the band between the legs.

Literature Overview of Elastic Band Training

Much of the literature reviewed focused on the use of elastic bands in conjunction with the back squat and/or bench press, though some also included the deadlift. Only one study examined focused on elastic bands with sport specific training. Within the studies, power, force, velocity and torque were examined with elastic band training vs. free weight training/control group.

When using elastic bands, there is added resistance through both the concentric and eccentric phases of movement (Wallace, 2006).  Israetel concluded that ¨elastic bands seem to increase force, power, and muscle activity during the early portions of the eccentric phase and latter portions of concentric phase (Israetel, 2010, 190)¨.  Due to the effect of the band, the eccentric phase is faster and the research indicates ¨that the faster a muscle is eccentrically loaded or lengthened, the greater resultant concentric forces produced¨ (Cronin, 2003, p. 60).  In weighted and non-weighted pull-up training, the resistance remains constant.  Resistance bands have a length-tension relationship that is linear (Findley, 2004, p. 69).  Because of the linear increase in resistance, resistance band pull-up training is unique to other training methods.

Some studies suggest that using the elastic band in conjunction with free weight training is beneficial, but longer studies are needed (Ghigiarelli, 2009).  On a longer study that took place over 24 weeks, researchers found that elastic bands + free weight experimental group had significantly higher peak torque, average power and 1RM squats than the control group (Shoepe, 2011, p. 93).  Consequently, this would suggest that a varied pull-up progression utilizing resistance bands, weighted pull-ups, strict pull-ups and kipping un-weighted pull-ups would be the most effective for efficient force production.

In applying this concept to a sport specific movement, a study done on Tae Kwon Do kicking velocity using elastic bands found a 7% improvement in the experimental group compared with a .1% improvement in the control group (Jakubiak, 2008).  This is a significant study as it addressed a sport specific skill.  The author noted that the band needed to be light enough to preserve the technique (Jakubiak, 2008).  This is an important consideration for the kipping pull-up as we do not want to negatively impact the technique or speed of the movement.

Overall, low percentage of elastic tension (10% of 1RM) has been shown to better improve strength while high percentage of elastic tension (30% of 1RM) better aids in ¨explosive power production¨ (Paditaeree, 2016, p. 573).  Following the study from Tae Kwon Do athletes, this reinforces the use of lighter resistance bands to maximize on greater force production and power in the movement.

The Kipping Pull-up

When the standard pull-up was compared to the kipping pull-up, there were significant differences in muscle activation.  The latissimus dorsi and biceps brachii had lower activation in the kipping pull-up vs. a standard pull-up (Dinuzio, 2017).  The kipping pull-up revealed higher activation of the rectus abdominus, external oblique, tensor fasciae latae and iliopsoas (Dinuzio, 2017).  These differences demonstrate both the comprehensiveness of the kipping pull-up as a strength exercise and the efficiency through summation of forces to allow for a higher volume of repetitions.  This is why it is common to see even intermediate athletes with 20+ unbroken kipping pull-ups.

This CrossFit, sport specific movement can be done weighted through the use of a weight vest, but is not as common in standard programming.  Strict weighted pull-ups using chain belts are a standard part of a comprehensive gymnastics program for a CrossFit athlete. There is a disconnect in regularly training kipping pull-ups with resistance.

 Biomechanical Principles

Force is the key component that allows for improvements in power, work and torque. Because the band should not significantly decrease the time to complete the movement and distance remains the same, force must increase to overcome the resistance of the band.  We are increasing work and torque because of the force production increase, but the most important is power.  Kipping pull-ups are used in a timed environment and completing the repetitions in the quickest time in the most efficient way is very important.

The band does not only provide resistance on the upward pull, but it also pulls the athlete at an accelerated rate back towards the found.  During the eccentric phase of the movement, angular momentum is increased because the band pulls back towards the origin.  Because of the increase in momentum, the athletes must work harder to resist the band and slow down the movement.

Kipping pull-ups can be performed with small or large range of motion.  The resistance band provides a linear resistance, as opposed to constant resistance with body-weight only or weighted pull-ups (with chain belt + discs or weighted vest).  Given that the resistance increases as the athlete continues to stretch the band at the end range of the pull-up, there must be a bigger range of motion and summation of forces to overcome the extra resistance and downward pull.

Arch                                        Hollow                     Chin over bar

The forces seen in the free body diagram above are as follows:

  • I – Internal force forward in the arch phase of the kip
  • B – Bodyweight resistance
  • R – Resistance of the band during the arch phase of the kip
  • I2 – Internal force upward during the hollow portion of the kip
  • R2 – Resistance of the band during the hollow phase of the kip as the athlete accelerates upward
  • I3 – Internal force to maintain a chin over the bar position to complete the repetition
  • R3 – Resistance of the band when the athlete is at the top of the pull-up
  • Stage 1 – Arch
  • Stage 2 Hollow position (kipping upwards)
  • Stage 3 – Chin over bar, completion of repetition

Stage 1:

In stage 1 of the movement, B is acting in the y-axis, I in the x-axis and R has components in both the x and y-axis.

