Virtuosity: Great technical skill (as in practice of a fine art) Webster’s Dictionary
In gymnastics, virtuosity is defined “performing the common uncommonly well.”
Greg Glassman, CEO and founder of CrossFit, Inc., writes “virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive,” in his open letter to CrossFit trainers.
With the CrossFit Games Open rolling around on February 22, I thought I would take a minute to discuss Virtuosity. During the Open you will be judged on how well you are moving, not how fast you are moving. Your mechanics will be nitpicked and you will be “no-repped” for incomplete range of motion (I know its Urban, but it is an accurate definition 😉). I mean, we aren’t going to be all crazy no-repping, but we will instruct you to correct your form. The Open for us average folks is fun, and we will keep it that way, but you can still do it right!
Moving virtuously means returning to the basics. It means doing basic movements extremely well.
During met cons many of us move with the intent to go so fast, which inevitably results in the breakdown of form and short-cutting movements. Ensuring you are moving correctly may add few seconds to your time initially, but as you get used to moving right and well, your speed will return. Speed should never come before movement. Heavy loads never come before moving well and speed.
Next time you’re in the middle of a work out, check yourself and make sure you’re moving with intent to move well. No-rep yourself. Ensure you are meeting what are called “points of performance” in CrossFit training. For example:
Air squat: hips below knees in the bottom, hips fully open at the top (what we see a lot of is shallow depth, and folks bent at the waist at the top). Here’s a hint, if your knees never fully extend, or your bent over like a gorilla, your hips never fully open.
Push-up: chest to floor at bottom, elbows extended at the top. At no point should the thighs rest on the floor during an RX push-up. If your elbows never fully extend at the top, you are not completing the rep.
Pull-up: arms fully extended at bottom, chin OVER the bar. Face to bar, forehead to bar, chin to bar is not an RX pull-up. Practice, practice, practice!
Box jumps: hips fully open at top. If you’re jumping off of the box before you’ve taken 0.25 sec to fully open your hips, you aren’t doing an RX box jump. Fast rebounding is cool, but not if you’re missing 1/2 of the movement to do it.
These are just a few examples, every movement has points of performance, if you have questions regarding the points of performance for any movement, find a trainer and we can help you! Next time the coach is discussing the workout of the day (WOD), listen! Typically they are discussing movement expectations as well as strategy. If you don’t understand what they are wanting, ask for clarification.
The majority of us do CrossFit for the long game. We aren’t going to the Games. We just want to be the best we can be and be fit enough to do anything, anytime. Practicing good movement leads to physical longevity and decreases the risk of injury. Whether you’ve been doing CF for a few weeks or a few years, returning to basics and revisiting good movement is essential. This could mean scaling the weights for a while, practicing skills more frequently, or simply moving with more intention for every workout.
Don’t make me no-rep you! 😂