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Coach's Blog

Kalos Sthenos

By Rob | In Coach's Blog | on September 4, 2012

The greek have a phrase that I like, it is “kalos sthenos” which means beautiful strength.  Humans have incredible ability to move beautifully, one just has to watch Olympic gymnast, elite level swimmers, elite runners, Olympic weight lifters, and ballerinas to see it in action.  We all have the potential to move beautifully if we just take the time and effort to make our movement precise and beautiful.

Perfect Practice

We are coaches who coach movement. Ideally everybody would move perfectly with full range of motion.  Coach Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, calls this Virtuosity. This is the concept of doing the common uncommonly good. With the competitive aspect of CrossFit and the race against the clock sadly this goes out the window either by going to too heavy or trying to go too fast.

As I view CrossFit and CrossFit West Houston and the things we do here, I see it as chasing virtuosity.  Our goals should be to perform each movement and WOD as closely to perfect as we can make it. That comes with a contract between us as trainers and you as athletes. We will coach you and in return you will be coached.

View the workouts as practice. During the practices perfect form not attempt to keep loading up weight. Form will break and once it does it should stop. Otherwise what happens is many reps of crappy form breeds crappy form.

View these two versions of Fran found on You Tube. First is Rich Froning Jr at the 2012 CF Games:

Note that his movement is smooth and deliberate.  He is balanced not fast and not slow.  A true display of Virtuosity!

Obviously,  this is his first Fran, his movement is less than ideal. There is not great range of motion  with his hip crease barely getting below the knees on the first several reps each round and he does not fully lock out his elbows.   While this was a fast Fran time as in under 5:00, I would not call it ideal as there were many reps that are in question. This is all despite the gold moment at around minute 3:00, trust me it is worth it..lol.

Clearly Rich Froning Jr is the fittest man in the world. Remember that his Fran took place on the final workout of the final day of the fourth day of competition. Pretty impressive!

Which looks better to you? I think it will only take a few moments.

The point is that is the virtuosity that we should all seek.

How do we get there?

First and foremost we should work on achieving our best mobility. Being mobile allows us to hit the best positions for start and finish. Not only will our movement be better it will get stronger and smoother, and lessen the chance for injury.  Perhaps you should sign up for the Whole Life Challenge in order to have 56 days of mobility. How much will your movement improve from 10 minutes per day?

Second focus on quality of movement; don’t get caught up in competition madn/ess. Freddy Camacho at  CrossFit One World had two recent posts  that were right on the money from 8/27/12   Beware of Competition Madness and 8/15/12  Why Do It Right When I Can Do It Wrong? (sadly could not get a direct link to the articles.)

Be deliberate and go be the Special Operators creed “slow is smooth, smooth is fast”.  Remember the progression is mechanics, consistency then intensity.

Be smart.  If it doesn’t feel right it most likely isn’t. The idea is to do it right. Doing it wrong leads to compensation issues, which leads to injury.

Practice Kalos Sthenos and good things will come.  Your body will hurt less. Your strength and endurance will improve. You will get faster because you have become smoother.  Remember practice perfect.

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