Finding Familiarity In the Strange

CFWSC trainer Kyle rack jerks 305# for a big PR. I swear, sometimes I feel like Dr Frankenstein with that guy--talk about creating a monster.

"No mas."

I was listening to a show on NPR this morning about the mathematics of parallel parking.  It was very in depth and mathematical-Pythagoras and what not, but explained pretty well and a complete mathematical moron like me was able to understand it.  The basic premise was that if you can compute your car’s turning radius, wheel base, distance from front wheel to front bumper, and the width of the car in front of the open space, you will be able to parallel park perfectly every time.  Using this formula, one could draw a perfect geometric picture of any parallel parking situation.

Well, I got to the coffee shop for a mocha (yes, I am doing the Paleo Challenge and yes I do have mochas and no I don’t feel bad about it Leah) and I went to parallel park, my head full of angles and vectors and numbers and formulas and it took me a couple embarrassing tries to finally park.  Now, I know that everyone thinks they are good parallel parkers (well, not my wife), but I really am.  My whole life I have driven enormously long, no power steering, 1960s American classics (if you exclude the rust) and I can park those beasts on a dime.  But my mind was so confused by the overload of strange technical info that it kind of short circuited.

The same thing happens in CrossFit, all movement actually.  Too much thought can get in the way of the body performing the action.  This is something that CrossFit coaches wrestle with regularly.  Too much information from the coach can lead to too much mental computation on the part of the athlete, like my recent parallel parking job..  Yet, too little information or corrections can lead to bad habits that are hard to break.  This is especially true with movements and motor patterns that are new and strange.  The snatch or clean, for example.

One thing that I try to do is relate these movements to other movements that might be more familiar to the athlete.  Let me give an example.  CF West is the home to Vero, aka the Veronator, aka Super V.  Already an intimidating CrossFitter, Vero just keeps improving, turning in a 1:42 500m row before PRing with an 8:27 Christine yesterday.  However, Vero has a problem with pushing her hips forward on the catch or landing of a clean or snatch.  This keeps her from landing stably under the loads which she has no problem pulling.  I had talked to her over and over again about dropping the hips back.  Back and down.  But nothing was really getting through and the more she thought about it, the less she was able to pull.

Then it hit me.  Vero is a great beach volleyball player and I recalled that the volleyball ready stance is a variation of the athletic position, as is the catch position of a power clean.  I had her show me the volleyball stance, a stance she has assumed thousands of time in a career that has spanned youth, collegiate, semi-pro, and beach volleyball.  Sure enough, her hips dropped back into a perfect clean catch.  Next we tried it with weight.  Worked great.  More weight.  Looking good.  More weight. Still good.

Finding familiarity in the strange is one of the ways to solve, or even bypass, the problem of too much information and thought.

Please post thoughts to Comments.

There is a 24 hour grace period due to this week’s rainstorms for all those people doing the Paleo Challenge 2.0 who were not able to finish the tests.  Get to the box and get em done.  Last class on Mondays is 6pm.


Press 80%1RM

2 on the minute for 10 minutes.  Focus on bar speed.


AMRAP in 4 Minutes

1 Snatch 135/85#

1 Burpee

2 Snatches

2 Burpees

3 Snatches

3 Burpees

and so on.

Rest 2 Minutes and then repeat for time, starting with your highest round.  For example, if you scored 5 rounds in the 4 minute AMRAP, start at 5 rounds, then do 4, then 3, and so on for time.

Click for a video example of the WOD by our sister affiliate CF Los Gatos.


Tabata Plate Situps 45/25#

Post load, AMRAP score, and time to Comments.