THE VIRTUES OF VIRTUOSITY
Coach Greg Glassman (CrossFit founder) often talks about the importance of virtuosity — defined in gymnastics as “performing the common uncommonly well.”
As he said in piece he wrote (Glassman on Virtuosity) “There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques. What will inevitably doom a physical training program and dilute an athletes success is a commitment to fundamentals. (From a coaching perspective), this is why we we don’t teach a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat. And teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake.”
There’s a reason we do movements time and time again before we even pull out a barbell or load it heavily. As coaches, we use the warm up and strength section of class to observe and coach our athletes on how to move virtuously. What really excites us is to see the improvement in our positions and technique over time (and often times within the same class).
However, we will often see great movement during the early sections of class but once the METCON starts athletes start to short the range of motion or get sloppy in an effort to move quickly. We know that you can meet the standards of the movement (as we have seen you do them early in the workout) but do you keep to those standards when you hear “3-2-1 Go”?
There was a great Facebook post from our very own Katie R (we just love this athlete and her approach to fitness) where she wanted to RX a workout but realized she would have not meet the movement standards of the workout. Sure, she could get the weight up, but she knew it wouldn’t be done with “virtuosity”. She chose to scale the workout to a level that would challenged her but also allowed her to complete every rep the way it was designed. She took pride that every overhead squat was to depth and every rope climb hit the mark.
We all strive to beat the clock, but it doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t beat that clock while staying true to sound form. No matter what the timer says or how many poker chips you put down what matters is that you worked hard, committed to beautiful and sound movements and maybe had some fun (seriously this stuff is fun. at least when it is over)…
15 second handstand hold
4 controlled negatives
(go deficit if need be and focus on a slow controlled decent)
20 shoulder to overhead
25 toes to bar
30 box jumps
One of our new members Jessica gets upside down for the first time (ever!!). Amazing!