“un”coaching.

I love the CrossFit methodology. I love the incorporation of Oly lifts, I love the functional movement, I love the randomization, I love the people and the mindset. CrossFit highly unique in that it’s almost organic, in the way that the herd thins. Only the strong survive and stay with CrossFit. I like it. Makes it so I’m surrounded by tough, consistent, powerful people.

I love the athletes. I love having athletes come in and expand their capabilities. I love having NON-athletes come in and discover their athleticism. I’ll sing their praises later. Today, I want to talk about the seasoned athletes, exploring CrossFit for the first time.


Athletes enter CrossFit with a basic idea of their physical capabilities, and an already-present mindset that allows them to ‘push’. It’s cool, because they’re willing to push and don’t need the “Yes you CAN!” speech (not that there’s anything wrong with wanting/needing that, but it’s cool to see it already developed). They’re excited about rediscovering their capabilities and expanding their horizons. Sometimes they’re already informed about lifts and movements, other times, they’re not, but they’re accepting that they must learn, because that’s what coaches have taught them their whole lives.

But…
For every bright side, there’s a difficulty, a dark side if you will.

Muscle memory is a fantastic thing. Fantastic, amazing, and trainable thing. Especially when it’s been taught for years and is innate. Just so powerful. You can see it with a baseball player when he steps up to the plate. I mentioned a story about that earlier this week to the six a.m. class. Watching someone who’s played for year step into the box after a gap in playing time, it’s fascinating to see that memory fire off and resurface.

Some things, though, I don’t WANT to have resurface. Like the idea our bodies get that says our shoulders and arms are more explosively powerful than our hips. That’s not fun to unteach…because it’s so ingrained from previous training that a whole new synaptic pattern has to be created and practiced. There’s a subconscious wall there that has to be broken down and rebuilt into what we’re aiming for. Sometimes the athlete is more open to the ‘tear down’, other times, it’s a process.

A perfect example is the clean. Something several athletes struggle with is convincing their brains to acknowledge that the hips and posterior chain are more powerful than their arms. You can see this in a clean because the hips don’t blast through, the bar moves slower, and the shoulders don’t shrug…so the athlete winds up somewhat baby T-Rexing the bar and trying to pull it using nothing but arms and shoulders. This is incredibly inefficient – less weight will be moved and fatigue will set in MUCH faster than if the proper core to extremity pattern were followed.

Yesterday’s WOD with the MBCs was a perfect time for EVERYONE to really focus on that pattern sans barbell, and create that muscle memory. When you’re here, and you’re doing these WODs, keep the C2E pattern in mind. It starts in the middle and moves OUT, not outside moving inward.

It’s a struggle, but I’m going to be pushing you all for it, to create, or recreate, the muscle memory – to ‘un’coach if you will – in your movements. I’mma yell about using your hips and full hip extensions and all kinds of snazzy jazz like that. You’re gonna get pissed at me…but I’m okay with that. Our intention isn’t to nitpick you to death, but it IS to make your movements safe, efficient, and powerful.

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