I wanted to make you aware of some small things that can make a big difference to your overall performance. Virtuosity is something that I place atop the pillar of success and virtuosity is something that many people lack.
Most people are only interested in faster times or bigger numbers, and in all honesty those things are important, very important in fact because our sport is all about power output and getting the most work done possible regardless of how it gets done.
But you see, it’s a classic case of focusing on the wrong things. You know the one, you are single and looking for a mate and you seem to push them all away, then you eventually find one and all of a sudden everyone wants you. Well the same is true for CrossFit, if you only focus on getting faster and bigger numbers regardless of HOW you achieve those results the you will become very disheartened in a short period of time.
Virtuosity is doing the common uncommonly well. It is practicing not until you get it right, but until you can’t get it wrong.
Here is a list of things that show me you are virtuos:
1) You have a perfect Hollow body position
Tension throughout the entire chain which crosses over to HS Holds/Walks, Pull Ups, Muscle Ups, Levers etc…
2) You can Snatch/Clean/Jerk an empty barbell exactly the same as a loaded one
Most people struggle to lift an empty barbell because there is no resistance for them to get feedback from. If you watch a professional lift an empty barbell it will look the same all the way through to their max. This is a sign that their motor patterns and coordination is on point.
3) You pause during the catch of the Snatch, Power Snatch, Power Clean and Jerk
The ability to pause during a movement shows control, the ability to pause during the catch of an Oly lift shows control and teaches precision. If the bar is slightly off path pausing will be almost impossible. If you are lifting in isolation (not in a WOD) then pausing in the catch shows a level of professionalism.
4) Forefoot running
There is nothing worse than watching someone heavy on their feet during a running workout. True running mechanics involve the forefoot touching the ground first with a slight heel kiss following and minimum contact time on the ground before cycling the next rep.
5) Rowing mechanics
I guess this one isn’t so specific but here is why I can immediately tell someones CrossFit ability by watching them warm up on a rower. Almost every affiliate has rowers, almost every CrossFit athlete uses a rower at least once a week, yet only the virtuos ones row properly. It is such an overlooked thing because most people just get on and pull on the handle.
6) Composure at high HR
This one is my favourite, and it is probably the most important. It is easy to stay composed if you move slowly and don’t push it too far. But can you get your Heart Rate near max and still look perfectly fine and keep a cool head? The ability to have your heart beating through your chest yet look like your doing a crossword is a skill that you only acquire if you repeatedly go deep into the pain-cave with a positive frame of mind.
All of these things matter and will make you a better athlete. If you aren’t doing them then you need to start practicing and becoming aware. Generally the first months of a season are dedicated to this stuff and then as the season progresses you will be more virtuos and when you up the intensity the new movement patters and virtuos markers should be second nature and you will then have better numbers and faster times.
If you do not take the time throughout the season to address these things properly then you will always be missing half of the recipe in building the best athlete possible. These are the things we focus on during the Underground RX High Performance Training Camp, because theses are the things that are overlooked and with little simple adjustments can make you a far more superior athlete.