Say NO To Shit*y Reps

So, since I start all my blogs with so, here’s my guest post for

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“Hey, new PR, it’s not pretty but I’ll take it” doesn’t equal a FUCKING PR!…


You all know it, you log on to Facebook or Instagram (because no one uses Twitter anymore) and see someone has a video up with their new PR, but it looks like poo. The caption is all excited about finally hitting that number they dreamed off, and it’s filled with emojis and hashtags and you can feel their sense of pride and achievement. There’s only one problem, it didn’t count #sorrynotsorry


That PR that you really, really want, and keep chasing numbers instead of perfection, is really, really holding you back from your potential. It’s short term gain for long term dissatisfaction. It’s like instead of waiting for some really good cheesecake for your cheat meal you eat some crap out of Starbucks that tastes like cardboard. (For reference on the best cheesecake, click here.)

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Look, you’re allowed move from ugly to fair to good to great in your movements. You get your first muscle up and it’s “canoe” style it counts. You know why ugly gymnastics movements count, because gymnastics is the sport of perfection in movement and we’re chasing a perfect movement. So going through “shitty” is a natural progression to “less shitty” and (eventually) “beautiful”. With a barbell however, we can adjust the load until it’s pretty perfect. Or, if not perfect, satisfying as much criteria as we want.


So what to look out for…


Squats: Full depth (if it’s Olympic style squatting, and most is in CrossFit) that means ass to grass or your particular range of movement. Your hips should be clearly below your knees. Your viewer shouldn’t have to bring the lift into coach’s eye and freeze frame it. Knees don’t move in or out excessively, and the back stays pretty much the same shape. If all your percentage work is rock bottom, hamstrings bouncing off the calves, nice tight back, it’s not a new 1RM PR if you barely scrape parallel and look like a turtle on the way back up.


Deadlifts: This is a big one, it SHOULD NOT look like a cat taking a shit in the woods! Jesus Christ that’s your spine we’re talking about here!

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(My face when I see your back look like this)

Olympic Lifts: They should look fluid from start to finish. In the snatch, it should move from ground to overhead with no noticeable pause at any point. If you stop at the hips, jump forward a mile, get it half way overhead and press it out, then do a little shuffle, timidly squat to juuuuuuuussst below parallel before running forward to save it, maybe consider not posting it or posting it as a training lift and not a new lifetime PB!


In the jerk, there should be no noticeable “pressing out” of the arms. Ladies, please, learn how to jerk right!







The best way to avoid haters on your feed is to not give them any ammunition in the first place. Avoid sycophants (I love that word) and surround yourself with people who’ll demand more from you. Sure, it’s easy to have a coach who’s nothing more than a cheerleader and tell you how awesome you are. It’s far better for your development to have someone who’ll hold you to a higher standard.


Is there ever a time when less than ideal is ideal? Sure, competition. In training, we do everything perfectly. In competition we’re allowed win ugly. Once, down in Cork, on my last clean & jerk, I knew my right arm didn’t lock out. I didn’t press it out and held it there, hoped it was good and smiled at the judges. I got two out of three white lights (successful lift). When I put the bar down I pointed to the judge and said “this guy knows”

But that’s all about gamesmanship and playing your judge, and that’s a subject for another blog 😉


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