Posted by bobby
Accidents can happen in the gym. Minor boo boos like scraped shins from box jumps or torn calluses from pull-ups allow for a fairly quick recovery and minimal loss of workout time. We also have to be aware of the potential of bigger more serious owees such as shoulder blowouts and lower back pulls that take a long time to heal and a lot of lost workout time.
As coaches our job is not only to put you through crazy workouts and take pictures of your CrossFace, but also teach you the details of each movement. We break down the most complex movements (i.e. clean or snatch) into smaller more manageable pieces. We also have the enjoyment of cheering you on and encouraging you through the WODs. One of the most important aspects of being a coach, however, is keeping you safe.
You are accustomed to us reviewing each movement of the WOD during the one or more technique portions of class. While teaching form we do our best to instruct you on the “why” of the movement. For instance, why do we clean and how does it apply to daily life or why do we deadlift off the floor and not clean off the floor. We also add tidbits of safety throughout instruction, such as how to dump the weight if you need to bail or how to safely get the bar overhead to perform overhead squats.
You will often hear us talking about contracting your lats to keep the bar close to your body for deadlifts, cleans and snatches. You want that bar to travel in an almost straight line as close to your body as possible for an efficient lift, but this is also a safety point. Weight far away from your vertical midline is never a good thing as it puts your back in jeopardy.
As CrossFitters we strive for overall health, and a healthy back is a key element in that equation. Any time you pick up weight from the ground, proper form is essential. The same goes for putting weight back down. I have noticed that many of you are bending at the waist to pick up your bar or kettlebell. STOP DOING THAT!!! Likewise, putting the bar or kettlebell down by bending at the waist is just as bad for your back. Properly deadlifting or squatting the weight up off the ground or back down is the correct and, more importantly, safe technique. While this is true anytime you move the weight, I see it most when the movement starts at the hang position. When we do hang cleans or hang snatches, I see a lot of you bending at the waist to pick up the bar to bring it to the starting position. We also see this habit when picking up kettlebells before initiating the swing.
Another scary back position for every one of your coaches is arching with weight over head. If you have load above your noggin, whether from a press, snatch or kettlebell swing; do not allow your back to arch. You are just asking for vertebral disc injury. Keep your core tight with your hips and ribs pulled in, aka the hollow position. This is also true for the handstand pushup. Keep that midsection solid – arching is bad.
There are a couple of reasons for these gross safety (technique) violation. The biggest and easiest to fix is mindfulness. You just aren’t in the habit of proper form when moving weight. In the middle of a metcon, you are tired, the clock is ticking and you’re feeding off of the class’ energy; it is sometimes difficult to keep focus. You just want to go and get it over with. This is where your coaches are going to give cues to remind you about proper technique when moving weight. Another reason is fatigue. After a core intensive A. WOD such as gymnastics practice or a heavy lift, your midsection is fatigued. You then move into a metcon with a weighted movement, and your core just crumbles. You must focus on proper lifting technique. This is crucial to keeping your back healthy.
While your back is the most popular body part when we talk safety, we also often address shoulders and knees. If you hear your coaches cueing you to pinch your shoulder blades during bench press or keep your knees behind your toes during a lunge, do your absolute best to correct your form immediately. Your shoulder and knee health depend on it. Also, if we see your heals coming up off the ground during a squat, we are going to cue you to get them back down. Again, your knees are at risk. We aren’t just power tripping; we are trying to keep you uninjured.
Early on you learned that dumping the weight is part of the process. We encourage you to bail or drop the bar on the ground rather than try to maneuver when you are off balance and out of proper form position. When we introduce kettlebells you may occasionally hear us say, “fast feet are happy feet”. We expect you to drop weights, but we want you to do so safely for your health and the health of your fellow athletes.
As safety monitors we pay attention to a few other details in addition to your form. In a full class during a crazy WOD you may often see us fixing the weights and clips on your bar or moving weights around during burpees or situps to prevent you from hitting your ankle or head. We may also take some weight off of your bar for you if you got in a little over your head. I’ve had an athlete say, “switch my 10’s to 5’s” as they are heading out for their run. I was more than happy to oblige. We do our best to stay on our toes, and absolutely love it when you take responsibility too.
Lastly, we encourage foam rolling, mobility and stretching. All three are critical to healthy soft tissue. Do them before, during (sometimes) and after class. Don’t forget rest days. Knotted, tight muscles are just asking for injury. While muscle maintenance is your responsibility, we love you enough to continuously remind you…and even add it to your warm-ups.
As coaches our goal is to keep you safe and injury free while kicking your butts!
“Courtesy of CrossFit Southbay”
Workout of the Day
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible of:
9 Deadlifts (155/100),
12 Push-ups (games style),
15 Box jumps (24″/20″)