How To PR A #CrossFitFail

There has been a lot of buzz around the phrase “CrossFit Fail” lately. Just go on Youtube and watch for yourself. Those videos represent stupidity, carelessness, ignorance and a host of other detriments. Most are preventable with proper coaching and emphasis on technique rather than blind intensity. Some are just plain freak accidents. For every failure video, there are literally thousands of good training videos taken by normal people uploaded to Youtube every day that go unnoticed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratio of good to bad training videos is similar to the ratio of unused police tapes to the number of videos that end up on Cops. Yet, what do you think of when you hear the phrase “it was a routine traffic stop”???

My advice to everyone out there is to redefine your success criteria. A successful snatch shouldn’t compromise your shoulder position. A successful 1RM deadlift shouldn’t have an implied rounded back. Is it so much to ask that your back be stronger than your legs? If you don’t trust your coach to help you train toward the fundamentally safe success criteria, start recording yourself. If you continue to question your coach, get a new coach with safer success criteria.

This concept really hit home for me when attempting a 1 rep max deadlift last week. By no means am I particularly proud of this weight because the ignorant part of me remembers lifting about 10% more than this about 2 years ago (with a compromised back I’m sure).

How I PR’ed A Fail

The fundamental takeaway here is that the failure point lies in my leg/hip drive, NOT MY BACK. If your back is stronger than your legs, then you can drive as hard as you want all day long and your back will be safe.


Karen Southwick