Stage 2:

In stage 2, B is the only force acting solely in the y-axis. I2 is acting in both the x- and y-axis as the athlete is generating force upwards at an angle. R2 also acts in both axes as the band is connected to a fixed point.

Stage 3:

All forces act in the y-axis.

Summary of stages and free body diagram

In a body-weight only kipping pull-up or weighted vest kipping pull-up, the external forces on the athlete remain constant and only act in the y-axis. When the resistance band is fixed to a weight directly below the pull-up bar, the forces acting on the athlete change as they rotate about the bar. Not only does the band provide linear resistance as during the pull-up, but also during the kipping motion. The athlete must generate additional force simply to complete the kip. As the athlete executes the arch or hollow in stage 1 and 2, the band provides an external resistance in the opposite direction.

Advantages and disadvantages of the new technique


(Wallace, 2006, p. 269)

In the chart above, several variations have been covered, including: red band resistance, blue band resistance, body weight only resistance, body weight +traditional weight, body weight + red band resistance and body weight + blue band resistance.

Band Length (cm) Resistance (lb)
BLUE 38.1 0.00
BLUE 61 31
BLUE 68.6 52.8
BLUE 78.7 68.49
BLUE 88.9 83.92
RED 38.1 0
RED 61 16
RED 68.6 33
RED 78.7 49
RED 88.9 65

(Wallace, 2006, p. 269).

The body weight was assumed to be 150 lb and the weighted pull-up to be 165 lb (body weight + 15 lb weight). The body weight + resistance band was the body weight plus the resistance of the band at each stretch point. The graph shows the linear resistance of the band and the greater stimulus as a result of the higher resistance at the end range of movement.

While the body weight and traditional remain constant, the banded pull-ups +body weight show a significant increase in resistance at the end range of the movement. As a result, athletes must adapt to generate higher forward for increased upward momentum in the concentric phase of the pull-up. If the athlete is not efficient with the kipping technique, there should be an increase in time, effort, failure or a combination of the variables.

This technique may initially affect the accuracy for the athlete. They may shift from the banded movement to un-banded pull-ups and pull too high on the bar.  As CrossFit focuses on efficiency (and therefore submaximal output at times), an athlete completing high pull-ups or even chest-to-bar pull-ups when only the chin needs to rise above the bar is inefficient and will have a negative affect over the course of a WOD or competition. Should this occur, it is assumed that the effect will be minimal and the athlete will be able to adjust.

As greater force is needed to overcome inertia and generate upward momentum, this is an advanced exercise and, as described, not applicable for novice athletes. These athletes should be proficient in strict pull-ups, weighted strict pull-ups and kipping pull-ups.

There is a slight change in the position of the legs to accommodate for the band during this exercise and it is something the coach and athlete should be aware

Practical interventions/Coaching strategies/drills/activities that facilitate development of the new technique

  1. Progressive use of bands
  2. Band #0 – orange – 15 lb
  3. Band #1 – red -30 lb
  4. Band #2 – blue – 50 lb
  5. Band #3 – green – 65 lb

Note: To maintain the stimulus of the movement and not significantly slow the athlete, no bands heavier than green should be used.

  1. Have athletes practice 1 set banded, 1 set un-banded
  2. Strict Banded Pull-ups
  3. Practice chin over bar pauses with resistance to weight
  4. Kipping Pull-ups with a negative (Wescott, 2001)
  5. Hip Pop Drills* and/or barbell hip thrusters
  6. Allow athletes to make slight modifications to position of the band on the body if desired as long as it does not change the stimulus.
  7. Athletes should have a buy-in for the new technique. It is important that they understand the reason behind the new movement. Improvements in their performance can be taken quantitatively and qualitatively. For a quantitative measurement, athletes can compare maximum unbroken kipping pull-ups and time in the first and fifth practice. Qualitative measurement can be taken as the athletes recording how the movement and drills feel in their training log.


Cronin, J., Mcnair, P., & Marshall, R. (2003). The effects of bungy weight training on muscle function and functional performance. Journal of Sports Sciences,21(1), 59-71.

Dinuzio, C., Van Scoy, J., Porter, N., Cordice, D., & McCulloch, R. (2017). Kinetic and Muscle Activation Differences Between a Standard Pull-up and a Dynamic CrossFit ¨Kipping¨ Pull-up [Abstract]. International Journal of Exercise Science,8(5), 61st ser.

