What are your trainers looking for when you are blazing through a workout? Firstly, we are making sure that you are moving safely, that’s priority number one. Secondly, we are looking for full range of motion in all of your movements. Too often, we are consumed with the clock and how to shave seconds off of our workouts.
Let’s take a step back and examine from each trainee’s perspective. Each workout that we do is yours and only yours. You are competing with only yourself. If only it were that simple… At some point in all of your CrossFit careers, you will realize that there is someone who is very close to your own level of fitness and you are constantly chasing that person’s times on our whiteboard. Congratulations, you are now pushing harder and faster than you ever have before. You are getting better at CrossFit and becoming healthier in the process. Maybe you catch that person, maybe your times are consistently better across the board, but how are you doing it?
In order to compare your times against fellow CrossFitters we have in place standards for range of motion. I’m assuming at this point you are all moving safely and efficiently and hey, you’re probably moving faster every day. Now that you’ve got that down, does your head touch the ground every time you do a hand stand push-up (your hair doesn’t count)? Does your chest hit the ground every time you do a standard push-up (no ground humping allowed)? Do you clear your hips on every box jump? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, sorry, your workout is not done as prescribed. Your workout and your posted time are worthless for comparative purposes. You can neither compare your time against other CrossFitters nor can you compare against yourself if you do the same workout at a later date.
Look, like I said earlier, your workout is your own, but it’s not better than anyone else’s if you are cutting reps or range of motion on your movements. I know of more than a few people who will not count missed reps or they will add more reps to their workout if they forget their count. Respect at the gym is not freely handed out, it’s earned through your own hard work. If you want people to respect your times and you want people to look at your times as the gold standard, bump your chest on the ground every single push-up. Don’t shortchange yourself by doing anything less.
Whenever you hear a trainer tell you to get deeper in a squat, to lock out your arms, or open up your hips, you might in your head be saying, “shut the *ahem* up, I am you asshole.” I promise you, we’re saying it for a reason. We see what you are doing right and what you could do better. We demand both quality and intensity from you and neither is good without the other.
To summarize: make your workouts high-quality and intense at the same time. Your workout is your own, but be mindful of the fact that other CrossFitters are watching you and they demand a clean workout if you want an “Rx” next to your name. I’ll leave you with a quote from Dave Powell, “People can tell if you cut [reps] and they’ll see your time as bullshit… and [they’ll] do evil voodoo on you.” I don’t actually know voodoo, but Dave might. Watch out.