The trainer yells “3, 2, 1…Go!”. The music turns up loud. People are grunting and groaning. The next thing you know you’re caught up in the frenzy. Everything you learned about performing any particular movement well goes out the door. Someone is yelling something at you, but you don’t have time to listen. You are flying through the workout. In the end, you’re sprawled out on the floor. You killed it. Oh, wait a second, there was a trainer there yelling coaching cues to you about your movement during the workout? What does the trainer know? You finished first and you did it “As Rx’d.” You are a CrossFitter!!!
In anything we do in life, doing things wrong is always less efficient than doing things right. Unfortunately, training at high intensity has what we call “The Slop Factor”: reach the point of exhaustion, and there is going to be some loss of good technique in your movement. I agree with this 100%, but you should not be sloppy for the ENTIRE workout just for the sake of being the fastest. You should not be thinkng, “Why do it right if I can do it wrong?”
You can break down how I sit on a toilet seat in the morning and figure out how I can do it more efficiently (probably not a photo compilation you would want me to post on this blog). All human movement involves “technique.” When you start adding objects into the movement (weightlifting) or manipulating the human body through space (gymnastics), the technique sometimes changes from what we do easily (walk, run, sit) to something we need to learn. The human body is an amazing machine. It knows how to work its many intricate parts together to do awesome things, but you can train it to be even better. Training in a nutshell is simply refining your technique.
In CrossFit, we sometimes forget about refining our technique. Need to do 30 clean and jerks for time? Just bend over and pick up the bar! 50 burpess in a row? No problem. Just flop on the floor and get up as fast as you can! Get done as fast as possible and who cares about technique. DUMB DUMB DUMB!! A workout is not a contest. You don’t win a prize for doing the workout the fastest. A workout is part of your training. It’s practice time. Why would anyone want to practice doing something wrong??? You ever wonder why some gym beasts suck at competitions? They practice moving badly for the sake of moving quickly. They follow the mentality of “Why do it right if I can do it wrong?”
Slow down to go faster? It doesn’t make sense to most people. You need to get out of your head that being the fastest isn’t the goal. Watch CrossFit Games champions Rich Froning or Annie Thorisdottir do thrusters and pull-ups during the workout “Fran.” Their movement is beautiful for almost the entire workout, AND it is fast. Why? Because in their training they practice good movement. Capacity, and ultimately the speed, came second after the efficiency. The best in any athletic endeavor don’t train at being sloppy. They never think, “Why do it right when I can do it wrong?” Every single training session they are thinking about moving well.
Take your time during a workout to think about what you are doing. I’m not saying you need to come to a grinding halt and everything needs to be perfect. Just think about the little things that make a movement better, especially if you know you have a tendancy to not do those little things. How is your set up? Are your feet where they should be? Am I keeping a tight back? The list of things to think about is huge, but there will come a time when you will move faster without having to think so much. You just need to practice to get there. This is training.
You didn’t join Crossfit to try and be the fastest during your group session. We are traning, not competing. The clock is just a reference. Turn off the competition mode and get into the practice/training mode. You will be so much better off in the long run.