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Are You Loading the Bar or the Movement?

By Rob | In Announcements, Coach's Blog | on October 15, 2014

Egos are funny things. We can really trip ourselves up by being a slave to our egos. Having ego isn’t always a bad thing, egos can help us push the envelop which helps us progress. Where it becomes a bad thing is when we don’t manage our egos rather we let our egos manage us. In the competitive world of CrossFit, many let their egos rule their training rather then managing their egos in order to progress. It used to be a saying around CrossFit to leave your ego at the door, but I thing as CrossFit has grown, that has gone by the wayside. Egos cause us to load the bar for appearances rather then progress what we really should be doing is loading the movement.

Two of the biggest criticisms of CrossFit is shabby technique and irresponsibly having every and anybody doing highly technical movements at high speed. While there is valid criticism for this that does not mean it applies to every situation. It is really easy to criticize from the outside without knowing all the facts. There is good and bad in any training system. There are good CrossFit coaches and affiliates that use progression and common sense as much as there are bad CrossFit coaches and affiliates that don’t use progression or common sense. After all you can find a crap load of  CrossFit “fail” compilations all over youtube like the one below which by the way is not WFS, so view with caution. Note that not all of these clips are CrossFitters.

Load the movement before loading the Bar

This is one area where the ego gets in our way. The push to do more whether it is during the WOD or during the Strength portion is what gets us in trouble.  Sometimes the competitive environment, fatigue and poor mobility get the best of us.  In our haste and fatigue, we forget to load the movement or care more about “winning the wod” than taking care of our self first.

So what does it mean to load the movement?

In short, it is getting in the proper anatomical and biomechanical position in order to lift the weight most efficiently. For instance take the deadlift, most would agree that the picture below is not the optimal position.

Bad deadlift

In the picture above the movement is definitely not loaded. The spine is loaded in this picture, most likely there is not enough mobility in the hamstrings for this person to get into a proper position without knowing anything about the person. Ideally the individual would be weighted in the heels and the hips would be hinged in a position for the butt and the glutes to initiate the load and movement. If this person were attempt to lift this load in the current position, the load would be lifted with the back totally with the spine in a very compromised position. Now if you were to add in the pressure of the clock and moving quickly or at intensity, now you have a recipe for disaster, potential injury that could be severe.

Below is a picture with a solid loading position:


Notice how the hips are back. The butt and hamstrings are now “loaded”, the shoulder blades are over the bar and retracted with the weight in the heels. The spine is neutral.  This is a properly loaded movement that will allow for the proper force production and efficiency to move this load.

Take the time to consciously load the movement.  Who cares about the seconds lost on your time? A few seconds is much more preferable than lost training time. Listen to your coaches cue as they help you get into a loaded movement position!



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