The Hardest Move To Make

What’s the hardest movement in fitness?
Taking a step backward.
We’re not talking about ‘Griff‘ here (though that was hard, too.) We’re talking about a ‘form bias’: backing off the weights to correct problems with your technique.
What do the best lifters with the highest lifts across all strength sports have in common? It’s not their program. It’s not a ‘mass phase.’ It’s not the Freak Gene. It’s great technique.
In the coming months, our coaches will make another two-day pilgrimage to work on their snatching. We get expert coaching on our technique so that we can bring it home and help you more. Invariably, the heaviest weight we’ll lift all weekend is 65lbs: just enough to practice our technique in every position. 65lbs makes you better: 225lbs does not.
A popular notion in CrossFit right now is that the ‘strength base’ floats all boats. This is ONLY true if your technique is solid in EVERY lift. Take it from someone who deadlifted 520 before CrossFit, but still cleans less than half that: strength is cool, but specific. A big deadlift doesn’t give you barbell omnipotence.
Want a bigger snatch? Try the ‘slingshot program’: take a step back, and get really good with a weight that’s 50% of your max. Get it perfect 10 times out of 10. Resist the temptation to say, “That last one was good. I’ll add weight.” When you accomplish this, tell me how. Spoiler: this will take weeks, not minutes, and requires a coach.
Record yourself. The mind’s-eye-view is unreliable: in your brain, your clean is always perfect and your hair is always just-so. Our coaches use an app called ‘Coach’s Eye’ during one-on-one sessions now, and it’s extremely helpful.
Fix your grip. Start with the small stuff: make your stance the same every time. Do overhead squats perfectly without the need to change your footing.
Learn from light weights. Practice being successful. Failure teaches you a lot, but only if you understand the lesson. Parachuting into France and attempting to order a cheeseburger doesn’t teach you how to speak French. You must also understand the correction: “pull the bar apart” has no meaning unless you understand that we’re telling you to lock up your grip, elbows, shoulders and scapulae. Win the gold medal in consistency.
After nine months of travel for CrossFit HQ, watching and training with some of the best lifters on the planet, I’ve never been more convinced: the largest limiting factor in fitness isn’t strength. It’s the backward step, and your willingness to take one.