I have decided to write about this topic because it is a message that I need to hear, probably more than anyone in the gym. CrossFit has all kinds of catch phrases such as, “the unknown and unknowable” or “we fail at the edge of our own experiences.” The idea being that we want to try as many movements and activities as possible in order to expand our repertoire of capabilities in life.
This inclusivity leads us to try many awkward and unknown movements inside the walls of our gym. I am here to tell you that these things shouldn’t be avoided, but they should be attacked with just as much attention to detail as a 1 RM snatch.
The reason for this is that these are the unturned leaves. These are the movements that can tell us so much about our individual needs and weaknesses. This is exactly why we do movement screens during on-ramp in the first place. For example, when you attempt an overhead squat for the first time, we see a ton of our individual faults start to present themselves. This could come in the form of a lack of mobility, a lack of stability, a lack of motor control, … and the list goes on.
As we start to develop the skill of overhead squatting, we acquire the ability to add load or more dynamic movement to that pattern. In my case, I have developed the ability to catch a pretty significant amount of weight overhead while completing a snatch. However, when you take the stability of a full barbell away and ask me to complete the same overhead squat with a dumbbell, my world falls apart. A guy with a 300# snatch suddenly can’t overhead squat 45#.
For a long time, this meant me avoiding the DB overhead squat at all costs. Why should I if I can already snatch so well? This was a major mistake because I missed out on the opportunity to learn WHY I couldn’t complete the movement. Was is tight lats? Poor hip rotation? Lack of ankle dorsiflexion? Maybe all of the above? Once I began to challenge more simple movements that demanded the same joint interactions as the DB Overhead Squat, the issues became more and more glaring. These discoveries allowed me to complete more specific mobility work, slightly change my exercise selections, and slowly but surely gain proficiency in the movement.
We all need to continue to explore the corners and change the question from why should I? to Why can’t I? In the end, this means healthier and more proficient movers with a much vaster repertoire of capabilities to attack life.
– Coach Logan