A Simple Way to Improve Your Workout Form

One of the challenges of working out from home, or even by yourself at a gym, is you may not have a coach watching your every move while offering suggestions on how to improve your form and technique.

Now, I’m lucky that Mike has helped me learn how to do the more complex CrossFit movements.  Heck, he’s helped me with basic movements like air squats which, believe it or not, are easy to mess up (i.e not on your heels, etc.).  Unfortunately, Mike isn’t available to coach me up on a regular basis due to our conflicting schedules.  So I just do the best I can.

My Secret Weapon

But, I’ve been curious to know how I’ve been doing, form wise, so I decided to break out a secret weapon most of us have access to… the video camera on my smart phone!

In fact, I recently did the “Fran” workout for the first time.  It’s pretty brutal and I knew my form would likely be challenged.  So I recorded myself.  And, well, let’s just say I didn’t like what I saw!

My thrusters were terrible!  My elbows were down and my head didn’t come through at the top meaning the bar was out in front of me.

And while my pull-ups weren’t awful… they could have been much better.  Specifically, I have the tendency to not lock my arms out completely in the bottom position.  In my defense, I still do strict pull-ups since I stink at kipping!

My point here is had I not video taped myself I may have thought my form was great!  It wasn’t and I’ve already started to focus on improving my thrusters and pull-ups.

Fight Gone Bad

This past Saturday, a few days after I did Fran, Mike and I did the famous “Fight Gone Bad” workout together (see picture above for an action shot). It hurt.  A lot.

I decided to record it as well to see how my technique looked.  And, once again, I noticed several issues.  My hips didn’t fully extend during the box jumps and my rowing form is bad, bad, bad.  On the bright side I did get to see my wall balls, push presses, and sumo deadlift high pulls looked pretty good.  So that was positive.

I also got to see how Mike performed these same movements with exact precision.  He’s an efficient, extremely smooth, CrossFit beast!  Even still… I bet he’d notice a few things he could do better.  Between me and you I thought he was coasting a little on the box jumps!  But please don’t tell him I said that, OK?  Ha!

So my plan is to continue recording my workouts… maybe not every one of them but a few each week.  This way I’ll be able to see how I’m progressing as well as what I need to work on.  Who knows maybe I’ll splice them together one day to show my progression?

With all of this said, if you work out alone I’d also encourage you to record yourself from time to time.  Even basic movements like push-ups should be monitored.  Do you look like a limp worm since your back and core are loose?  How about those elbows… are they locked out at the top?  What about your air squats?  Are you back on your heels and not out on your toes?  Turn on that camera and check.

New Coaching Program

Finally, Mike and I are beta testing a new virtual coaching program where we program workouts each week via an online portal.  Members also log their workouts in this tool and can see what other members are up to.  And, don’t worry, these workouts are scaled accordingly.  So, even if you haven’t done a push-up for 20 years we have a program for you.

We also offer virtual coaching as part of the package.  We’re looking to accept 10 more people into the program.  We have to cap it at 10 new folks for now to ensure we can provide adequate support.  So if you’re interested in learning more contact us and we can fill you in on the details.

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!