Don't Short Yourself
Before I begin this blog, I'd like to say this is not referencing any person in our gym or in response to any one individual. In fact, it's more in response to myself. As I've had questions on this topic come up pretty often, I thought it might be nice to answer all of you more clearly together.:)
In class, we have very specific guidelines when it comes to "ROM" or Range Of Motion. And it is not uncommon to hear a coach encourage an athlete to reach that range of motion as was discussed in the brief that day. This can be expressed in various ways such as:
"Get lower in that squat!"
or, "I need a full lockout on those elbows!"
or "Make sure you touch your chest to the floor!" All with an exclamation point because... yelling over music...:)
But regardless of the movement, we are looking to achieve it's fullest possible range of motion. All the way in one direction, and all the way back again. If an athlete is finding themselves shorting that range a coach usually gives a cue to correct it. Now here's the big question: Why? What does it matter? So what if the wall ball doesn't hit "over" the red line? So what if my squat is a little shallow? So what if I didn't stand up my clean? It was basically that same thing. Right? We'll let's do some math.
The human body has an inherent range of motion that is born into us. If you've ever seen a 3 yr old squat, you know what I mean. Each joint has it's "natural range" All bodies are made different for sure but the general theme of the joint stays the same. Those full ranges are where the joint is at it's best. The range that gives it the most utility and function. Limiting that range limits its development. In that, we see the dysfunction of the joint and can lead to injury or loss of utility. So we want to be using it correctly as much as we can for the longevity of the joint. And the health of the athlete.
Another thing to consider is that the goal of Crossfit is to move large loads over long distances, quickly. So, right there we have distance as a major component to the model. As each workout has a work requirement, and work requirements have ROM requirements, so if you aren't doing the range of motion, you, therefore, aren't doing the same work. Here's an example:
Let's say during the course of one rep of a wall ball, the ball travel a total of 7 ft per repetition. That's measured from where the ball is at the bottom of an actual squat to the top where it makes contact at the target area on the wall. Now let's say that you shy your squat by an inch and a half and the ball misses the Target by an inch and a half. Overall, as the reps unfold, there doesn't seem to be too much discrepancy. Not a big deal. But now let's take a workout like Karen that has 150 repetitions of the wall ball. If you shorten your range of motion every rep over the course of 150 repetitions by those 3 inches, then over the course of the workout you will shorten your work range by roughly 37 Feet. Or approximately 5 to 6 repetitions total. To put it another way, let's say you were racing someone. You both started at the same start line but your competitor has a finish line that's 40 ft closer than yours. Do you see how there's a bit of discrepancy there? And just so we're clear, I know 9 times out of 10, it's totally by accident :-). I would be untruthful if I said the every one of my reps was perfect and I never had to put myself in check. But the fight is there. And I know it's there with you too.
Again guys, this is just some food for thought. When you hear a coach tell you to get a little lower or you hear them tell you to get your chest to actually touch the bar, these are the things that can go through a coaches head. As usual, the coaches want to keep you safe, healthy, fit and fair. Keep up the amazing work and we'll see you in class soon!