I read this article today about giving unsolicited advice in a training environment. It’s a great thought provoking read.
When the author states “Your age and, frankly, your physical size seem to be factors that contribute to it. I also think it’s worse for women.” I smiled – it is.
Back in my bodybuilding days I recall Nessy and I were on the pec deck machine, it’s pretty hard to get the movement wrong – right? Well not according to a baggy panted, string tank top clad bodybuilder type who purposefully strode across the gym floor to explain that we needed to imagine we were “hugging a tree”.
Ness and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes but as he was our elder and we both have manners we thanked the “wise gentleman” for his concern and said that in the next set we would definitely imagine a tree before us.
As I’ve been there, “received that” I’m very mindful about handing out advice when I’m training on the main gym floor, even if I cringe and have to look away from someone in my field of vision. In fact the only time I ever offer help is when someone (usually of the older and frailer female variety) looks completely bewildered and is frantically searching the room for assistance. This usually means they need help to lift off the weight plates someone left racked or they are looking for the womens gym.
Crossfit however, is a completely different beast altogether, crossfitters in general are quick to jump in with advice, tips, tweaks and pointers and we gratefully receive it. “Elbows up!” “Proud chest” or “shag the air” are all cues that most crossfitters have had screamed across the floor at them. So, although I’m not keen on receiving pearls of wisdom such as “your knee shouldn’t touch the floor on those lunges” on the main gym floor, I’m receptive to all advice thrown at me in the box, after all you can never tell who will provide you with that lightbulb moment when it all makes sense.
Take skipping for example – it’s not my strong point, actually I wouldn’t even call it a weakness because I’m not even proficient enough yet to be weak. It’s like before God created the world and everything was just a blackness of non existence – that’s my skipping ability, less than non existent.
I’ve had (what seems like) every man, woman and a child (Isabelle) try to help me with my skipping whilst they stand and forlornly shake their heads at my efforts to transfer their advice into affirmative action;
Stand on the cross and jump in the same place each time ..
Arms in, arms forward ..
Jump slow, spin fast …
Regardless of the advice it just wasn’t happening. I’ve had people change the length of my rope, change the way I hold the rope and even change the actual rope but I still couldn’t even jump over the rope once let alone string doubles together. Forget the muscle up palava, I was never going to become an RX athlete because I can’t jump over a piece of wire!
I’ll occasionally pull out my rope, fail miserably, throw it on the floor in disgust and do some handstands to cheer myself up. Today however I was on a high because everything was going so well. I even got a personal best on my push press thanks mostly to the fact I miscalculated what I loaded on the bar by 5kg, but a PB is a PB regardless of how it came about. 😉
Since it seemed to be the morning of “you can do anything” at the end of the session I pulled out my rope. My friend Amit was also practicing his double unders and he shared a few tips on where to have my arms (which didn’t seem to help much) then he turned to me and said “G told to me to imagine a string running through my head that pulls you upright” … well I’ve tried everything else ..
Single, Single (stand tall, look up) ..
Double, Double, Double, Double, Double *don’t get too excited stay calm Julz*
Double, Double *shit I’m skipping!*
Double, Double .. 27 unbroken!
Just goes to show, you never know which is the pointer (of the hundreds you’ll get) that will FINALLY shine a light through your fog.
Crossfitters of the world, please never change .. I’ll take all the unsolicited advice you’ve got to give!
Till next time