Why movement standards are IMPORTANT!
By Candice Lamb
A common thing we often get asked by people who are new to CrossFit, is why we have movement standards (it’s asked more like ‘but WHY does my chest need to touch the ground during a burpee’ or something similar. Often people who have trained before (PTs, other group training, or battling the gym on their own) struggle to wrap their heads around why we uphold such high standards for all of our movements.
1. Because…real life!
We want to make sure your body is as functional as possible out there in the real world. We want to know that if you need to squat to full depth under load (think lifting cars off babies, moving house, picking up heavy Bulldogs that won’t get to bed…) that you can do so safely. We want to make sure that you can lift things over your head while keeping a good neutral spine, and we need to know that if you had to get up off the ground (think falls in older people!) that you could, because you practice all of this every day in the gym.
2. Joint range
A healthy joint is one that gets to move through a variety of ranges. From my work as a Physio, I truly believe that we should be moving joints through their full available range – often, and then when this is movement is safe and of good quality, we add load.
This is obviously going to vary when injuries are present, but where possible we will preserve the full range of movement or as close to it as possible throughout a workout. This may mean that if you struggle with your squats (for example: can’t get your knees down lower than your hips, poor ankle mobility) we probably won’t add load to this until you are proficient in the movement.
This is because of the CrossFit prescription of mechanics > consistency > intensity. When you can do something well, then repeatedly do something well, we will add load and make you work harder and faster. If you don’t first have the mechanics, worry about working on what is preventing first – the rest will come in time.
If we didn’t have movement standards, how would we ever compare your workout times? If one week we let you squat ¼ depth, and one month later in the same workout we made you squat the whole way, how would be compare these scores and decide whether you were becoming a fitter, stronger human? We wouldn’t be able to because the movements are completely different.
Similarly, when we come to The Open or competition, we need to make sure everyone is held to the same standards, again so that things can be compared across the board.
Pay attention in the workout briefs next time you are in the box and you will start to notice that all movements we do have particular ‘criteria’ that we look for. Remember, CrossFit is about so much more than just coming in and sweating – we want you to be the strongest, fittest and fastest version of yourself from now until the day you die!
- Candice Lamb