Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Congratulations Erin H., for completing our Elements Workshop curriculum!

Finish on your feet. One of the more ambiguous habits in CrossFit is crashing to the floor post-workout. This is not an indictment on those prone to post-workout prostration, because we have all collapsed to the ground at some time or another. Rather, the concern lies in the potential for this practice to be confused with effort and intensity. After all, if you do not end up flat on your back, you must not have worked hard enough, right? Wrong.

Each workout, day after day, poses new and different stimuli under new and different conditions. They constantly challenge the body and mind in unfamiliar ways. In addition to having discriminative aims, workouts are rarely, if ever, completed in a predictable sequence or one identical to the last time you saw them. Further, warm-ups are always unique; rest and nutrition vary from day-to-day; environmental conditions like temperature and humidity fluctuate. Even the coaches’ demeanor can change and influence performance. This means that as CrossFit-ters, our daily tasks are hard enough, without creating the expectation that when we are finished, the proper “recovery” position should resemble a supine version of DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. It is a question of body language—non-verbal communication, if you will, between you and the coach, other athletes and most importantly, yourself.

In workouts (and in life), the importance of good body language cannot be underestimated. No matter the phase—pre-workout, mid-workout and post-workout—you have heard us say, “fix your body language,” “don’t shake your head,” “open your eyes,” “stay close to/keep your eyes on the bar,” “on your feet,” and a host of other directives. This is because posture and expression are directly linked to performance and execution. Never mind what you think you can or cannot do. If you do not at least look like you can do something, you probably will not.

Whether the mind and body are right before the workout begins is beside the point, and is sometimes arbitrary. At the very least, we should begin with good body language and finish on our feet to signal that we will not be (easily) beaten. We improve and conquer fear this way.

Finish on your feet, consider what you just accomplished and be ready to cheer those behind you.

Rest today.



  1. tbferg | October 3, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    This post resonates with me, because I know that I battle negative body language. Each of the three coaches has yelled at me at least once “Don’t shake your head no!” I do it all the time, usually without realizing it. Before CrossFit, I never realized that the head shake was my way of saying to myself “You can’t do this, it’s too hard, just quit.” I never realized that one little head movement was my way of giving myself permission to give up. I’m working on re-training myself to do the head nod, instead of the shake, and sometimes even tell myself “You can do this, just finish it” or “Come on, Tamra.” That one little change has affected the quality of my workouts. Maybe not so much that anyone else notices, but it’s certainly made a difference in how I approach, and handle, the workouts. So, yeah, John- body language matters. But sometimes I just have to go prostrate at the end of a workout.

    • tbferg | October 3, 2009 at 10:27 pm

      I didn’t mean that last line to be snarky- I just meant that some workouts exhaust me to a point of non-verticality.

  2. tubameat | October 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    yet another parallel between being a crossfitter and being a musician. some of my students have body language habits that tell me or the audience that they are nervous, tired, uncomfortable and have low confidence. sure , we very well may be tired, uncomfortable and nervous (i know i am and i have been performing for more than 20 years) but you should never let your audience know it. pretend that you are in your element and at ease, and your body will begin to believe that you really are. even if you are dying on the inside, you have to grin and bear it.


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