My son is a CrossFit coach. He owns and operates Conviction Training Facility home of CrossFit Hilton Head. He is a wonderful coach, according to the many people he has helped achieve their dreams in and out of the box. Even before I understood anything about CrossFit, I knew his mantra, “Form before function.”

You have to know how to execute the lift before you can muscle through and move the weight. Always, always.

My son isn’t always thrilled with my doing CrossFit because he thinks I might hurt myself. Not because I’m a total klutz, although I am, but because the programming at my box doesn’t seem to be set on a specific goal, either long-term or short-term. We seem to tend toward brutal workouts which pleases some people but has a tendency to injure old farts like me. So, he worries.

However, even with the brutal workouts as written (which I always scale), I don’t (often) hurt myself. I missed a box jump, but that can happen anywhere and usually does. Boxes eat shins for breakfast. My coaches have tried to explain that I should move through my hips or do this or that in order to execute the lifts.

I just read another Warrior Girl Lifting blog post which was partially incomprehensible to me. She said one thing that got a friend/client/mentor/idol moving correctly and stop doing the dumb thing she had been doing for a long time. I can read the words as written, but my brain doesn’t seem to translate these words into a movement pattern.

I can mouth the words and know I’m to pop my hips or fall under the bar or do this or that and maybe I should do a kipping movement or arch or not arch my back or something. I watch people executing the lifts and still, I don’t understand where I’m being inefficient or risking harm or simply looking like an inept fool. But I know that I’m not getting the form perfect because I’m not even sure what all the words really mean.

I know that I’m to get in a shoulder shrug somewhere and I know that I’m supposed to be explosive here or there and I know there is a technique and I know I’m not mastering it. I’m willing to bet there has not been one time in my year and a half of showing up at CrossFit three to four times a week when I have actually been graceful and executed a move with efficiency and precision. I do have falling in a heap on the floor in the proscribed post-WOD position making a sweat angel down pat, but that’s a different skill set.

It’s not like people haven’t tried. It’s not like I’m not listening. It’s simply that I don’t understand how to make the words turn into body mechanics. I know what happens in videos of real athletes doing remarkable things with weights. I’ve seen the videos of people being flexible and somehow in total control of every muscle so they can do awe inspiring things.

I’ve seen a video of me and I look like I should be driven to CrossFit in a short bus.

When I was a kid, girls didn’t do sports. We might have a softball league, maybe. And there was cheerleading so the boys would know we cared about football (I’m writing this while the Super Bowl is on and from Facebook, I gather the Seahawks are winning, but I really don’t know – or care). I didn’t play softball and I was never a cheerleader.

The first time I tried anything really athletic was when I was 27 and I picked up a racket and stepped into a racquetball court. I managed to hold my own in that game since the playing field isn’t large and I got pretty good at placing shots.

The first time I ever tried to lift a weight, I was 59 years old. I was pitiful. I worked for months before I could deadlift 42#.

I think I have been so consumed with the function – non-function really – that even though I could hear Craig’s mantra, I haven’t incorporated it into my learning. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing most of the time.

I should have muscle memory by now, even without muscle strength. But instead, I’m still trying to figure out what popping my hips really means.

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