Movement – Scaling and Full Range of Motion

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

CrossFit is hard, this we all can attest to that. Not only are the weights heavy but the movements are complex and require strength, mobility, coordination and precision with technique. So this brings me to the quote that I opened this article with…why would you continue to attempt to repeat these movements over and over again in the same manner if you aren’t doing them correctly? No amount of repetition if it is and incorrect or partial movement pattern is going to result in your improving your ability to do the movement correctly. But yet I see this on a daily basis day in and day out in the box.

I am going to go into some examples and offer a better solution than to keep trying and trying with no results.

Ring Dips: We all know these take a huge amount of core strength and balance. So if an a workout you continually hear the coach telling you to “touch your bicep” or “lockout fully at the top” you probably aren’t achieving the same range of motion. So check your ego and grab a band. If you continue to do half ring dips that is all you are every going to be able to do. Find a band that you can barely get 10 in a row on and in your warm up do 3 sets of 10 with FULL range of motion…touching your bicep to the rings and locking out on top, the deeper you go the better the result. Once this is easy, go down a band and work back up to 3 sets of 10 until you work your way off of the band.

Hand Stand Push Ups: On a continual basis I see people with their feet on a box doing head bobs, or stacking up ab mats until they are barely bending their arms on each rep….this is not going to get you anywhere. Chuck the ab mats aside. Go back to the basics. Do them with your hands and feet on the ground pushing up and back until you can do an entire workout where you touch your forehead on the ground. Then move your feet/knees up to a box and do them until you can maintain a vertical inverted torso touching your head to the box each time. From there we can learn the kipping motion on the wall as you now have the strength to achieve full range of motion.

Pull Ups: If you are doing kipping pull ups but your chin rarely gets above the bar we need to step back and develop the strength to achieve this. No amount of continual kipping is going to help you develop the strength, that is why in the warm ups we do strict pull ups to develop strength. Grab a band for some resistance and work on strict pull ups just like with the ring dips above.

Cleans and Snatches: These are two of the most complicated, technique filled lifts out there. IF YOU CAN’T DO IT RIGHT WITH A PVC PIPE THE PROBLEMS ARE ONLY GOING TO MULTIPLY WHEN YOU ADD WEIGHT. Are we all going to be experts at these lifts? No, Olympic weighlifters concentrate on these movements day in and day out. That doesn’t mean we won’t be proficient at them though through practice. Once again, you have to ditch your ego and step down in weight until you have the technique down. Do you pull early with your arms, do you jerk the weight up off the floor, do you reverse curl the bar to your shoulders, do you not have fast elbows, do you not have the mobility to keep your elbows up in the bottom of the catch, can you not hold an overhead squat with your weight on your heels and arms externally rotated???….all of these things will hinder your ability to complete these lifts correctly. The answer is not to put more weight on and hope that the issues will correct themselves. Spend time on mobility, go through the burgener warm up multiple times with a PVC and then a bar. Break the movement apart to each small piece until it flows well and you are doing it correctly. Go through the various drills we have for the movements to help teach your muscles what you want them to do.

Rx’d or “prescribed” WODs: There is a reason we don’t generally post a Rx’d weight on our workout of the day. Everyone is different and so what is recommended for one person may not be for the next. I want you to concentrate on what is right for you as an individual. If you have goals set to complete benchmark workouts Rx’d that is great but we need to work up to it in a smart manner rather than loading you with a ton of weight before you have the form down t move that weight correctly. Everyone in the box has different goals and so we have many different versions of how we scale individuals. Remember – “form, consistency then weight.”


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