Mirror Mirror

A phrase commonly adopted by CrossFit boxes is "no mirrors, no machines, no mercy."  Most people understand why "no machines."  But a lot of people don't get why most CrossFit boxes don't have mirrors.  The short answer often given is CrossFit trains for real life, and there are no mirrors in real life.  But UB not having mirrors is a conscious choice with considered reasoning behind it.

Body Mechanics

Your body mechanics are important in any exercise.  We especially talk a lot about your spine's position during movements.  And when we say "spine," we mean your entire spine - from skull to tailbone.  If you are looking to a mirror to check your form, there is a good chance your craning your neck to see it. This probably means your not in an ideal position for the lift, defeating the purpose for looking.

Be Present

How many times have you, while lifting, had at least 3 cues in your head.  Now, imagine there is a mirror in front of you.  This adds another list of elements to your lifting experience, all of which are considered distractions.  For example, in the Olympic lifts, it is important to focus on a single point ahead of you to establish equilibrium.  Finding one spot to focus on is already difficult to do while people are walking in front of your field of vision.  Now place a mirror in front of you.  There are a thousand more distractions, and holding one focus point will be more difficult because of as you move, the objects' reflections change as your angle of vision changes.

The Mirror Lies

Now imagine again focusing on those cues while the mirror is there.  You will naturally default to correcting based on what you see instead of what you feel.  Instead of attempting to feel complete hip extension, you might change mid-lift based on how it looks instead.  This is wrong for a couple reasons.  First, if you watch a lift from the front view, you are often missing a lot of the intricacies of the movement's mechanics.  This is why the coaches usually watch a lifter from a 3/4 angle or side view.  Second, you could be fixing something that looks visually wrong, but is not the source of the problem.  Usually a list of faults in a movement originate from one essential fault.   You need to learn how a movement feels and develop a strong sense body awareness in order to replicate it.  This will not happen if you rely on your reflection.

Learn from Film

If you really need to see what is going on with a movement whether you are learning or experienced, ask a fellow athlete or a coach to film it.  This gives you the opportunity to focus on the feel, and then check to see if what felt right or wrong was in fact right or wrong, and from the correct angles to view the movement from.  Nobody around?  Put your phone on a stand like this one, or this magnetic one, and do it yourself.  Have other filming recommendations?  Post to comments!

CrossFit Quiz: Which Person are You?

Happy hump day!  For a light-hearted CrossFit read, check out this magazine article from WOD Magazine.

Whilst CrossFit gyms are different to normal gyms, there is one similarity. The gym-goer…

Without a doubt, the gym is a place where you can learn a lot about people. See them at their best or their worst. Regardless you always see people give it their all.

However there are some stereotypes that make you scratch your head, that keep you wondering if maybe you are the odd one out.

Here are our 10 types of people you will find in a CrossFit gym.

CAPTAIN OBLIVIOUS

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Captain Oblivious is that one guy or girl who never really knows what’s going on, and they’re cool with that. This guy always asks “what are we doing” even after the coach has explained it. He usually strikes about 15 minutes into the session with “have we started yet?”

The great thing about Captain Oblivious is his cruisy attitude and friendly sense of humour. Need a spot? That’s cool, this guy will help.

THE CHALK MONSTER

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Going for a run? Better chalk up. We aren’t sure who the chalk monster is, because they are usually covered in chalk. Whether it’s running, burpees or skipping, expect a cloud of dust to follow the monster everywhere.

If you are ever too far away from the chalk bucket and need to chalk-up, give them a high five and not only do you look like you are encouraging them, but you’re also getting enough chalk to last you the whole workout.

THE CROP DUSTER

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You’re in the middle of a set of 20 Kettlebell Swings then BAM! It hits our of nowhere. Is this it? Is this where it ends? Is that protein shake and broccoli you can smell?

The Crop Duster is an elusive type who is long gone by the time anyone catches on, and by that time it’s too late. Standing downwind from the fan may keep you cool during your workout, but it could send the ‘crop duster special’ your way.

GUCCI GEAR

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Sporting all the new gear, from the newest shoes, knee sleeves, a bright belt and flashy clothing. Gucci is the one covered in all the CrossFit brands like every session is a photo shoot.

Gucci may not be the fittest, but they have passion and they live and breathe CrossFit. Need some new shoes? Gucci has a pair you can try on.

THE REP CHEATER

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The rep-cheater somehow started their box jumps after you but finished ahead of you. Boasting some superhuman fast times in their workouts, the rep-cheater is always on top of the whiteboard.

Usually a capable CrossFitter, the competitive side comes out and 1, 2, 3 becomes 5, 10, 15 reps. If you are looking for someone to chase then the rep-cheater has you covered.

THE SCREAMER

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You’re off with the fairies just thinking about what’s for dinner when like a banshee, the screamer let’s one rip! After you pick your heart up from the floor, you look around and see the screamer with a heavy barbell overhead. It’s ok though, she set a new personal best.

Need a pump up in class, the screamer will amp you up and help you smash through a workout.

THE SELFIE QUEEN

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Snapchat or Instagram? It doesn’t matter, the selfie-queen is on both and has already bombarded their friends with their duck pouting, peace sign pictures. Warm up? What’s that? Cool Down and Stretch? Nah… The phone comes out and bam you just got caught picking your wedgie in the background.

If you need someone to film your lifts, the selfie queen probably has her tripod and knows enough about lighting to catch your best angle.

THE SWEATER

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It’s the end of the workout and high fives all-round. When you give the sweater some love you feel like Jessie from ‘Free Willy’ when the Whale jumps over the rocks at the end. Doing a partner workout with the sweater can be testing, especially when there is wall balls and you share the same ball.

The sweater is awesome when… um… I’ll get back to you.

THE TIN MAN

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The tin man doesn’t lack a heart, they have that. However, years of no stretching has caught up and you can hear them moving from the other end of the gym. Bring a can of WD-40 because you may need it for the old tin man.

Need some inspiration from someone who just gives it their all despite their limited mobility and bubble wrap joints? The tin man works around their limits and shows you that anyone can do CrossFit.

MR TOO SEXY

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The coach calls 3..2..1..GO! Next minute the shirt goes flying. Wait! Did they even come in with a shirt?

Mr Too Sexy is the king of aerodynamics and can probably give you advice on the best waxing tips with no ingrowns.

Originally published by CrossFit Border – republished with permission.