In rolls August and with the change of the month comes the CrossFit Games.  Today marks the day when the top CrossFitters from around the world start the first day of the world’s largest CrossFit competition.  You will get to see feats of what appears to be superhuman strength and endurance all in the name of fitness.  With this month’s knowledge bomb we will look at the most fundamental skill needed to compete effectively in CrossFit, this skill is barbell cycling.  Barbell cycling is being able to successfully master high reps, at a fast pace, all while being energy efficient.  Sound complicated? It kinda is… but with practice and understanding body mechanics it can shave off valuable time in AMRAPs and WODs for time.  

The Weight Shift

Now it is time to talk about the movements and how we are supposed to break them down.  The best way that was explained to me is when completing a ground-to-shoulder or ground-to-overhead, and I really had success with was when I am barbell cycling I am doing two movements for each rep that I do. Stick with me on this, the reason for thinking each repetition has two movements is because of what my feet are going to have to do when completing each rep.  Anytime you are weightlifting you HAVE to be on your heels, however, when lowering the barbell that weight will begin a weight shift from your heels to your toes.  When you make it back to your starting positon you are rocking back on your heels to start your rep all over again.  This will help with momentum of the bar traveling up however, we will have another key point to focus on with each shift of weight.  

The Bar Path

The bar path is extremely important when cycling, any small mistake can lead to missed reps or energy inefficiency.  When lowering the bar (from shoulders or overhead), you want to avoid any kind of pausing when descending the bar as this will kill any of the momentum we have generated throughout the movement.  We want to keep the bar as close as possible when going up, and more importantly when coming down, this means setting your hips back and using them to slow the bar down is a good thing, as long as it isn’t a pause.  

Shoulder-to-overhead is for the most part treated the same way, we still want to focus on the weight shift from toes-to-heels but we use less emphasis on the heels-to-toes because we stop the bar at the shoulders instead of taking it all the way to the floor.  The main focus of shoulders-to-overhead movement is start in a slightly wider stance.  This allows for a wider base, making it easy to maintain a straight and consistent bar path.

High repetition barbell movements are a cornerstone in CrossFit. They have been since the start and will always be around, it is important that if you have any interest in competing or competing at a high level you need to master this successfully before you can ever move to that next step.  I realize this is not a very detailed article and I did this so you can talk to your coach how to approach it IN CLASS! I also skipped over the breathing that needs to take place when completing each rep but that’s a whole other can of worms.  Keep practicing and always strive to get better.  Do not ever be scared to ask a coach for help, this is much more of a hands on skill so go give it a try, perfect PRACTICE makes perfect, don’t be ashamed when a coach gives feedback! Good luck Bears!