Sunday 09.12.10

The pull up bar held on for as long as it could!

It's been great watching everyone improve over the short number of months we have been open, seeing the gym membership grow, and everyone become stronger, faster, more fit. Hopefully you have all seen improvements in yourselves (and not comparing to others) inside and out of the gym. And if you haven't, ask anyone of us at The Compound and we'll provide a list.

I definitely hear less "I can't do that!", "I can't lift 35 lbs above my head", "I can't do a handstand, pull up, push up" etc. Now I hear more things such as, "Im too strong"(like there's any such thing), "So-and-So beat me on that, so i have to beat them next time.", "Look at my one armed handstand everyone", etc. It's been great to see!

However, one thing I am starting to hear now and again that I wanted to discuss is frustration when your form is critiqued. You may feel frustrated when you have not been told to do a lift in a certain way from one trainer or earlier in your learning, and now you're being told several months into your fitness transformation. For example, when you have been squatting a certain way for a while, making sure you back is rigid, your chest is up, your going below parallel, and then all of a sudden Mr./ Ms. Know-it-all Trainer comes along and tells you that you need to push your knees out farther. These newer ques you may hear on any exercise is for several reasons:

1) The better you get, the more "nit picky" we get: When we all start out we have several discrepancies in our form and its more beneficial to pick only one or two issues (usually the biggest ones that will cause the most injury if done wrong). When you have corrected the bigger form issues, now it's our chance to tweak it more and work towards more advanced moves. We are trying to achieve that perfect lift and that takes years to do. Some days my form is so off, i can't perform an exercise I've done several times they day before. It is said that Olympic Weightlifters who start out lifting at age 14 MAY be ready for the Olympics by age 24.

2) Different focus of accomplishment- completion vs. improvement: Just yesterday, I hit a Personal Record (PR) on a lift. One know-it-all trainer said "good job", the other know-it-all trainer (Kyle) said my elbows were way too far down. One was focusing on my achievement (thanks brother, and mom said I was the "sweet one"). The other was focusing on improving my next lift. Some days earlier in the workout or week we may want you to slow down a movement, break it down, and improve for later on. In contrast, at the end of a workout or week when you are fatigued then focusing on the completion, no matter how ugly (as long as it's safe), is all we are looking for.

3) Different stimuli: At times we may be looking for you to improve other movement through a different but related exercise. Take the Bench Press. Everyone has their own way to do it, some with wide grip, some narrow, some elbows out, some in, etc. One person at our gym is working on improving his bench press, but currently lifts with his elbows out. We are working on bringing his elbows in, building larger triceps, which will improve his bench by making a larger base beneath the bar and pushing from a more stable and powerful position. But even more, it will translate into better Ring Push Ups, and then Ring Dips, and eventually Muscle Ups, all of which are performed with good technique when the elbows are tucked into the body.

4) Body types:
We are all built differently, which means there is not one person that I can mimic their technique exactly and perform like them. Leg to torso ratios, arm lengths, injuries, flexibility issues, all play into how we position ourselves for exercise movements. It was interesting to see everyone who attempted the Sumo Deadlift this week. Some did better, some did not, but training the different movement added to their fitness level in some shape or form. I saw one pair working on the same bar, performing the Sumo Deadlift. Both ladies hit 205 lbs for a 3RM (PR's each and above their 1 RM), but one had to return to the regular Deadlift stance to do it while the other discovered the sumo-style was a better way to lift for her. Different body types, different methods, same great results.

These are only a few reasons of why we continue to harass you all on form. Constant improvement can only be achieved by constantly reassessing where you are at and what you want to work towards. So keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing much more improvement in the future.


  1. SWOD: stretch,foam roll lower body / icing chest/shoulder

    METCON: 5K run 32:20 (pr)

  2. THERE'S NO WHINING (or crying) IN CROSSFIT !!!

    "Thank You sir/maam may I have another ?"

  3. Thanks for all you guy's do to help us perform/improve. For me the majority of this stuff is pretty new, so it is absolutly necessary to be coached,critiqued,yelled at, whatever in an effort to stay injury free. I never achived results like what Ive experianced on my own yeah no whining and lets see how strong we can get:):)

  4. You are definately long winded (Brad?)
    I appreciate all the coaching from all you trainers. Each of you provide a different perspective that pushes me further to greater goals. I feel I have come a long way and will continue to improve each day.
    Please continue to push me and demand more I need all the help I can get

  5. I love it when the coaches correct me! I want to stay injury free.....and I know real change takes time. So keep on watching and correcting!