Why Standards Matter
This post has been a long time coming. Several months ago, I was watching the WODs at the 343 Hero Challenge. I was struck by a couple of people as I watched. During the workouts, I observed Bull, of the Fit Pit, yelling at his athletes to maintain the standards. The same was true of Danny. I watched as these coaches yelled to their athletes about completing the rep at the prescribed standard of movement. They weren’t yelling about going faster, although they did that too. They were encouraging athletes to do what is required and to not cheat the movement, for the sake of the rep and winning.
What I saw were two men more concerned with their athletes’ integrity than they were with taking home the Fire Helmet.
CrossFit has standards, and those standards matter. This is why they matter:
1.Full Range of Motion is the key to strength.
2. It says something about your character. If you are willing to cheat the movement or the rep count, it speaks loudly. We all miss reps because we are tired or short the movement from fatigue, but when a coach corrects you or calls you out on it, you find out what you are made of.
The Open is upon us, and your mettle will be tested. (Yes, that’s how you spell and use that word, in this context.) Your weaknesses, lack of standards and missed reps will be quickly exposed, when you are judged by a peer.
There are athletes who are less patient than me when it comes to hearing the sacred “RX” status thrown around. Those who truly appreciate the sport of CrossFit and understand the amount of work needed to be a top level athlete take the term “as prescribed” very seriously. When you tell your coach your score, and follow it up with “it was RX,” it tells us and everyone that sees it this: you used the prescribed weight AND performed every single rep of every single movement to standard (ex: hips below parallel on every single squat, all of your wall balls hit their intended target, you didn’t substitute power cleans for squat cleans, you didn’t count pushups where your chest doesn’t make contact with the ground, or pull ups at eye-level/not full extension, HSPU’s clearly starting at extension, descending all the way down to make contact with your head to ground, with a lockout showing control with the heels touching the wall, etc.). Sure, you got 225 onto your back in the WOD, but you couldn’t break parallel for the 20 squats- that is not OK. “I RX’d” is a very specific phrase for those who know the basic concepts of discipline and hard work. It’s earned.
An amazing concept that makes CrossFit into the success story you heard that made you try out your first WOD is accountability. When you cheat… or *ahem*… “miscount” your reps, yes you are “cheating yourself,” but worse you betraying those around you. When Cheater is working out next to Mr. Not-Cheating, who is busting his ass to maintain standard and complete all of his reps, and yet Cheater and Mr. Not-Cheating finish at the same time, it creates a negative atmosphere and a false competitiveness.
As coaches, we know your strengths and weaknesses. We know your good and bad habits. We know when something is, likely, not RX or not fully completed. What’s worse is when those around you start to notice, as well.
Want to know what type of athlete you are? Read one of the greatest articles we’ve found on this topic here: http://myathleticlife.com/2011/10/crossfit-cheaters-anonymous/.
Uncomfortable? Know that you have the ability to change. I’ve seen people change and have now become as fast and as strong as they wanted other people to THINK they were. Athletes are a dime a dozen, but athletes with integrity are the ones you see on the podium.
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