Let’s talk about the little things! Has a coach ever approached you during the workout and had you focus on one little part of a movement, instead of the entire movement? Or perhaps you’re doing a power movement from the ground and the coach says that you’re not using your hips… they usually have you go from the hang position and focus on the hip drive. If this has ever happened to you, you have probably said to yourself “I was doing just fine, why are they scaling me back?”
There are a few reasons for this, first and foremost is safety. Not executing a movement properly could be risky, and doing it improperly could lead to injury. One of the biggest reasons a coach may scale your movement, is every movement, whether weightlifting, gymnastics, or cardio has a series of “micromovements” that make up how it is properly executed. Think of it like a math equation: 1+1=2. Flat back + lift with your legs + jump, shrug and catch + elbows high = Power Clean. This is obviously a very simple version of a highly complex movement, but take out any one of those “micromovements” and the lift is going to be more difficult to properly execute.
Ben Bergeron said in an interview the reason people don’t practice the little things is that they’re not sexy. It may not feel sexy, or cool when you’re capable of performing a workout Rx, but the coach has you do something else in the workout. Being able to execute movements the right way is going to be the difference between doing the workout efficiently, or hitting that PR you’ve been aiming for. One of my favorite Ben Bergeron stories was when he had Mat Fraser, the reigning and defending fittest man on earth, who was having trouble with rope climbs, sit on a box for an hour and work on foot clamps. Imagine being the fittest on earth and you’re in a workout where everyone is throwing around heavy weight and you’re on a box… clamping your feet around a rope… for an HOUR, but the next time a workout had rope climbs in it, he destroyed it.
So how do you get better at the little things?
- Ask, listen, and trust your coach. Your coach can see a lot more watching you perform a movement than you can while executing it. If you are struggling with something, ask. If a coach comes over and recommends something new, they saw something that may help you perform better, or more safely. As coaches, we have your best interest in mind.
- Accessory Work, there are plenty of accessory drills to help with every movement. From how to get that first pull-up, to how to lift heavier weight, or even perform better in running workouts. Ask a coach how they can help!
- Pride and Ego, leave it at the door! You might be fit, strong, and athletic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new or practice new things. Try not to get frustrated if you have to scale back so that you can eventually improve.
In conclusion, little things make the biggest difference.