Sunday 7.31.11

Tune in Sunday to see the conclusion of the CrossFit Games at this link
This weekend the best male, female, masters, and teams in the CrossFit community are competing against each other to find out who is the fittest on the planet in their divisions. The competition taking place in Los Angeles tests each athlete's overall fitness and abilities in a wide variety of movements, skills, and drills. If you get a chance to check it out, ESPN 3 is airing a 3 hour segment each night on their website and you can see each day's highlights as the games progress.

One of the best reasons to check out some of the CF Games is to see the athletes and how they must perform under intense scrutiny from a judge. Each competitor has his/her own judge literally watching every rep and calling "no rep" when range of motion is lacking, or accuracy is not there. It is within that level of scrutiny that all the athletes must compete, and therefore be compared to one another. It is how athlete A knows for certain he/she beat athlete B, because they were held to the same standard.

At The Compound, none of us are CF Games athletes. For us, CrossFit is just exercise. There are no championships or cash prizes on the line. There are no cameras, crowds of thousands live, or hundreds of thousands tuning in online to see our daily performances. And in reality, Compound athlete A isn't even really competing against Compound athlete B. But you are going to be held to a certain standard in each of the movements we do.

You may be wondering why that would be important if there is no true competition. Ever since you have been working out at The Compound you have noticed names and scores on the whiteboards. Hopefully you have also seen the same comments on the website. Those are not just about bragging rights. Our workouts are about producing a measurable and repeatable result. For example take Fight Gone Bad, which is a well known CF workout that we did only a few weeks ago. It is measurable in that you attain a certain score for your effort, and it is repeatable in that you can do the exact same workout the next time it gets posted and hopefully beat your score. But if certain movement standards are not met, then your score means nothing and repeating it is impossible.

It can be easy to give yourself the excuse that you are not doing the workout as rx'd so movement standards don't matter. For those who are not aware, as rx'd means "as prescribed". That means you do the workout the way it is written on the website and on the board by your coaches. Some people take years to get to the point of using the rx'd weight, or the rx'd skill movement of many of the workouts. That should not discourage you, but rather motivate you to develop that strength, that skill, or that lacking fitness component that you need. Anything less that what is written for a given workout means that you are doing a scaled version of the workout. And there is nothing wrong with that. You may do Fight Gone Bad with a 10 lbs medicine ball instead of the rx'd 20 lbs weight ball. But you still need to adhere to the movement standards suggested in order to see the progress and be able to compare your results to the next time you do the same workout.

Now that the white boards are up and we are keeping gym records for several lifts, skills, and benchmark Metcons, we will also become stricter on movement standards. This is to help each athlete become better, but also so that I know for a fact that when Ryan S., Ryan A., and Craig beat me AGAIN, that their scores are comparable to my score because we all adhered to the same movement standards.

For example, one of the movements in Fight Gone Bad is wall ball shots. If I cruise through the wall ball shots without hitting full depth in my squat, and sometimes getting the ball over the target line, but sometimes not, I will not be able to compare that score to my effort the second time around. Conversely if I make myself hit the correct squat depth every rep, and I only count my reps when the ball goes over the target line, now my time will mean something I can compare it next time around. And because I inputted my score onto the website last time around I will be able to click on Fight Gone Bad, find my previous score, and give myself a target to beat. Not because I am competing against anything or anyone, but because I want to get better in my own fitness. I couldn't contemplate training as hard as we do every day at The Compound, and not recording my efforts so I can see my own progress.

Practice personal integrity yourself and don't let bad reps go because a coach didn't see it. Demand virtuosity from yourself, which means to do something common uncommonly well. Don't count that last pull up when you know your chin didn't get over the bar. Don't cut corners on the run. Don't be satisfied with a half lock out overhead because your range of motion is bad due to limited flexibility. Don't count that back squat PR when your depth was lacking. And don't take it personally when a coach tells you a rep doesn't count. That's why the coach is there! To help you help yourself. Work on those weaknesses, and demand better from yourself. Record your scores on the website daily and include any modifications you did so that next time you know what you're trying to beat. Make your personal fitness a priority and don't be happy to merely finish another brutal metcon without puking.

Train hard, train smart, record it, get better, and beat it next time. Comparison is only one of the reasons we are critical about proper movements in exercise.  Over the next few weeks, we will talk about several other reasons we are critical of our movements.  bc


  1. Hotel gym WOD:
    3 Dumbell full squat clean/press @45#
    3 strict pullups
    on the minute for 12 minutes

    cooldown with ballslams @10# (heaviest they had) for 5 minutes

  2. Noticable improvment on my focus of perfoming wallballs when scrutiny is in the house..let's do it. Full squat anyting is smokin'my leg's the last two week's, but the reward was doing 10 straight pistol squats...hmmm