Too many attempts and not enough reps
There was a saying that I loved as a student “The Queen thinks the world smells like fresh paint”. Everywhere she goes people clean up their towns and avenues in anticipation of the Queens visit. If Whanganui knew royalty was on its way, litter would be picked up and lawns would be mowed. You know you only have one chance, so you make sure it’s one of your best.
Last year we hosted Richie Patterson at CrossFit Whanganui for two days of Olympic Weightlifting instruction (it was awesome). He tells a very similar story to the Queens visits.
His weightlifting facility, Functional Strength has a stable of some of the most elite weightlifters in Australasia, including Olympians, Commonwealth Games athletes, NZ Record holders and National Champions. His crew are the real deal.
Part of the culture that he has within his gym is that only quality attempts are allowed. If you move the bar poorly, you are reinforcing poor movement and that then becomes your default. Whenever he is around all his lifters move beautifully. Rep number one looks like rep number 60, because they don’t know any other way to move.
The analogy that Richie uses is training a new puppy. When you get a new puppy they don’t know any rules, the middle of your living room looks just as attractive as the grass outside for taking a dump. What you do about it, sets the tone for the rest of that puppies life. Imagine if you saw a steaming pile of dog poo in the middle of you carpet, and then rewarded the puppy with a treat.
That is exactly what is happening when you celebrate a poor movement. You are telling yourself “that was good, do that again”.
The catalyst for today’s blog post came from observations of Handstand Push Up attempts by athletes around the globe. Far too many attempts at a HSPU were made and not enough reps were achieved. Every single attempt taxes your energy and makes a successful rep even harder.
When the pressure is on, your judge is yelling at you, your mates are watching and DMX is blasting over the speakers, how will you move? Will you revert to your default and only attempt reps that you know can be beautiful? Or will you take a dump in the middle of the carpet?
Move beautifully in every single WOD, every single rep. How you move in training becomes your default, and when the pressure is on, that is exactly how you will perform.