The first step in any athlete’s journey is to learn to perform basic movement mechanics.

Movement mechanics refer to the physics of the movement or the relative positions, angles, and velocity of the body parts involved in the movement being performed.

Mechanics create the structure of movement and dictate the safest, most efficient way to complete it. Thus it is critical that an athlete develop sound movement mechanics before pushing for intensity in the form of load, high reps, or rapid execution.

CrossFit makes use of a variety of movements and movement categories, many of which have multiple applications.

A good trainer will help an athlete navigate a myriad of essential skills in an organized fashion. Often, this process involves learning a base skill and then, once competency is gained, challenging the base skill with a variation.

Once the athlete experiences the basic positions of the movement, they must next learn how to transition between these positions efficiently and without deviating to poor mechanics. Often, reducing the speed of execution will be necessary until some level of positional understanding is reached.

A significant portion of the art of good training exists in providing enough of a challenge to drive progress without completely overwhelming the athlete and pushing them beyond their current threshold.

Insufficient challenge will stagnate progress, but too much will discourage at best and push the athlete past their limits at worst.

At times, athletes may fall into the trap of believing they will not receive the benefits of a “real workout” when taking the time to focus on movement mechanics. In such instances, they would be served well by remembering the sustained effort required to execute a new skill to a high standard.

Despite the seemingly low number of reps or load on the bar, the dedicated performance of the mechanics will undoubtedly provide a challenge.

New ranges of motion and positions will often create more physical response than might be evident from just looking at the numbers on paper.

The most successful athletes recognize that a long, slow trajectory of advancement in skill and capacity toward a distant horizon is most effective both in terms of athlete development and retention.