One of the best things you can do to improve your performance is focus on the quality of your movement. It is unfortunately not something we see occurring too frequently in the group class setting. Most likely the reason for this is also the reason group classes are effective… competition. Now I’m all for some friendly competition as it will definitely make you push harder than if you were to do a workout alone. But movement quality deteriorates rapidly when you are only concerned about doing a workout Rx or beating the person next to you.
You may have heard me say this to you or to someone else, but if you look at the top athletes of any sport, CrossFit, weightlifting, gymnastics, rowing, running, pick your poison, what you will notice is that they move in an efficient and ideal or nearly ideal way for their sport EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Whether at the beginning of a race/meet/WOD, in the thick of it, or at the very end, they move as efficiently as possible. They do this because they understand that efficiency is the best way for them to conserve energy or perform their lifts or finish the WOD as fast as possible. (It’s also the best way to prevent injury.) They have spent their entire athletic career trying to perfect their movement, which is also what got them to be the best in their chosen sport.
With that being said, if your goal is to improve your athletic potential, doesn’t it make sense to focus on your movement quality? Does that mean that you might not be the first one done with the WOD because you slowed yourself down as you noticed your technique beginning to fall apart? Maybe. Maybe not. It may slow you down initially, but as you reinforce good movement patterns by not allowing bad movement patterns, your body will automatically be more likely to perform in more ideal positions every time you do that movement. Eventually, this will occur without much thought and will become your new “norm.” And remember when I said that efficiency is the best way to conserve energy? Well now that you are moving more efficiently, doesn’t it make sense that eventually you will begin to move faster during a WOD because now you are moving more efficiently? It sure does to me.
So I highly encourage you to take a step back and ask yourself 2 things: Why do I need to be the first one to complete this workout? And, how can I improve my movement quality so that I can be more efficient? These two go hand-in-hand and could lead to a better version of you.
If you need more help identifying where you could improve, reach out to your coach for some help. That is what we are here for and obsess about. And if you take one thing away from this, I hope you remember this… the better you move, the better athlete you will become (and less likely you will be to injure yourself).