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What’s in a Cue

By admin | In Uncategorized | on November 26, 2013
Samantha learning the split jerk in her first weightlifting class

Samantha learning the split jerk in her first weightlifting class

You may have heard us yelling emphatically, gesture maniacally, or squint disapprovingly from across the gym. The cue is a coach’s tool to remind or prompt an athlete to fix a movement. It’s shorthand language that may only make sense to the athlete being cued.  They can be comical, obscure, and non-sensical. I can yell “Tony Parker” and “Clementine” to a certain Intrepid athlete and she’ll fix her gaze and clean position right away!  Whatever the cue is, it’s only requirement is efficacy.

But, because everyone comes in with different strengths and weaknesses, each person will have a different set of cues that work for them. So outside of listening to coaches break down a movement when instructing/introducing it to the class, you may have to be careful when hearing us cue individual athletes specifically. While “knees out” may apply for someone who collapses their knees in during a squat, it would not apply to someone who already has a good neutral knees-over-toes position. In a particular lift,  I may ask someone to look up while someone else to look down. The end result, though, should be the same.

For example, I’ve found a myriad cues to help athletes start a deadlift properly. Some respond to knees back, while others prefer chest up, or dig your heels. If you find a word or concept helps you make sense of a movement, WRITE THAT STUFF DOWN in your notebooks, preferably on a page titled “Cues” or “STUFF THAT WORKS.”  It’s so exciting to us when light bulbs go off during class and everything comes together. But sometimes it feels like groundhog day here and when we end up having the same light bulb go off every time we revisit that same lift and we get the urge to throw a metal plate at you for not writing it down to remind yourself.

In all seriousness, though, we get that the lifts are hard and technical. Invest in your learning and pay attention to which cues help you and which ones don’t. Give yourself a mantra for every lift. A short sentence or a few words that helps get your mind and body right. And understand that a cue that may help another athlete may sabotage your lift.  Strive to understand the movement instead.


A very happy birthday to Xuan (AKA Doghouse, AKA Prodigal Son). May you do birthday burpees if you don’t come in to the gym soon!!

WOD 11.26.13

Back Squat 3×5 or Wendler

For 12 Minutes
Every Odd Minute:
Complete 3 Cleans (full squat) (225/143)
Every Even Minute:
Max Reps Push Ups

Post total Push Ups

10 Comments to "What’s in a Cue"

  • Jason Beattie says:

    November 26, 2013 at 6:58 AM -

    Happy B-Day, Xuan!!

  • tami says:

    November 26, 2013 at 7:16 AM -

    Happy B-Day Xuan! Hope to see you soon.

  • Anna says:

    November 26, 2013 at 9:18 AM -

    Happy Birthday X! I suggest we paint the floor with your sweat print in remembrance of your time at Intrepid.

  • Tom R says:

    November 26, 2013 at 9:26 AM -

    Happy Birthday Brother. Scotch and cigars?

  • Alia says:

    November 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM -

    Happy birthday XUAN!!!!

  • Portia says:

    November 26, 2013 at 11:18 AM -

    What a cute picture!

  • Portia says:

    November 26, 2013 at 11:19 AM -

    *The picture of Samantha and Ruth I mean. 😀

  • Xuan says:

    November 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM -

    Thanks for remembering guys! Nice photo selection. I love the fact you guys are doing my favorite lift today too! Unfortunately I can’t make it in today….but will be back again…promise!

    1. Ruth says:

      November 26, 2013 at 2:08 PM -


  • Holley says:

    November 27, 2013 at 8:52 AM -

    Happy Birthday Xuan!!! Hope you had a great day and we get to see you soon!

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