Last night I had Gymnastics class at CrossfitHPU with Kat.
During the technique part of the session there is quite a lot of talking (as you would expect when you are learning how to perform a new skill “to standard”) and it’s during this part of the class that I usually pick up some tips such as which muscles are tight and are hindering my movement, which muscles are weak, what drills I can do to help me improve etc etc .. you know all those small tips and tricks that will help you advance.
Last night however I had somewhat of an epiphany moment during one of these discussions, so much so that I had to share it with you all!
You see Kat has just come back from the Crossfit Regionals and was discussing how strict the standards are. It’s black and white – if it’s a grey area, it’s black. Simply put if there is ANY doubt in the judges mind it’s a no rep. As a consequence of this Kat is now instructing all her athletes to perform each and every rep, each and every time they train to a degree where there can be absolutely no doubt that you completed it to standard.
So for example you would squat “arse to grass” or pullup so that your entire head is above the bar. Doing this each and every time you train means that it becomes your bodies default so even when you are under stress (such as during a competition) your body will do what “it always does”.
Now I never plan on competing, its not my thing and has never been a driving factor of why I took up training in a crossfit gym BUT they no rep you in an “ordinary wod” too and I’m not one to want to do more than I have to so I put on my listening ears.
So, how do you teach yourself this “correct technique”?
Well it’s when Kat started explaining technique training that I had the “epiphany moment” that I told you about earlier.
One of my “crossfit goals” is to do 12 strict pullups while maintaining a hollow. At this point in time I can do 2-4 with perfect form, I can probably bust out another 2-4 with less than perfect form (say with straight legs but no hollow – or with a slight back kip) and then another 2-4 with shite form (bent knees or big kick up to the bar).
Basically I’m telling my body that it doesn’t have to learn the correct technique because although I can do 4 perfectly I’ve got another 8 crappy pullups in my pocket that I will pull out when required.
What I actually should be doing during technique training is “Parenting my Body”
I *named* it “Parenting my Body” because when Kat explained it to me I thought to myself – oh! so it’s like teaching kids!
For example if Elias is playing with his trains and hits Issy with one, I take the trains away because that behavior is not ok. He learns very quickly that if he wants to play with his trains, he plays nicely.
When you “Parent your Body” you teach it what you will accept and what you will not.
If we go back to my pullup example at the point where my pullups and not A+ I stop and rest I do not accept B grade reps. Once I have sufficiently rested I give it another go, if my reps are awesome all good, as soon as they degrade I stop.
I teach my body that if it doesn’t do it correctly it doesn’t get to do anything .. clever huh!
Now I have no idea if this will work in real life. I mean what happens if my body is a lot like me? I mean it is my body after all, what if it’s as stubborn as I am and it’s having an “I really can’t be arsed day”?
In that case it would just keep handing out really shit form because it knows it then won’t have to do anything ..
I guess only time will tell, but I’ve got nothing to lose giving it a go!
Till next time
I just thought I should clarify that this relates to technique training (eg teaching your body what is correct). In a WOD you can’t stop when your form is shite because you would never finish. That’s why a WOD is scalable you select the level you CAN do for the required number of reps with perfect form.
If I had to do pullups in a WOD I would suck up my pride and do pullups with perfect form with a band.
Don’t ever let your ego get in the way of your end goals.