Virtuosity & RX Standards


By Greg Glassman

Unlike risk and originality, virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily recognized by audience as well as coach and athlete. There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques.

What will inevitably doom a physical training program and dilute a coach’s efficacy is a lack of commitment to fundamentals. Rarely now do we see prescribed the short, intense couplets or triplets that epitomize CrossFit programming. Rarely do trainers really nitpick the mechanics of fundamental movements.

I understand how this occurs. It is natural to want to teach people advanced and fancy movements. The urge to quickly move away from the basics and toward advanced movements arises out of the natural desire to entertain your client and impress him with your skills and knowledge. But make no mistake: it is a sucker’s move. Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays advancement and progress, and blunts the client’s rate of return on his efforts. In short, it retards his fitness.

There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the athletes’ efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these skills or just play. CrossFit trainers have the tools to be the best trainers on earth. We want virtuosity!!

“Rx” – meaning workout done as prescribed on weight and skill

The “Rx” is one of the things that most all Crossfitter’s strive for. So being that this is of importance for the competitive spirits out there, there is a high standard to follow. Just because you went “Rx” on a weight does not mean that you get to put “Rx” by your name. So here are some musts for “Rx” movements. Please note that if you are training for competitions that the below standards are a MUST, not an option!

-PUSH UPS chest to the ground with full extension of arms up top
-PULL UPS  chin above the bar with full extension at bottom
-SQUATS below paralell on oly lifts and all other lifts requiring you to squat and full hip extension at top
-KTE’s(knees to elbows)  knees touch elbow, not forearms or armpits
-DIP shoulders below elbows or breaking the 90 degree and full extenstion at top
-MUSCLE UPS- hands start facing out at full extension, arms are locked out at top to finish movement- ultimate goal is do strict MU’s
-HSPU (head stand push up) head touches the ground and arms at full extension at top of push up. Hand stand push ups are with paralette bars with head passing p-bars (requires much more range of motion then head stand push up).
-WALL BALLS ball to 10′ target (yes ladies too)with squat below paralell at bottom
-ALL OVERHEAD LIFTS arms and hips hitting full extenstion with head between arms
-PRESS is a press with NO dip, it is strict
-PUSH PRESS is a press with 1 dip and full extension at the top, if you do a second dip it is considered a push jerk-see below
-PUSH JERK is a press with 2 dips with full extension at top, if you split jerk you must return to full standing extension as well.
-KETTLEBALL SWINGS are to full extension up top with a vertical bell
-BOX JUMPS have a full hip extension at point above box
-SIT UPS W/AB MAT chest is up to extension, to make sure it is legit touch in front of your shoe at top of sit up and behind head when in down position.
-GHD SIT UPS (Glute Hamstring Developer) touching floor at bottom and pad by feet.
-BURPEES Chest touches floor at bottom, hands clap/touch over head, chest up and both feet come off ground.

** As noted above many times FULL EXTENSION ON ALL MOVEMENTS IS IMPORTANT…. this not only makes you STRONGER but more FUNCTIONAL!

So this is by no means a discouragement but just want to make it clear for everybody so they know what they are striving for. I know we all like to compete(in a friendly way)against each other, so we must keep the standards the same in order to compare times/strength correctly. Your first goal should be to BETTER YOURSELF, “TIME” is secondary to form. Who cares if you got first but you didn’t push yourself as hard as you could have and/or your form looks bad.
So always strive to improve your technique and to raise your intensity. Always look back after a WOD and ask yourself:
-was my form right, or at least the very best that I could do?
-did I use the correct amount of weight(this means too little/too much)?
-did I go as hard as I could have or did I leave too much room?

Remember CrossFit can be breifly defined as “Constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity”.

Constantly Varied:
Variety is the spice of life and of fitness. The more variety and creativity that are placed into the workouts, the more your body will develop and grow stronger. Variety in exercises, sets, reps, weight, rounds, etc. is the key to developing every component of physical fitness.

Functional Movements:
Functional movements are universal motor patterns that mimic human movement in every day life. Functional movements are squats, deadlifts, pushes, pulls, lunges, rotational movements. They are not single-joint movements but rather multi-joint movements. They are safe, develop very powerful and useful core strength, provide tremendous neuro-endocrine response, and are the best cardio and best rehab training you can do. Functional movements move from core to extremity and can tolerate high loads and move them long distances in a short amount of time. Functional training provides the body with a stimulus that is unmatched. These movements will improve the quality of life of everyone who performs them and will teach people how to move their bodies more efficiently and effectively in all life’s endeavors. From elite athletes looking to improve their performance in a particular sport to a grandmother seeking to gain strength to pick up her grandkids from the floor to over her head, functional training is the answer to improving the overall health and well being of everyone, no matter what level of fitness.

Intensity is all about hard and fast. How hard and how fast depends on your fitness level. All workouts are scaled to your level of intensity. Intensity is where the results are! Guaranteed!

Last modified on May 22, 2012