I overheard a snatch of conversation recently about Crossfit. Rather, about the speaker’s idea of Crossfit, which boiled down to “I don’t want to be yelled at.”

Now, I cannot say that I have not been yelled at during Crossfit, in a technical sense. But I don’t think that my experience of being yelled at is the same thing that these people were referencing. My particular experience has been that the Crossfit coaches want you to have good form, and they want you to complete the workout as best as you can. Therefore, they tell you how to improve your form, and they encourage you.

Now, during the WOD (workout of the day), loud music is played. Very loud. It’s nice. I don’t feel self-conscious about giving out barbaric yawps or swearing while music is blasting. Also, the beat can help keep your body moving. But the volume necessitates that the coaches raise their voices in order to be heard. Therefore, they yell.

But they don’t call names, they don’t belittle, and they do offer constructive comments, albeit at high volume.

One of the comments that I have frequently received at Crossfit is not to let my knees bend inward during squat motions. For several months, I only worked on not letting my knees bend inward while I was actually squatting. It was then pointed out that I do the same thing when I dip my knees for a power lift.

That was my wake up call.

I realized that the tendency of my knees to bend inward when bending, rather than outward, is a systemic issue. I have done it for as long as I can remember. If there’s one thing I remember my dad saying to me as frequently as “stand up straight” it has to be “don’t lock out your knees.” The posture that I habitually stand in is one that weakly allows the knees to sag in. And I do it all the time – while I’m walking and running as well as standing. In order to stop receiving those comments during squats, I had to focus on the position of my knees when I’m not squatting.

After seven days of focusing on that, my squat position has improved. It is supposed to take 21 days to form a habit, and having that high volume encouragement at day 7 helps me to keep my focus on standing strong.

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