There are so many things out there we see, that look sexy, but are they good for us? Who remembers the cigarette ads of the early 80’s and 90’s? Some of the shoes women wear just because they look good or its the style. The mental torture we put ourselves and our own lives through from trying to post the perfect image and pose on instagram. The things we tell ourselves we need to achieve in order to be “any good.” Kind of ridiculous trying to be sexy. How many of you have a skeleton in the closet of someone sexy. Just because it’s sexy does not necessarily mean its good for you.
There is also CrossFit sexy. Videos you see of people banging out kipping pull ups, kipping HSPU, Kipping muscle ups, kipping pre-workout drinks, high rep snatches, long brutal workouts, or a PR lift/PR WOD every day. These things. CrossFit sexy. All Die. I am not going to lie to you.
But sexy can hurt. Kipping pull ups have tons of ballistic loading on the weakest joint in the body. When you kip, the downward force being supported by the shoulder is 8X bodyweight. For me, that is around 1700 lbs of force. If the supporting structures of the shoulder are not built up, injury is more likely. Injuries hurt AND they keep you out of the gym. This is why we have strength standards and progressions for the pull up. If you don’t have the strength standards, do what it takes to get them before you focus on kipping as you will build up the muscle and connective tissue in the joint. If kipping pull ups are sexy, than butterfly pull ups bring sexy to a whole new level. Yes, it is cool to learn new tricks, but the amount of strain on the shoulder, for what? To shave off seconds in a class workout? To finish 10,318 instead of 10,567 in the Opens? What is more important? Two years ago, trying to be sexy, tore my tricep. Stoopid. For what? An open workout that didn’t mean anything when all was said and done. (I learned so much about how I should train from it, it was a blessing in disguise, however)
Another sexy movement we use progressions for is the Snatch and Clean. We start everyone off from the Hang position. The two main reasons for this are, one, the purpose of the movements is to derive explosive power from the hip, and scientific research has shown more power generation happens from the hang, and the second, is that typically, in most people, everything technique wise goes to hell in a handbasket when they go from the floor. There is a third reason. Most people, while they CAN get into a position to take a Snatch from the ground, CANNOT get themselves in THE correct position to start the lift.
Why do all the best coaches teach from the hang? If you teach from the hang you can derive all the benefit from snatching without taking the athlete to compromised shapes. You can complete the lift from a compromised shape but we agree it’s not the best shape. – Kelly Starret
Just because you can do the lift from there, if you compromise body position because you lack the full body mobility to be there, in the long run, this will lead to injury, somewhere. Add in high reps of a movement from a compromised position, and that injury may happen sooner than later.
Doing workouts RX or RX Plus is super sexy. If RX seems light to you, go harder and faster with flawless mechanics. Guarantee the workout will smoke you and you probably will be sore in all the small muscles you haven’t work from not always achieving full range of motion going heavier. Going fast, meeting the metabolic demands of a workout, sucks, and will make you sexy. Going heavy and taking breaks from the load hurts but also isn’t very sexy. Always going for a PR. Yes, sexy if you make it and film it at the right angle for instagram, not sexy from the extra strain on your body. Really balance is sexy.
The goal is longevity of training. Keeping you making gains, but away from injury. That is the goal behind progressions, that is the goal behind programming. Think about a car. The more miles you put on it, the more likelihood it’s going to break down. Think of reps as miles. Some miles (up a steep mountain or down one, i.e. This Car climbed Mt Washington) are even tougher on the car. Some reps (heavy loads) are the same way. Do way too many heavy reps in an unstructured way, it could make you more prone to injury. That is why we structure our program the way we do.
Being 60 and still training, having muscles when you are 70, still walking and having a active lifestyle at 80, that’s sexy. The Internet is full of Sexy. We are subjected to sexy in so many ways. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do it! Always take sexy with a grain of salt, and if you have it, a shot of tequila and a lime.