Seriously, people, all joking aside, go down. All the way. To the med ball, to full extension on your pull-ups, to the bottom of the squat…go down. CrossFit is competitive. We race the clock, we race our friends, we race people we hate, we race the HQ people we watch in the videos from the main site, and we race our own previous times. There is no denying that after the “3-2-1-GO!” we are moving for time. BUT… we should be moving for something else too. Equally important we are moving to complete each WOD with the integrity with which it was meant to be completed.
CrossFit is based around benchmarks: Fran, Helen, Karen, Diane…you know and love them all. But what does it mean to be a benchmark? Are these workouts just a clusterfuck of exercises thrown together haphazardly to act as an avenue for shit talking on logsitall.com? No. These workouts were designed by people who know what they are doing… for a specific purpose… and to elicit a particular response from your body. And how is it that we are able to use these benchmarks with any sort of certainty to gauge ourselves against others? Standards.
Every movement that we do in CrossFit has a proper way to be performed. For those of us who are visual learners, there are even videos on the main site conveniently organized by…yep, you guessed it…the name of the movement. These aren’t just nitpicky requirements posted to make your life more difficult. They give meaning to our benchmarks. These standards make it possible to compare a 3:52 Fran in Durham, NC to a 1:52 Fran in Sydney, Australia.
Why does it matter if you’re completing the movements properly? First of all, if you’re asking this question, you’re an asshole. And I hope you don’t work out at my gym. Second, it should matter because, as mentioned above, we abide by standards as a way to gauge our fitness and progress with other CrossFitters in our gym around the world. And third, it matters because if you’re not completing the movements properly, you might as well not show up. I say this with confidence because insufficient movement completion means that you’re not getting what you’re supposed to out of the WOD and you sure as shit aren’t doing it as Rx’d. So it’s all fine and dandy if Bob Joe writes 3:02 Rx next to his name on the white board, but if his hiney never broke parallel on his air squats, and his med ball never hit the target on his wall balls, and his arms never dropped to full range of motion on his pull-ups….Bob Joe didn’t do shit.
Now to illustrate another point, lets keep rolling with Bob Joe the douche bag. If Bob Joe isn’t breaking parallel on his air squats, he is not only continuing on his path of douche baggery, but he is also engaging improper muscle groups and risking injury. When you don’t go below parallel on a squat, only your quads are engaged, and this creates sheer force on your kneecap in one direction. Once you break parallel, your hammies are engaged, and this balances out the pressure on your knees, and also engages a much stronger posterior chain to pull your ass back up. In the long run this makes you stronger, allows you to move faster, and keeps you at a safe distance from Bob Joe and the douche bag gang.
We, as CrossFitters, should understand that there is an intrinsic value to doing the movements properly. If we don’t, we are all wasting a lot of time, money, and energy. We can achieve this standard by having coaches take reps away from people that may or may not know that they aren’t hitting full ROM, by going over proper technique before the WODs, and most importantly by demanding from ourselves that we do things right. After all, if we aren’t interested in doing things right…why are we here?