Ghigiarelli, J. J., Nagle, E. F., Gross, F. L., Robertson, R. J., Irrgang, J. J., & Myslinski, T. (2009). The Effects of a 7-Week Heavy Elastic Band and Weight Chain Program on Upper-Body Strength and Upper-Body Power in a Sample of Division 1-AA Football Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,23(3), 756-764.

Israetel, M. A., Mcbride, J. M., Nuzzo, J. L., Skinner, J. W., & Dayne, A. M. (2010). Kinetic and Kinematic Differences Between Squats Performed With and Without Elastic Bands. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,24(1), 190-194.

Jakubiak, N., & Saunders, D. H. (2008). The Feasibility and Efficacy of Elastic Resistance Training for Improving the Velocity of the Olympic Taekwondo Turning Kick. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,22(4), 1194-1197.

Paditsaeree, K., Intiraporn, C., & Lawsirirat, C. (2016). Comparison Between the Effects of Combining Elastic and Free-Weight Resistance and Free-Weight Resistance on Force and Power Production. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,30(10), 2713-2722.

Schwanbeck, S., Chilibeck, P. D., & Binsted, G. (2009). A Comparison of Free Weight Squat to Smith Machine Squat Using Electromyography. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,23(9), 2588-2591.

Shoepe, T., Ramirez, D., Rovetti, R., Kohler, D., & Almstedt, H. (2011). The Effects of 24 weeks of Resistance Training with Simultaneous Elastic and Free Weight Loading on Muscular Performance of Novice Lifters. Journal of Human Kinetics,29(-1).

Wallace, B. J., Winchester, J. B., & Mcguigan, M. R. (2006). Effects Of Elastic Bands On Force And Power Characteristics During The Back Squat Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,20(2), 268-272.

Westcott, W. L., Winett, R. A., Anderson, E. S., Wojcik, J.R., Loud, L. R., Cleggett, E. & Glover, S. (2001). Effects of Regular and Slow Speed Resistance Training on Muscular Strength. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 41 (2), 154-158.

Light Load Training vs. Heavy Load Training

Literature Review: Changes in Muscle Size and MHC Composition in Response to Resistance Exercise with Heavy and Light Loading Intensity, Journal of Applied Physiology, September 2008.


Here is a brief summary of the study from the Journal of Applied Physiology.  We kept it simple and to the point, but it is definitely a good article to read if you have the time and desire!

The study conducted examined the different responses to heavy vs light load training. In this study, researchers identified heavy load training (HL) as working at 70% of the individuals 1RM and light load training (LL) as working at 15.5% of the 1RM.  During the study, participants completed a total number of 36 repetitions, performed every 5 seconds for 3 minutes.  Test subjects worked one leg HL and the other LL for a period of 12 weeks at 3x/week. Researchers used MRI images and muscle biopsy results before and after the test period. The goal of the study conducted was to ¨compare adaptive changes in muscle size, contractile strength and MHC (Myosin heavy chain) composition evoked by resistance training performed at either low or high contraction intensity while equalized for total volume¨.

After the 12 week study, both the HL and LL showed improvements in muscle size and 1RM strength (though the LL was significantly less compared to HL).

Why is this important

 Whether you are a coach, athlete or simply someone interested in improving their fitness, it is important to understand what HL and LL training does to your body (and how you can use that to improve your performance).  Age, training history, chronic or acute injuries or other factors can inhibit the ability to train with heavy loads.  This does not mean that you can not improve your fitness.  Light load training, as shown by this study, can still have positive effects on muscle gain and strength improvement.

This does not mean that you should only do light load training.  Heavy load training has been shown to be superior in muscle growth and performance improvements.

As with all resistance training, the load % used by the athlete should be adjusted based on current abilities.

If you are just starting out, consult your physician and then a certified strength coach!


What to expect from us

Welcome to Fit Fast Focused!

We are incredibly excited to get started with this project.  This has been ¨in the pipeline¨ so to speak for some time and now it is becoming a reality!

What do expect for now?

We will be working hard to put out quality fitness related content in our blog that includes detailed information about new exercises, equipment reviews, nutrition, tips to improve your performance and more!  In addition to the blog, we will be continuously running a survey as we work on launching our analytic software to make your training program more efficient.  Please take the time to fill out our survey when it goes live and/or sign up to be part of our Beta test group when the software is ready to launch!

What to expect in the future?

Fit Fast Focused will be offering analytic and planning solutions for both athletes and coaches/trainers.  Coaches, expect to have a few more bells and whistles to assist you in working with your athletes!  Sorry we can´t provide more detailed information at this time, but you want to be surprised, don´t you?

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