Myelin & No More Misses

Occasionally, throughout my 6.5 years of CrossFitting, I have what I like to term 'micro-existential crises' where, usually due to a poor performance (or, at least, feeling as though I'm performing poorly) in a given day's workout, I question the efficacy of the time and work I'm investing in actually improving myself as an athlete.  Like many CFNH athletes, there are workouts at which I feel I perform well, and those with which I struggle or have not seen or felt myself to have significantly improved over the years.  


One of the hallmarks of my struggle with certain movements or workouts is that, while I work as hard as possible to perform the movements, this often comes at the cost of performing the movements WELL.  In back squats, I have been remiss in getting my upper back as tight as possible; in cleans and snatches, I don't engage my lats and continue to add weight to the bar even when I'm no longer consistently getting the bar into my hips  (the nexus for the movement's explosive second pull).


To this end, my resolution to myself in 2016 is to work smarter, wiser, and, dare I positively desecrate the entire history of English grammar, “well-er” by committing myself to performing my movements with the best possible form as quickly or for as heavy a weight as possible.  Notice that the emphasis here (by way of priority order) is on 'best possible form,' not 'quick or…as heavy.'  Every time you perform a movement, your nervous system undergoes a process called “myelination.”  Myelination is basically the process by which your nerve cells transmit increasing levels of insulated myelin sheath around themselves in response to the transfer of electrical signals.  In essence, visualize the cord for your vaccuum that you plug into the wall.  Now imagine that every time you vaccuum, the electricity that runs through the copper in the cord causes the rubber around the cord to become a little thicker, which, in turn, causes the electricity in the cord to move faster and more efficiently the next time you vaccuum.  Now imagine you have multiple vaccuums with multiple cords plugged into multiple outlets, but only one vaccuum represents performing a movement with perfect form.  If you use a vaccuum or perform a snatch or box jump with poor form, you myelinate for that inefficient movement.  Your neuromuscular system, your body “remembers.” 


Then, it's just a matter of performing that movement perfectly, every rep, all the time cool


Or, at least, 1,000 reps to start:



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