The article below should come as no surprise to anyone who’s trained with us for any period of time. It’s always important to prioritize mechanics when first learning a new movement
From Tabata Times
by Brian King
Check your ego at the door.
I’ve heard it a million times. Said it a million more. “Check your ego at the door!” Why? Because CrossFit has the unmatched ability to humble even the most accomplished athletes. Just ask Rich Froning, four-time Fittest Man on Earth. He is unquestionably the fittest person the world has seen in this generation, but a 3,000 meter row followed by 300 double-unders followed by a three mile run left him gasping for breath. So, check your ego at the door.
I’m a pretty competitive person. I like to win, but even more so, I like to be better than I was. Period. No excuses. I know the guys with whom I compare well and I like to see if my scores rank with theirs, but what I really love is to hit a new PR. Especially in weightlifting.
Some years ago when I was pretty heavily into more traditional weightlifting, I remember thinking, “Man, I bet I’ll never bench 135.” (Side note: I’m hitting 205 now — the result, I believe, of checking that ego at the door.) I didn’t understand what checking my ego meant.
In January, I attended an Olympic weightlifting seminar — specifically focused on the snatch — hosted by my good friend and coach Justin Smith and Regional athlete and coach Paul Villareal. I hit a 30-pound PR on my snatch that day using a technique called the split snatch. After describing the technique, Coach Paul says to me, “You’re a great candidate for the split snatch. You’re getting older, have a previous injury, and your shoulders are terrible. Why don’t you give it a shot?”
I laughed. Out loud. A real-world manifestation of the ubiquitous “lol.” Then I tried it. Checked my ego at the door. Thirty- pound PR.
Something clicked that day about what it meant to check my ego at the door. And I had a blast doing one of my two most hated movements, with the other being the overhead squat. Again, my shoulders are terrible. The mobility is so bad I can’t even describe it, but it is getting better thanks to some great coaching.
Since the seminar, I have made a very conscious effort to dial my weight back and drill form. Form, form, form. I had so much fun Oly lifting that I decided I would work on perfecting them a piece at a time. The snatch and clean and jerk have a common component: the squat. I began working on having a great squat. And by squat, I mean air squat. I wanted to get all the way down to my heels while keeping my toes pointed forward and my shins vertical. A great book called Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett has been instrumental in making that a reality.
I began drilling my squat form 3-4 times each week. I read up on mobilizing my hips, knees and ankles. Lo and behold, my PRs began going up on front and back squats. Currently, I am at 315# on back squat and 275# on front squat.
I attribute my new PRs to learning what it really meant to check my ego at the door, dialing my weight back, and perfecting my form. Not surprisingly, I discovered just a couple of days ago that having a decent overhead squat will be a reality one day.
CrossFit is a great way to compete against yourself and others. But for me, it has become competition against myself to get better — not bigger.