Monday, July 24, 2006


Thanks to Brand X Martial Arts for inspiring this article. Brand X is a constant source of great information, and an excellent member of the Crossfit Community.

Often times, we get caught up in the "winning" aspect of Crossfit. We strive to beat our last time, beat each other, or beat some elusive benchmark. This is a wonderful thing. It allows us to maintain intensity and motivation, and it imparts the desire to succeed. Make no mistake--these are valuable qualities inside and outside of the gym.

The problem comes when we sacrifice form in the name of "winning".

A few weeks ago, I was at the Crossfit MetroWest grand opening, mid-way through a team relay race. I was the anchor.

When I got to the box jumps, Neal was there. I jumped and landed on the box, extended, and stepped back down. He said, "Doesn't count. You're not loading to jump--you're just springing up from the calves." I tried to incorporate his point, but it was slowing me down. Why load if I can get up there quicker? Why doesn't he get a bigger box if he wants me to load?

I resumed my springing as I watched Tara bear crawl to the next task.

"Doesn't count."

Neal made me do four or five more box jumps. I may have sworn at him. Loudly. When I got to the kettlebell swings, Tara had a few seconds on me. I picked up the 1.5 pood and started swinging.

"Swing from the heels. Doesn't count."

"Doesn't count."

I was pissed, because now I was losing. As the anchor, I was letting down my entire team. I'd just squandered a huge lead. Damn Neal and his damn bullsh*t.

I was mad at the wrong guy. I should have been mad at me.

Using correct form is essential to athletic progress. You can do half-depth pushups all morning long, and cut your Cindy time by 3:00 doing so. Alternatively, you could push your chest to the deck on every rep, and be 1:30 off your personal record. Obviously, the second scenario will have greater long-term benefit, but your ego will suffer.

Let your ego go. Pursue perfection.

The endless pursuit of perfection is known as virtuosity. The virtuous athlete attempts to bang out the hundredth rep with the same intensity and attention to form he/she paid to the first rep.

Next time you squat to parallel, don't get your chin over the bar, or don't extend your thruster, tell yourself it doesn't count. In the end, you'll fly by the five guys in the room who are beating you with suspect technique.

Sorry I swore at you, Neal. I didn't mean it.

Go faster!

Photo of me minus a tan courtesy of Dave Picardy, Crossfit Topsfield. I think he photoshopped it...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jon,

Don't forget to congratulate the rest of us for having proper form that day! :)
But c'mon, you'd already done a workout at Crossfit Topsfield. Cut yourself some slack. Good points about form, though. Go slower (sometimes) ;)


PS: What's with the new moniker, man?

"By day he's a banker, slaving away at a non-descript desk for an evil corporate empire. But when he takes his off shirt, Jon Gilson becomes GHOST, motivator of the idle, arouser of the obese and oppressor of the meek. Jon Gilson is...Ghost. Now get moving, maggot!"

7/25/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just so you know everyday I make sure I get on your site and see what is going on in Jon's head today! This entry really took me off guard. Your usual in your face... go, go, go.. win, win, win.. attitude was not in this entry! As a matter of fact, it sounded more like something Dave would say. My frustration with pull ups has been pissing me off lately. Getting that pull after the kip is just killing me. Dave keeps saying... "full range of motion". Just keep working it, it will come. It will pay off, trust me. And I keep saying, but its not helping my time! Then I read this and it clicked! You're right, he's right! It doesn't matter what your time is, as long as you do the exercises the way they are meant to be done. Just don't tell Dave I said he's right!


7/26/2006 02:52:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home