Hi there Snatchers and Runners! I’m Hilary, one of the Two Babes and a Barbell (the one who did not just give birth to adorable twin boys). Special thanks to Meri and Christy for reaching out to me and sending two of their sweet shirts my way (Gym Unicorn and Wine and Weights, if you were wondering) and giving me the opportunity of sharing some musings with you all over here.
So the title of this post is #tinywin. Let’s have a virtual hands up for all the readers out there who have been CrossFitting (or doing whatever form of exercise it is you love) for a year or more. I’m guessing this is a decent number of you, and you’ve heard all the hype, drank the Kool-Aid, yada yada yada.
You’ve also probably heard that whole thing about how PRs will be raining down that first year (if this is you, it’s soooo awesome – enjoy it!), but at some point, things will slow down, you might feel like you’re stagnating, and you’re stuck in a PR desert (I almost typed PR dessert – which would be amazing. PRs should always be celebrated, and dessert is always a great idea….anyways, I digress….).
I’ve been CrossFitting for almost 2 years, and I am definitely familiar with this cycle. If you add injury to the mix, things can get even more complicated/frustrating (read about my journey with a back injury earlier this year here and here).
This summer, I didn’t PR almost anything. But that doesn’t mean the summer was a waste. I spent a ton of time on mobility and form, and this is where #tinywin comes in. Even before I was injured, I started to realize that I’ve reached a point in my CrossFit career where strength (or lack thereof) is often not the main thing holding me back. That is simultaneously cool (it’s really awesome to look back and see how strong I’ve gotten over 2 years) and extremely frustrating. Meaning my lifts could go up, I could master (or at least be competent at) movements I struggle with, simply by making tweaks to form or changing bad habits/movement patterns (but let’s be honest – that’s not simple AT ALL).
To me, #tinywin is when I can see hard work paying off. It doesn’t mean a huge PR, but rather that hours (literally) of mobility have paid off, I’m moving better than I was before, or positioning has improved. And, in the long term, I know that sets me up for PRs in the future.
What #tinywins have I seen lately? SO glad you asked….
1. Squats! Since being injured, my coach has really been driving home squat form. Namely, not folding over on back squats when the weight gets heavy (again – my legs are totally strong enough, it’s that darn form thing), but also just sitting back in my heels all the way in an air squat. I’ve done a crap ton of squat mobility and worked lighter squats with emphasis on form all summer long. So when my coach sees me do a heavy single and says “I’m so happy!” - #tinywin
2. Elbows! I always drop my elbows in my jerk (and front squat too). A great font rack position is a struggle for me, and something I’ve really been trying to drill into my head the past few months. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve got a ton of shoulder strength, but doing a jerk with elbows down in front is just that much harder. So yesterday I was doing some clean and jerks and asked my coach how my elbows were. He said my elbows looked SO much better and that’s probably why my jerk looked so great. #tinywin
3. Snatch! Don’t we all struggle with this one? The snatch is so technical, I feel like any improvement is huge. I love power snatching, but really struggle with getting under the bar quickly and dropping in a squat snatch. So, when twice in one week, 2 separate coaches complimented me on the bottom position of my squat snatch “Have you always had such great ankle mobility?” and “Your bottom position is looking so much better.”) – you get the idea. #tinywin (x2).
4. Pull-ups! My nemesis/age-old struggle. I’ve not been working on kipping pull-ups at all over the summer because of my back. And the strict pull-ups I’ve been doing have been with more assistance to drill home perfect form/lat engagement. So last weekend, there was a WOD with pull-ups. As per usual, I got my band set up. Then our coach challenged me to try without a band. I was skeptical and sort of annoyed, but agreed to at least try. It was only 3 pull-ups per round, and somehow, I kipped 3 for the first round. I honestly expected not to be able to do pull-ups each round, but somehow got 4 complete rounds in! My first ever RX pull-up WOD. #tinywin doesn’t seem like quite enough for this one. ;)
Anyways, my point is, just because you’re more of a seasoned CrossFitter and PRs might not be as plentiful anymore, there are still victories to be had. And I would argue that a #tinywin might be more helpful and serve you more in the long term than a PR anyway. You just have to shift your perspective a bit and realize that you’re still awesome, and success comes in many forms.