Fixing Your Movement
By Chase Devine
Starting about 4 years ago now I discovered CrossFit. I would spend an immense amount of time analyzing the Crossfit.com workouts and the athletes doing them, watching their every move. I would watch videos of them doing workouts at the Games and at their gym. The biggest question I always asked myself was, “what is the difference between the top 10 and bottom 10 athletes at the Games?” It is obvious that they are all extremely fit, being in the top 1 percent of all athletes in the sport; that being said, the way I could always differentiate the best from the sea of extremely fit people was by analyzing their movement. The athlete who moved the best was usually in the top 10. The athletes in the bottom 10, though they still moved very well, were not as polished as those in the top 10. If you take it a step further and compare these athletes to the person coming to the gym for one hour a day, you can see a huge difference in quality of movement.
The reason those athletes move so well is not necessarily because they were born to be more athletic, but because they pay attention to how they move both inside and outside of the gym. They have already achieved speed and strength, so they need to focus on the quality of their reps to continue competing with the best in the sport. To put it simply: the better you move, the more efficiently you can move and the faster you will become. The person who can spend less energy in a movement, take a squat for example, will be better and faster at that movement. They will use the correct muscles in proper balance while performing that squat. The person who is not moving as well will expend more energy because they will be using incorrect muscles to execute the same squat. This overloads those muscles, causing them to over-work and driving imbalances. During a workout this leads to local muscle fatigue and that uncomfortable “swollen” feeling. From there, your heart rate will elevate higher than it should, causing your breathing pattern to be out of whack. We have all been there in a workout before, so how do we fix this?
Aside from paying attention to your movement quality while training, there are many simple things that you can do to help you move more efficiently. Maintaining your body is critical: performing 5-15 minutes a day of standard smashing with a lacrosse ball and stretching can make a huge impact on your recovery and mobility. Secondly, hydrate! Our body needs sufficient quantities of water to keep everything moving well. Lastly, make the conscious effort to choose form over weight every time! This can be the hardest one, so hold yourself accountable. If you want to be able to stay active inside and outside of the gym without nagging injuries, pain or stiffness holding you back, start improving your movement now!