Control, Pt. 2

I briefly touched on the topic of control back in December. Despite my efforts, some of you still insist on working out like the goddamn Techno Viking. Note: That's not a good thing.

Some CrossFit trainers will argue the "20% slop rule" i.e. technique can break down about 20% so long as the intensity of the movement stays high. A direct quote from famed CF instructor, Pat Sherwood: "Technique only has to be good enough to increase the intensity. The goal is never perfect form. Remember, it's the speed of the set that is the goal." Now, Pat was the head coach at my Level 1 certification back in 2008 and he's a really nice and funny-ass dude, but I whole-heartedly disagree with this concept. Bryan Krahn from T-Nation offered this counter-point:

"To my mind, lifting is a learned endeavor. You practice perfect form over and over until it becomes second nature. That's especially true for Olympic lifting. How can you get good at an exercise if you force yourself to keep a set going past the point of technical breakdown? Aren't you just creating poor muscle-recruitment patterns that compete with the correct patterns?"

Speed is important; safety is more important. Intensity enhances progress, but without control, intensity is useless. The bottom line: 20% slop is a bullshit excuse to convince one's self that it's okay to move around like an idiot.

If you watch anyone who is truly elite in his or her chosen endeavor, there is one thing you will always notice: their movement is flawless.

Are you seeing a pattern here? It's called perfection. There is no wasted effort in any of their movements. Everything is fluid and smooth and relaxed and perfect. Very few people ever get to that level, but we should all always be striving for it. Everyday.


  1. Q: here is another good argument for why training for excellent form matters. To inartfully paraphrase, it's because under pressure we will be maybe 50% good as when we are practicing under ideal conditions. So you want to train to be as good as fucking possible. Also: cameo appearance by Cali H in this Q&A: http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFitJournal_CFFootball_BulletInAGun_PRE.mov

  2. How the heck did you choose Federer over Agassi?!?! Lame.

  3. This is a great post. And I miss training with you straight up on the real.

  4. Spencer, that's good stuff there... right until Cali chimes in and starts yapping.

    Randi, Agassi was my favorite as a kid, but Federer is quite simply the greatest tennis player of all time.

    Thanks, Cassie. We miss you as well. So nice of you to come back and visit so often...