Let me share with you a little experience I’ve had recently.

I’m currently in the Philippines visiting family and over the weekend, we went to check out a local “fitness and strength” competition.  The event brings together the town’s local gyms’ members and others to compete in different categories such as “Endurance” (Women only) and “Strongman”.  When I heard the women’s event was a combination of burpees, deadlifts, kettlebell swings and goblet squats, I decided to register last minute (in thongs, nonetheless) and give it a go! 

I was the 11th and last female in the lineup, which means I got to watch every single person go through the workout.  This also means I got to see every single terrible technique you could witness with these movements. It took every fibre of my being to not rush over and correct their form.  From horrible, rounded backs, bouncing the deadlift bars which sent their necks jarring each rep, to landing on their toes during burpees so much that I could basically hear their kneecaps crying, it was all there.  Then, there were the women who clearly shouldn’t be swinging a heavy kettlebell around for the sake of their poor lumbar spine, chests dropping forward during goblet squats. So much more but I’ll save you the gory details.  It was painful to watch as a spectator, let alone as a coach. One lady was even taken to the emergency room. No one corrected them or showed them the right technique.

This got me thinking about how much we value mechanics over intensity and technique over weight at CrossFit Contessa.  This is just one of the things I absolutely LOVE about our gym. Every class, we delve deep into the MECHANICS of the exercises involved for the day and our coaches actually coach, we correct movement patterns.  We focus on progress, not perfection. We never sacrifice technique for the weight on the bar. We follow one of the world’s best programming companies and prioritise an intensive warm up before every workout. 

Our class structure often goes something like this: 

  • The workout of the day (WOD) brief
  • General and barbell warm up (if there are barbells involved for the day)
  • Specific warm up and “teaching points”
  • Practice round 
  • Toilet break/drink break
  • Workout strategy & focus
  • Go time!

I want to focus on the teaching points here.  Teaching is arguably the most important part. The coaches go through specific aims with the members, to provide them with something to focus and work on during the WOD.  For example, if we are doing deadlifts, our teaching point that day may be; “shins vertical” So we are focused on and properly loading the posterior chain during the entire movement. We will break this movement down, practice, learn, apply, correct. 

These teaching points are crucial for the workout. Not only do our members get to learn something specific about that movement but it also gives them a specific focus.  

Sometimes, when it’s “3, 2, 1… GO!” and the music’s blaring, it’s easy to lose this focus and forget everything your coach has just told you.  This not only leads to a less efficient workout, but in more serious cases, can increase risk of injury as well.

Hence why it’s SUPER important to go somewhere the coaches will teach the CORRECT technique and make a big deal about movement! And when you do turn up, pay attention! We know life has distractions.  We know you’ve got a million-and-one things going on in your head and the list keeps climbing… WE GET IT. But this is your hour. Your hour to put aside anything else on your To Do list.  Your only thing to do in this hour is to focus everything on moving well, enjoying yourself & learning something new.  Don’t be that person who walks in, has the “just get it done” mentality, do the workout but you’re not even “there”, and walk back out only to return to your chores for the day. Make this your hour to be BETTER and walk out the door not only that little bit fitter, but also that little bit smarter about your body.


Remember: technique is KING (or should I say QUEEN? 😉). Listen and learn during the class by working on those teaching points.  It’s these fine, little details that will make you into the fittest version of yourself that you can be, both inside and outside of the gym. 

Coach J xx

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