Lift It Like You Mean It!
By: Marcos Hernandez
Here at CrossFit, we pick things up and put things down. You and your coaches have worked together to make sure you are performing the lifts with proper technique so you can move safely and efficiently. There’s a lot to think about: when to take a breath, where to set your feet, how to organize your body… Plus, to further complicate things, if you ask two different coaches what you could do to make your lifts better, odds are you will receive an answer phrased two different ways.
There’s one thing I’d like you to actively focus on the next time you lift, and it won’t interfere with anything you already do. In fact, you can add this is on any movement and see immediate, positive results.
Speed. Movement speed. To be clear, this isn’t about more reps in less time. It’s about more speed on each individual rep.
CrossFit workouts are known for pushing the limits of athletes muscular endurance. There’s already a lot of time under tension that accumulates over the course of a workout, so why add more by lifting the weight slowly? Focus on controlling the implement you are lifting during the lowering phase until it's time to change directions, then add in speed and force to finish the movement. Here are a few practical examples:
On squats, control your descent (gravity doesn't need your help!) then, once you hit depth, stand up as fast as you can.
On push ups, maintain control on the way down, with your eyes facing the wall ahead of you, then punch the floor with both hands. Once you’ve hit depth all you have to do is get to lockout.
On deadlifts, focus on continual acceleration when pulling the bar, particularly when the weight passes the knee. Take your time on the way back down, focusing on keeping your trunk tight and the bar as close as possible to your legs.
Wall Balls. There’s no requirement for you to drop into the bottom of your squat the absolute second you catch the medicine ball. Hell, some people descend before it’s even been caught! So, in order to be “faster” at wall balls, and I mean faster in the per rep sense, control your descent and explode from the bottom of your squat. When you catch the medicine ball make sure you are under control before you initiate another smooth descent.
If you go too fast on any of these movements you run the risk of losing your position on the way down. Then, you have no stable foundation where you can push off from! Without a good foundation, it’s damn near impossible to move fast or lift heavy.
This is where the title of this comes in: lift it like you mean it. Stand up like you mean it. Lock out like you mean it, pull it like you mean it, and throw like you mean it. So we’re clear, we “mean” fast and aggressive!