It’s what’s written on the dry erase board at the front of the box. I have coaches coming up to me during every single exercise, some provoke more commentary than others, but there’s always a critique. I’d be lying if I said I don’t get frustrated every single time I’m working out there. Often my response to the commentary is something along the lines of “… but I feel like I’m doing it right!” or something equally whiny because it feels like I just don’t understand. And on those whiniest days, I look at that board and wonder if I’m being coachable enough. I’ve been on the other end — there’s nothing worse than trying to better somebody who’s in your class and doesn’t actually listen to what you’re trying to tell them.
At the conclusion of Sunday’s class one of the coaches, Jon, told me how much he likes me. But why? I asked. I mean in all honesty, I feel like I’m constantly being corrected, not understanding, and somethings just aren’t getting better. “You’re coachable,” he says, “You listen, you think, and you try what we’re telling you. You’re not concerned with getting there as fast as you can” Oh, well, thank you.
Some people get down on CrossFit automatically by taking the side that it only causes injury. It doesn’t. If you’re not doing exercises properly, you’re working on doing it as fast as possible, and you don’t have the base knowledge of the exercise without weight? Well yeah, you’re going to get injured, but that’s not limited to CrossFit. I’m not here to get injured, I’m here to be better. And yes, there’s plenty of places where fast, frequent, heavy, without concentrating on form first is the norm, but not every box is trying to be a CrossFit competition. Not at all. As much as it sucks to sometimes be the last to finish or using a bar without plates, I’m happy to do each rep the right way before advancing. I know my body and I trust my coaches to do their jobs and recognize my weak points, but also when I can safely do more.
Last month’s suckfest was all about squatting and this month, I’m still working on perfecting it. I squat without my shoes in every class, despite purchasing zero drop sneakers. I’ve gotten better at front squats, I’m adding weight slowly, and my ankle mobility is increasing with the more practice I get. Back squats are still a bit panic inducing for the coaches and requires more practice on my end.
This month’s suckfest, in addition to my squats, is the clean. There is so much to think about that putting it together is completely not fluid for me. Separately, I’ve gotten good at driving my hips forward to let the bar float on its own off my body. My starting position for hang cleans is pretty solid now, too. The finishing position with the bar on my shoulders, wrists bent and hands barely on the bar? That’s not too shabby. Putting everything together from start to finish is another story. I’m not using the momentum of my hips enough (which is something that translates to kettlebell swings for me, too) and my upper body is carrying the weight. I’m improving from class to class, or so they tell me, but it’s definitely the focus this month.
It’s fitting that my hips are causing a little struggle for me. They were a component of the myriad problems when I stopped running so it’s a little reminder as I pick back up that I can’t lose focus on my weak points. A strong, balanced body is going to equate to many PRs yet to come.