Calm Aggression

CF West trainer Sam demos the wrong kind of tension.

CF West trainer Sam demos the wrong kind of tension.


Many of the lifts in CrossFit are hard.  The weight is often quite heavy and the reps come hard and fast.  So, let’s not make it any more difficult for ourselves.  At CF West, we talk about tension a lot.  Before a deadlift, for example, we want to create as much tension in the body as possible.  More tension means more muscular contraction which means more muscle recruitment to help you with the lift.  But, one place we do not want tension is our face.

Grimacing and contorting your face excessively is just a waste of energy.  No matter how scrunched up and mean you look, it’s not helping any.  I like to use the term ‘calm aggression’ to describe the facial attitude you should have when training.  Absolutely you should be aggressive, but you shouldn’t look like you  have some sort of colon blockage. Look at many top lifters.  They almost look bored or sleepy during the lift (click to review the Pisarenko clip from several weeks ago).

Breath.  Yeah, it is important.  Inhale, exhale, and hold it when you need maximum support and tension.  Each breath action has its place, and a good CrossFitter knows when to hold em, when to fold em, when to walk away and when to run…er, when to do each.  You can’t control your breathing when grimacing like a stuck pig.

So relax the face, calm the mind, control the breath.  Be aggressive.


The Dirty Thirties

15 pullups

30 wallball

30 kb swings 53/35#

30 thrusters 85/60#

30 burpees

30 slam ball

30 box jumps

15 pullups

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