It’s never fun to hear us counting back reps or a critique of your lift, but I wanted to write about why we do it. It’s easy to get lost in the proverbial forest of numbers and want to post RX or hit a new PR on a lift, but I’m seeing too much trending towards quantity over quality. It’s easy to revel in short term gains and ignore our weaknesses, but we’re not training for tomorrow, we’re training for the long term. Good form matters because without it we harm ourselves, we limit our potential and we aren’t seeking true improvement.
I’ve seen hundreds of athletes come through our doors and even more compete at various events. There is an obvious difference between people who hold technique and form as the pinnacle of their training. Grit and intensity decide competitions, but you can move a load much more quickly if you do it efficiently. Just go watch any Olympic level weightlifting event video on youtube. Now compare that to some random video of a guy doing the same lift in his basement. One looks natural and one doesn’t. Sure, the Olympic athlete has trained his entire life and has a genetic predisposition to perform better than his peers, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that one looks better, i.e. more natural. Even if you have no desire to compete, it’s important for you to learn how to use your body properly to stay healthy. Sacrificing form to be “better” isn’t worth it and in the long term you will face the consequences.
CrossFit introduces at least 50+ unique movements that most people have never done before they entered our box.Whatever your background, you can improve something in the gym. Usually there are fundamentals that we all need to work on. If you can’t squat to full depth or open your shoulders all the way, you have flexibility problems that need to be addressed before you start dramatically increasing weights. If you can’t do deadlifts without back problems, then you need to address your core stability on your lifts and lower the weight. I could write about each lift and each fundamental problem, but that’s our job as trainers every day you come in the gym. Don’t be embarrassed if we correct issues; it’s because we care about you.
There is a reason we err on the side of safety and tell you to “go lighter.” We want you to reach your potential and we know you can’t do it unless you perfect the fundamentals. It’s like attempting calculus before you know how to add and multiply. The problem is when the load increases and we don’t keep perfect form, the chance that we tweak something or fatigue quicker is much higher. A focus on quality allows us to more efficiently move our bodies or a weight and do it safely. Gains don’t come instantly. I know it’s hard to be next to firebreathers and not see dramatic improvements in a short period, but that’s the nature of the beast.
I encourage everyone to assess their form, fix their fundamental weaknesses and be patient. The gains will come.
Also read: “How to Make the Best Improvements in Your Training,” “No Egos Allowed” and “No Shortcuts to Success“