If i described an individual bent over, hands on knees, head hanging with eyes closed looking straight at the ground.
Would it sound like i was describing someone who was thriving or well on their way to expressing the best version of themselves? No.
If you see an individual standing tall. chest broad, eyes open and focused on the task ahead of them, you know they are ready for whatever comes their way.
Why then is it so common to see people bent over, hands on their knees, staring at the ground in the middle of a training session/workout?
Has anything good ever happened to someone in this position? This is the position one might assume over porcelain after a long night of being over-served. It’s the position a child might assume while awaiting the impending whack of a belt. It is a position of SUBMITTAL and WEAKNESS.
Postures of defeat are the inseparable sidekick of negative self-talk. They are nonverbal statements that scream, “this sucks, i can’t do this.” They can come in many forms, but nearly every version of a posture of defeat involves the body closing in on itself, as if reverting to the fetal position. This can be taking a knee, sitting down, bowing the head – chin to chest, or most common, bending over with hands on knees. It’s our nonverbal way of saying we feel vulnerable and weak, and it’s how we retreat to protect ourselves.
So what to do about it…
For the purposes of our sport, standing tall allows for much better oxygen intake! In the middle of a nasty conditioning session, it’s critical to get as much oxygen as possible! Standing up straight opens up the chest cavity and allows for a more natural and full expansion of the lungs, which can increase oxygen intake by up to 30% or more.
Science be damned, we should all understand that how you carry yourself in the midst of a workout – or any life’s challenges – will play a great role in determining the outcome.
Those who approach the situation with their chest up and eyes forward, are those who look for solutions to overcome the obstacle, while those who cower and close in on themselves are retreating from the reality of the situation. In order to overcome whatever challenge is in front of you, you must stiffen your spine, stand tall and move forward!
So next time you drop the barbell during a workout remember…CHEST UP, EYES OPEN, SHINS AGAINST THE BAR!
-C.J Martin (CrossFit Invictus)