When training strength, the elasticity of doing the deadlift with a bounce (even a “legal” one) will absolutely yield more output in less time. This means you move through the workout faster and that all-important number next to your name on the whiteboard is better than if you didn’t. You’d do a better job training true strength, however, by removing that elastic bounce. This is exploiting the standard versus exploiting performance.
Sometimes meeting the minimum requirements of a movement standard and maximizing performance gains are two different things.
The same is true with squatting. Ever seen those videos of weightlifters training with their feet what seems like four inches apart with their ass to their heels? It’s incredible. What about the powerlifting competition videos, though? Their feet are out and they squat to the very minimum depth required to make their lift and not a centimeter further. Can you blame them?
It’s smart. As an athlete, that’s the goal, right? Maximize the yield on your training and maximize your performance on game day. Why would any competitive lifter squat an extra seven inches in competition? Altruism? Heck no. It pays to be a winner, folks.
In training, however, exploiting the standard and putting performance gains in the back seat is both shortsighted and irresponsible. Unfortunately, CrossFitters can be guilty of this, and it’s an important distinction to make.
The “built-in” competition of CrossFit makes for even less of a reason to treat training like training. Part of the reason for this is that for 95 percent of the CrossFit population, the daily workout is their game day. There’s nothing wrong with that, but coaches and students could benefit by setting some deeper context, in my opinion. Benchmark-workout days, like “Helen,” can be perfect days to exploit the standard and compete. But, any old couplet on a Tuesday need not be about performing standard minimum, but rather more ranges of motion, more attention to detail and more training adaptation.
If you’re in competition, you’ve got to walk the line. If you’re in training, get selfish and go beyond standard minimums. The bare minimum is your enemy. Choose performance gains over “winning” a training day.
— Logan Gelbrich