It didn't take long - in hindsight, to learn the basic fundamental movements of CrossFit, but once in awhile we have to throw out the cues that make athlete's react, and react they did. . .
Yesterday was a plethora of movements, from the row (which needs no introduction), to the brief respite of the Samson Stretch - followed by the Pigeon Stretch (or Pigeon Pose, whichever you prefer). An indeterminate amount of time was then spent in the bottom position - you guessed it, squat hold. Everyone's favorite, which then brought on this evening's inspiration.
After the squat hold, we did Overhead Squats - practicing with a PVC pipe first. The Overhead Squat is really about being focused - on the task at hand. One slip, and the bar goes forwards or backwards, or in the case of not locked out arms or shoulders in your ears, it comes banging down on your noggin'. I am not an expert when it comes to this movement, but there are cues that I have used that provide the athlete with a lot of direction on their movements.
With a PVC pipe we have the ability to practice the movements that we will be doing with heavy weight, therefore, it is always good to practice as if you were working with your individual PR - and then some. The bar goes up overhead, you are trying to press the bar up as high as possible, really driving that weight up overhead, driving the shoulders into the ears (shrug up), keeping the midline nice and tight and keeping the bar over your shoulders.
Now as we squat, we have to reach back with our hips, pushing our butt out and squatting just like the air squat.
After the OHS (Overhead Squat) with the PVC, we went directly to our strength bias for the evening, guess what? It was the OHS. And the movements that I saw last night looked incredible. The other Coach and I were watching those movements and I could see that everyone was really doing their best to reenact the PVC pipe, and for many, it worked wonderfully.
But cue you means that a cue that may work for you, may not work for someone else, and vice versa. Therefore, when you do hear a Coach say that something looked, "Awesome! Incredible! Outstanding! or Exceptional" do your best to quickly review what was going through your head. The worst thing I can think of is that you were over-thinking something when you were doing it. These movements aren't simple and we always try to piece everything together. But when those praises come from a Coach, either one of two things happened, sheer luck or something clicked. I like to think that something clicked. You don't forget when you get in a groove. When the sweet spot of a movement opens your mind like heaven shining down from above. . .
We can hear the "AH-HA!" That quickly escapes your lips as you drive back up after the bottom of the squat and come back up top.
A person came in this evening to try out CrossFit, I didn't think for two seconds that they couldn't perform the movement after doing an air squat, looked great. With a couple of cues, they were already working on the bar. The same thing went for one of our athlete's tonight who was doing the movement for the first time.
So back to cue you. Cues help us remember the movements as we perform them. They keep us in check and those are the things we need as athlete's. This isn't just about squats, it pertains to all our movements - therefore, follow the cues, they will lead you to a better place.
I would like to finish this post with a line from CrossFit 204 (wish I knew who the author is) about the Overhead Squat:
"The overhead squat isn’t forgiving. It’s about tough love, and it punishes every fault ruthlessly, reminding you of exactly what your body should be doing every time you squat. It’s like a teacher who demands the best of you and ends up teaching you more than anyone else."