Why then has CrossFit strayed away from this? Why has it become ok to "snatch" a barbell overhead with bent elbows in the catch, pulling the bar up instead of pulling yourself under, and catching with really wide feet and a broken mid line? Where did the virtuosity of movement go?? It went to the competition aspect of this sport.
I spent my entire weekend at the CrossFit Gymnastics certification and it was a really well done weekend. I agreed with the principles they taught, I learned new things, had old ideas reinforced, and had a chance to practice my own skills. The basis for the course was striving for the excellent clean movement by mastering the fundamentals. Movement first, progressions and speed later. This is the core principle of 202strong. Rob and I completely believe in this and it is how we will run our gym, coach our athletes, and program our workouts.
Being in the course also brought me back to my figure skating days. Let me paint you a brief picture about the world of figure skating. There are eight levels of competition, Senior being the highest and Olympic eligible. In order to move up to the next level you must pass a "Moves in the Field" test and then a "Freestyle" test, two tests per level. The moves in the field test really drives home the notion of virtuosity. You are given a number of different "moves" to complete which are basically patters you draw on the ice. The patterns are the edges you create and the different turns and footwork sequences you must complete, flawlessly. The test is you on the ice and three judges staring at you. It is a quiet, cold ice rink and the only sound you hear is the sound of your blade on the ice. You must move with speed and fluidity, you must create long lines, you must point your toe, you must cover the required amount of ground on the ice, you must keep your arms in a certain position with your torso perfectly upright and your eyes looking straight ahead. Those are just the minor details, now complete the required sequences. You receive deductions for everything you miss and its much easier to fail a test than to pass. (If you wonder why I have terrible anxiety, this is probably why).
So why can't the movement we do in the gym mimic these same principles? Maybe you don't have to put on makeup and wear a sparkly dress, but focus on where your eyes are looking. Pay attention to your torso and where your body is in space. Our world is such a fast paced competitive place, but doesn't the turtle end up winning the race? If you master your dead hang pull-ups and dips, in a perfectly hollow body, think how easy the muscle up will become. If you kip your way through pull-ups and snake your way through a dip, you will continue to struggle with your muscle up. Believe me, I have learned!!!!
If you have knee pain when you squat or run, chances are your mechanics are off. Your mechanics are off because you probably have tight restrictive muscles and joints. Spend time fixing those, and you will run and squat longer and farther and pain free. More isn't always more. Don't always focus on the quick satisfaction of a PR or going faster. Slow it down sometimes and focus on the many years of your life left that you want to continue exercising. If you want to compete, slow it down now and be a master so that when you do compete and are in a state of fatigue, you are too good to completely break down.
Be virtuous, in everything you do.