Mirror mirror on the wall
It seems to be the “thing” to train in a mirrorless environment these days ..
Ludus was the first place I trained without mirrors, I recall when I started the fact that there were no mirrors was part of their advertising. Something along the lines of “you won’t find any mirrors here”
99.9% of crossfit boxes are the same. You’ll find warehouses fitted out with pull up rigs, lifting platforms, ropes suspended from the ceiling and a conspicuous absence of mirrors.
HPU was the same until a few months ago when during an upgrade they fitted two large mirrors in our newly designed dedicated weights area. I will note that this area is separate from the floor where you workout, it’s used for personal training sessions and when individuals want to weight train at the same time a class on.
After talking with Coach G about the mirrors he said that when they first set up HPU they were in a conundrum about the mirrors but after discussing it with other box owners they decided against installing any because crossfit boxes do not have mirrors.
I understand the reasoning behind having no mirrors, you need to learn what it feels like to execute a movement with proper form.
BUT yes there is a but …
This morning during training as I looked across the crowded room during my allocated rest time and at least 80% of people there had a complete lack of body awareness.
I saw one guy who obviously thought he was squatting but instead of lowering his butt to the ground he slightly bent his knees and hinged forward at the hip and lowered his torso and as usual there are the people who just bend the knees slightly then straighten.
And don’t get me started on the push ups ..
Now even if I take out the people who for some reason (old age, injury etc) can not execute a squat (or push up) with a full range of motion and also exclude those people who know they aren’t going through full range but choose to bob up and down that still leaves a big chunk of the population who don’t know what it feels like to complete a movement with proper form.
A mirror is a quick way to convince someone who is adamant they are going below parallel, are fully extended at the top or that their chest touched the floor – that they are mistaken.
Another reason not to shun the mirror is that 65% of the population are visual learners. I get that a mirror is not always the easiest thing to set yourself up in front of to view form (especially on something like a squat where you need a side view) but it’s a useful tool and one we shouldn’t just shun because a small percentage of the population like to watch themselves doing bicep curls.
When a mirror is used in conjunction with a trainer it becomes an even more invaluable tool. The trainer can demonstrate a movement and you can copy them and visually see if (or when) your movements match theirs. Once you have that movement down pat, then I think it’s useful to step away from the mirrors and learn what the movement feels like.
Now days I mostly train without mirrors because I’ve learnt what a movement should feel like, but I quite often video myself training so that I can check my form.
For the longest time I was sure I was going below parallel on my squats, but a video check showed that I wasn’t quite low enough, I was close but it was still going to be a “no rep”.
I can now complete a set, check the video then during the next set focus on any mistakes I’ve picked up from watching back the footage. It’s like a high tech version of a mirror. 😉
So although in theory I think training in a no mirror environment is a good one. I don’t think it’s great for everyone. The only place where I think mirrors are a complete waste of time is a cardio room – wtf is up with that
Till next time