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Stopwatch Whores

By Marcus | In Psychology | on November 14, 2011

Bad reps will put you on Santa's naughty list

There are a few dirty terms that coaches use to describe certain athletes. I’ve already introduced you to what we mean by WOD shoppers. These people avoid workouts because it has a movement or two they dislike or because it looks “tough”. Unfortunately, the WOD shopper never improves at that movement and continues to hamper their development.

Today we look at a term I remember first reading about a couple years ago on Maximus Lewin’s blog. The dreaded stopwatch whore is so blinded by ego, they care more about the time they post on the whiteboard than they do about the quality of their work. She will do wallball shots without a squat and still fall under the mark, or he will half-ass his pushups by never touching his chest to the ground nor coming to full extension at the top.

From Max’s post:

How many of you guys out there are ’stop-watch whores’? You put out a sub 3 minute Fran but half of your thrusters you didn’t push your head all the way through, and 10 of your butterfly pull-ups were technically over the bar but not really?

I feel that true excellence in CrossFit requires excellent form, regardless of speed. In some ways I am more impressed with a middle-of-the-pack athlete with HEART who does everything right, than a Firebreathing animal who cuts corners to make their blazing times even hotter. Of course what I really love to see is blazing intensity with excellent form. We want virtuosity!

CrossFit stresses that one must first learn proper technique and then can one increase speed and/or intensity (often seen as the weight used). Sean posted before about our emphasis on mechanics, and there is a reason Intrepid athletes are routinely complimented on their excellent form at competitions.

Keep your focus on quality. Please don’t be so quick to sacrifice form and technique in order to shave seconds off your time, add reps to your Tabata score, or finish 1 sec faster than your closest competition. Each rep we perform is a data point that gets integrated into our muscle memory that over time shape our movement patterns.

Along with this also comes proper scaling. You can read my earlier post on the subject, but just know that your trainers have your best interests in mind when we select your weights for a workout — even if it’s not the almighty “Rx”. Likewise, the whiteboard is a useful tool when harnessed properly, but it becomes pointless if beating someone else’s time is your sole focus — with technique and proper range of motion thrown to the wind.

I ask you to keep this idea in your mind in future WODs. Did you really get your chin over the bar for that pullup? Was that truly 10 reps, or might it have only been 8? Check your ego and keep yourself honest in workouts and you will be rewarded with constant improvement. Are you a stopwatch whore?

WOD 11.14.11

Banded Deadlifts 7×2

4 rounds for time:

  • 5 bodyweight deadlifts
  • 100m sprint

8 Comments to "Stopwatch Whores"

  • Brady Held says:

    November 14, 2011 at 9:07 AM -

    My first Crossfit WOD! I’m psyched to have joined Crossfit Intrepid… everyone here seems very cool. I’m looking forward to meeting you all!

  • Jake says:

    November 14, 2011 at 9:37 AM -

    Brady, welcome to Intrepid! Hope to meet you.

  • Jake says:

    November 14, 2011 at 9:38 AM -

    @ Marcus, I am a stopwatch whore.

  • Dan says:

    November 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM -

    Brady Welcome!

    Nice Article Marcus,

    form = function

  • Holley says:

    November 14, 2011 at 1:59 PM -

    Great post Marcus! I think I was definitely guilty of being a stopwatch whore at the competition this weekend. While scaling wasn’t an option for me, my snatch form was definitely a sacrifice in my race for a better time. I’m definitely taking home the lesson learned and will focus on better movements during a WOD so I don’t create bad muscle memory when I’m racing the clock.

  • Holley says:

    November 14, 2011 at 2:01 PM -

    Also, welcome Brady! Looking forward to meeting you!


  • Scott says:

    November 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM -

    Welcome Brady! Glad to have you in the family. Looking forward to working out together.

    WOD Shopper? Stopwatch Whore? Stress Addict? Marcus, will you please stop calling me names!!! :)

  • Melina says:

    November 14, 2011 at 4:13 PM -

    Welcome Brady!

    Stopwatch whore? For me it’s more like “Super happy when I’m not last whore” – not quite as catchy though :)

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