Learning the Ropes

CrossFit Reflexion has been open about a month, and we’re seeing a lot of new faces at the gym; our fitness family is growing! A huge thank you to everyone who has been bringing friends in to try out a week (free!) of CrossFit, or handing out flyers, or liking us on Facebook. Getting the word out is super important, and the coaching staff and I can’t thank you enough.

With new members at the box, I wanted to revisit the sequence for learning things. I like to teach things in this fashion:

  1. Form / Movement (we’ll talk about this today)
  2. Repetition
  3. Resistance

You’ll notice a lot of folks doing squats with a PVC pipe or empty bar these days. That’s because when teaching any multi-joint movement, you must get the biomechanics dialed in before you start adding load (reps and weight). The simple truth is a lot of beginners don’t have the correct movement patterns or even the necessary mobility to perform something like a back squat safely. My experience has been it’ll take 2-6 weeks of drilling movements and working on mobility before a person will be able to execute a loaded back squat with good form.

I’m a big believer in “go slow to go fast” in the sense that time spent now learning how to back squat  (or other movements, cleans, snatches, etc.) correctly allows the athlete to progress more quickly than allowing the athlete to start loading up the weight or volume with questionable form. A lot of guys (and many of our gals) want to see their weights go up every session. That’s a mistake, and one the coaching staff at CFRx won’t let happen.

Unless an athlete has good biomechanics, and can do a movement well, they aren’t allowed to go up in weight. My experience is it’s much much easier to learn a movement correctly, than try to relearn or fix an incorrect movement. This ensures the quickest advancement in the lifts, and it goes a long way to preventing needless injuries.

What this means in our daily training, is that you may see audibles called during a WOD based on what a coach is seeing. Case in point – I was coaching a group of new high school football athletes last night, and had them doing conditioning rounds with air squats as part of each round. After 5 rounds it became obvious that most of the boys didn’t have enough mobility in their hips, and the air squats were starting to look like a funky Good Morning lower back exercise. So I stopped the rounds short, and used the next 15 minutes to work on mobility with them. Like I told them, we need to walk before we can run, and I would be doing them a disservice if I let them bungle their way through a lot of air squats with poor form.

I’ll talk more about this in another post – but I want you to remember that correct movement is the single most important factor we focus on with our athletes, as it’s the foundation for all the goodness that follows.

Till next time, mobilize!