Importance of learning the basics in CrossFit

When we look at our favourite athletes, and all the others performing high reps and lifting heavy, we are tempted to go fast to get to their level, skipping the vital steps that lead to a strong and a healthy CrossFit. Some athletes, especially beginners, are driven by their passion and enthusiasm to progress too quickly. Why is it important to go through each movement even the most basic ones?

Good form at all times

CrossFit requires its athletes to go fast, very fast. The fundamentals exist for a reason, which is to allow the athlete to execute the workouts as quickly as possible with good form. The body will attempt any position and motion the mind orders, even if it is with poor technique. Sometimes, we omit to visualise the end result of learning the basics. In the end, only perfect form will improve our number of reps, max weight and time. We cannot get away with the classic excuse that because we are not weightlifters or gymnasts but Crossfitters, we are allowed to rush through the motions. On the contrary, there’s more for us to learn. The basics are the bricks to our CrossFit house.

A broader range of motions

Let’s imagine doing butterfly pull ups without knowing to do one single strict pull up, or doing a triple under with knowing how to do a single under. This may sound absurd but a lot of the time, because we do not fully understand a movement we tend to bypass the basic requirements it entails, rush and end up plateauing or simply getting injured and not understanding why. Usually the coach highly suggests that prior the attempt of the classical kipping pull up we master 10 strict pull ups. That’s a rule that’s not always followed.

Immediate satisfaction VS massive regrets

Some of us are lucky. Not everyone is going to experience a shoulder impingement, but most of us will. If we examine the kipping pull up process closer, the reason why the coach wants us to master the strict pull ups is to allow us to acquire enough strength in the lats, enough range of motion in our scapulae and shoulder stability to avoid the most common injury in CrossFit. Therefore, yes a kipping pull ups is great to post on Instagram, it seems like an accomplishment in regards to the other athletes and gives a sense of superiority to our ego for a couple of weeks or months. But there’s a 90% chance not going through the basics will lead to massive regrets in the next year(s) when we have to stop, rehab, and go back to strengthen, develop the range of motion and stabilise, do 10 strict pull ups.

One cannot be too good at the basics

Saying that learning the basics properly will avoid injuries would be too simple. Even confirmed athletes go over their basics when they master everything else. Time, repetition, fatigue, inattention, overtraining can lead to lack of technique. Because weightlifting and gymnastic are not an exact science and can vary from one coach to another, we can always learn and improve our CrossFit movements by revising the basics.

Tamara Akcay

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