I have to admit, I was both nervous and a little reluctant to show up at CrossFit Roots on Saturday morning. Some of that having to do with feeling like time is a very limited resource these days! So a full two days in Boulder was a little hard to swallow. With that in mind, the lessons of relentlessness and integrity were about the last thing I was expecting to be pondering by the end of it.
But to be honest, squatting in the back of my mind (ha ha… pun!), I was worried I was going to get my ass handed to me by some of our finest and most established CrossFit ambassadors. Steve had given me the heads up… “Just know the 9 foundational movements and how you would go about teaching them”.
Well, yep, that pretty much sums up a large portion of what we went over in those two days. We had the opportunity to really dive in and learn how to be most effective at teaching and relentlessly promoting the integrity of the 9 Foundational Movements.
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Here they are in case you are wondering: air squat, front squat, overhead squat, shoulder press, push press, push jerk, deadlift, sumo deadlift high pull, and medicine ball clean
[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Source: https://www.crossfit.com/exercisedemos/ ]
The theme of integrity was a thread throughout the weekend. Where the thread became most apparent to me was programming. Our desire as a gym that offers CrossFit classes is to promote the sport of fitness, it is to build general physical preparedness.
In the world of fitness where something new and exciting is popping up too often to keep up with, it can be easy to accidentally veer off into specializing.
Sometimes it doesn’t look that far off of what one may see in a CrossFit gym. For example, programming may end up trending toward short metcons always alongside other programing. One of the comments a CFL2 seminar student that also is a programmer for his gym said was that he would rarely program just a strength day because his athletes want…nil *need* more metcons. In fact most of their athletes would skip a strength only day because ‘they aren’t getting enough of a workout in’.
Goodness, I wish I had recorded the response from Erik Preston. Essentially, a strength day treated right will have as impactful of an effect as all metcons all the time. Basically boiling it down to not trending towards one domain, aka using mainly one type or time frame of activities.
Or at the end of the day upping the integrity and intent of that strength day so there is no question the benefits you reap from using that type of domain in your programming. Included in this, if not foremost, is educating your athletes why a metcon, every single day, is not the most beneficial to them.
We have heard this sentiment from various athletes over the years. I just need to go and run a lot in addition to the WOD (usually said by one who is trying to shed pounds). Yes, that can help one achieve fat loss but at what cost? More training and more repetitive movements that requires more recovery and potentially less energy for the actual hour in the gym.
In summary keeping integrity in CrossFit programming by way of staying away from favoring or specializing and keeping it varied while truly sticking to the intent of the programmed workout.
This is why CrossFit Banshee, at the beginning of each workout reviews the goal of the workout, the time cap being more important than lifting the RXd weight or going the prescribed distance.
I touched on this idea briefly above, and that is being a coach that helps your athletes understand the integrity of a workout, a program, or a movement. It is our job, albeit uncomfortable sometimes, to make really sure that our clients have the tools they need to improve. That can include effective cues, education on intent of the wods, education about fitness vs. specialty, drills to help them at the point their movement is breaking down, encouraging proper recovery, among other tools coaches can share.
Yes, we may have some clients that just want to move, they aren’t looking to compete but that doesn’t take away from our need as a gym or as coaches to first make sure they are safe, and second help them improve and get closer to their goals.
What do we do to ensure we are relentless in coaching our athletes?
We don’t just walk away when we can’t help them improve on a specific drill or movement because we are at a loss for words or cues. We attempt to appeal to them with a different teaching strategy. It could mean we keep saying “Squeeze your butt” and they don’t seem to be squeezing any more on the third rep than the first. So we figure out a different way to elicit the same desired outcome but by way of a different path. Maybe it is Steve’s cue of “Prison defense” or telling them to imagine they have a hundred dollar bill between their butt cheeks at the top of Mt. Bierstadt on a windy day, and showing them what that looks like (plus you’ll probably get some laughs).
It comes down to working with clients in any way you can imagine conveying your coaching instead of just giving up because “I told them chest up twice and they aren’t doing it!”. Or telling them, not seeing any change, but then saying Good Job, essentially leading them to believe they did make a change.
I walked away less of a puppy with my tail between my legs and more of empowered yet cautiously curious coach. Coaching can be hard, and deserves a lot of practice, and layering and building upon. It is simple, but nowhere near easy. It requires knowledge, skill, intuition, a good attitude, a relentless attitude, and an appreciation for integrity of the sport of fitness.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]