“When are we gonna do more ______…………” This is a pretty common question I get asked by athletes at the gym. Its usually followed up with a explanation of how a certain movement is lacking because they feel we haven’t worked that exercise. Its true, we may have not worked that exercise in a few weeks. But, we have worked the movement. Crossfit is a GPP program, general physical preparedness. Preparedness for what you might ask, the answer is life. Prepared to execute movement in reaction to whatever life (or sport) throws at us. Here’s the thing, there is only so many movements that our bodies can make. It can be movement to transport our bodies from one place to the next such as running, walking, climbing, or swimming. We can use our lower body to push or pull either dominating in knee flexion (squat) or hip flexion (deadlift). We can use our upper bodies to push or pull either vertically (press, pullup) or we can push pull horizontally (pushup, row). We can use our torso to bend, twist, and rotate. And that’s about it. But there are a endless amounts of combinations we can perform those movements in, and multiple variations. Crossfit likes to explain it as there meaningful and measurable definition of FITNESS, increased work capacity across broad times and modal domains. In essence, everything is everything.
Everybody at Basin CrossFit loves to snatch. I personally love this move as well. In my opinion its one of the movements that can be used to execute all 10 of the general physical skills defined in crossfit. The purpose of this movement is to move a load from the floor to overhead in one quick uninterrupted movement using hip drive and stabilizing that load overhead with the arms. So when we work a clean and jerk it is essentially the same movement with the same purpose, we just change the grip position and use the hips first to drive the load up to the shoulders and then a second dip drive with the hips to move the load into the stabilized overhead position. We can work this movement in many ways to make it faster, stronger, and the ability to repeat this movement over extended amounts of time. What are some more obvious ways we use this movement? Of course we can change the implements. Kettlebells, dumbells, atlas stones, medicine balls, small children, boxes of old crap in the garage, and heaving that 5 gallon water bottle up on the cooler everyday are all variations of the snatch or clean and jerk. And while they all have common movement and purpose, they all use slightly different muscles and positioning to get the job done. Which stimulates more strength and awareness for the movement it self. Everything is everything and the more you switch the modality of the movement the more your prepared for using that movement in its functionality of life. We are not snatching to be the strongest snatcher, we are snatching to be the strongest, fastest, and most efficient. It may be cliche’, but the ol’ skool crossfit analogy story of a firefighter that was rushing into a building that was on fire is perfect. The firefighter didn’t run in to find a bunch a perfectly balanced elieko Olympic bars he had to save and he didn’t know if it was multiple small children or animals he would have to hoist over the shoulder and rush to safety (50lb kettlebells or med-balls) or if it was just one large man or women that would require a max effort to pick up and carry. In life were better to be prepared through GPP.
But back to the everything is everything, what are other ways we use the same movement without trying to move a load from the ground to overhead? Lets take a look at the Muscle up. Its a hip driven movement that hoists a load, this time your body weight, up and over a object into a upperbody stabilizing position (dip). Sure there some different things happening such ground-force production vs open chain movement, proximal vs. distal hand positioning, and bodyweight vs external resistance. But, again the movement is the same or extremely similar. We know there’s a art form to programming in crossfit and its the “everything is everything” mentality that makes you realize why such a low rep workout such as “Amanda” that uses full snatches at a light to moderate load and muscle ups can leave you completely drained and lying on the floor in about 5-8 minutes. ITS THE SAME MOVEMENT. Lets talk about sled pushes. dominate hip and knee drive. The obvious relation is to sprinting or running, just adds a external resistance or load. But what about that hip drive and the force that your putting into the ground? Its the same hip, knee, and ankle flexion you use for the snatch or clean and jerk. Again, a couple changes such as a unilateral component and upper body positioning but the movement is the same. Make sure you have your elbows locked out while pushing the sled and you just enhanced you lockout and stability strength in the upper body as well. Not to sound to repetitive here but that’s what it is, repetitions of movement. When you step outside the present and look and the grand scheme of your training you begin to realize how putting effort into each exercise each day and see how its just a balance of these movements over and over. This also helps you see patterns of strength and weaknesses in your training. Lack of a sound hip function may be obvious in your olympic lifting because a coach or training partner can see it or you see yourself in video. And this results in less strength or power, very measurable. But it also may be why you don’t excel in other movements that are not as obvious. Such as the kipping hand stand push up. Yes its dominantly a upper body vertical pushing exercise but a solid hip drive will help significantly in pressing the body up and then the obvious component of the lock out stabilizing overhead position that we worked repetitively through clean & jerks, snatches, sled pushes, kettlebell swings, handstand walking, turkish get-ups, etc………Everything is everything.
So in regards to the opening question, “when are we going to _____”. Try filling in the blank with a movement instead of a exercise and you will understand that there is many opportunities for you to improve that moment through our “Workout of The day”. This type of thinking and a realization of goals and weaknesses will help you use the GPP programing of crossift to your individual benefit. See which exercises and what components of that exercise should be your focus for the day and get the stimulus you need while working along side your training partners that have completely different skill set and list of goals and weaknesses.