Being with CrossFit Salus, my attention has turned toward making sure I do the “little things” correctly. I’m still getting used to all the movements but even more so, I’m realizing the need to focus on the small details that I hear emphasized repeatedly throughout class. Over the past few weeks, I’ve picked up on 3 skills that seem to make the difference between doing your best or having to settle for less.
Importance of the Hollow Hold (Hollow Body Position)
This fundamental movement focuses on mid-line stabilization and controlling your core. This is essential for many of the movements we do in CrossFit including push-ups, pull-ups and overhead presses.
The hollow-body position allows for trunk stability, which is synonymous with the key CrossFit concept of midline stabilization, and the position can translate into elite skills like freestanding handstands and freestanding handstand push-ups. — CrossFit Journal
Coach Gino’s hollow body drawing when rotated reveals how the skill of mid-line stabilization is needed in multiple planes (Click to view full size)
The Importance of Mobility
Step into any CrossFit gym and you’ll most likely see people laid out on the floor with a foam roller beneath them. Do one WOD with CrossFit Salus and you’ll see why. Mobility and the ability to move your body thru a full range of motion is essential to executing proper form and maximizing your workout. Some people think that regular stretching can get you warmed up for your WOD but according to Dr. Kelly Starrett, there is a big difference:
What is the difference between stretching and mobility?
Well, according to Dr. Kelly Starrett, DPT: Stretching only focuses on lengthening short and tight muscles. Mobilization, on the other hand, is a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems. – Ross Valley CrossFit
Four Major benefits of Mobility as provided by Ross Valley CrossFit
- Decreases your change of injury
- Increases efficiency of your movement
- Increases your performance
- Increases range of motion
The Importance of External Torque and Rotation
This one little detail has had a tremendous effect on my lifts. The reason for this is that externally rotating the necessary joint allows me to apply more force and is typically safer than a loose joint or one that is not externally rotated.
Using external rotation in your shoulders can be done in just about any position you can get your arms into, and definitely should be applied to barbell movements, dips, pushups etc. External rotation of the legs can and should be done while squatting, pulling and receiving the barbell in Olympic lifts, and any variation of those. – CrossFit Cowichan Valley
Applying external rotation for example in my squats has enabled me to get “out of the hole” easier. While it’s difficult to maintain the rotation throughout the entire movement, I understand it’s a a skill that requires continual practice. But hey, that kind of practice WILL pay off.
Tips to Remember when Applying External Rotation/Torque from CrossFit Cowichan Valley
- For upper body: Try to mimic the rotation of tightening or loosening a screw. Left hand would move counterclockwise and the right hand would be clockwise. Try to keep your shoulder blades down and think of your elbows rotating inwards toward your body. If you’re doing a pull-up or overhead lift, imagine that you’re trying to “bend the bar”.
- For lower body: Stand upright and squeeze your glutes and abdominal muscles ( I lovingly call this butt and gut). Then “screw” your legs into the ground with your heels firmly planted. The key here is that your feet should not move out of position or rotate outwards while doing this. Keeping your feet firmly planted while applying pressure in a clockwise (right foot) and counter-clockwise (left foot) direction will create the necessary rotational torque.
While researching this post, I came across a great article in the CrossFit Journal about the importance of fundamentals in building outstanding athletes — take a look! Building Blocks for Bulletproof Athletes