I know this phase is probably blasphemous inside a CrossFit gym but it is something important to remember. I often hear things like “full send or no send” or I hear “I know my technique is bad but…” These are common sayings inside the gym and I completely understand them. CrossFit tends to attract Type A personalities- people who are always looking to overcome new challenges. Listen to a former competitive CrossFit athlete: slow down.
There are few people in this town that have been doing CrossFit as long as I have. I can remember teaching on-ramp classes to CrossFit athletes who are now very experienced inside this community, across multiple gyms. All that to say I have been in the game a long time. One thing I wish I had learned early on was to slow down and really work on finding proper positions and shapes before I lift or perform a movement. I’m not saying it’s too late for me to learn but it is late enough to know that I have stunted my overall performance. I see people muscle snatch when they should be power snatching, or I see chicken winging when they attempt bar muscle ups. These are the beginner’s folly. Simply, these people are running before they can walk. These tend to also be the same athletes who have nagging injuries that don’t seem to go away.
When I say to slow down, I am simply asking the question when was the last time you worked on a virtuous strict handstand push up or virtuous strict pull up? When was the last time you snatched and drilled a PVC pipe? You can’t go into a gym today without seeing someone filming themselves but you rarely see them filming themselves drilling perfect snatch balances with a PVC pipe. Why? Because they don’t receive the Instagram popularity that people crave and I get it, we live in a social media age. Everyone wants the likes and views for their following. But I don’t care how many likes your PR squat video received, if you slip a disc or tweak your knee and require surgery that sets you back 4-6 months, then what good was the record that you can never chase again? Trust me, I know. I was that guy.
Today I am nowhere near where I was when I was in my late 20’s and part of that was because I cared more about doing the work and less on how well I moved. Today I decide to focus on how well I move and less on how fast I move and, crazy concept, I’m not much slower but I feel better after I work out. There are some days where I don’t move as well as I should and those are the days I can tell, my aches and pains return and I as well need to remember to slow down. If there is anything I have learned in my days of being a competitive athlete it is that moving fast and erratic is not as efficient as slowing down and moving well. Yeah I may get beat in today’s workout, but I can wake up tomorrow and perform where the person who moves fast and erratic has trouble getting out of bed and needs to take multiple days off to recover. Long term this sets them back.
So I ask: are you the full send or no send type or person? If you truly want to be better or want to be fit for life it takes a huge shot to the ego but you must learn to slow down. What I love about this strategy is it can apply to everything we do in life. Slowing down helps us appreciate the journey. We don’t have to be so focused on finishing the fastest but doing everything with efficiency and quality and we can live our lives much more fulfilled and be fitter in the process.
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