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Qualitative Versus Quantitative Personal Bests

Posted by Emily Beers on


I’ve been doing CrossFit for more than six years. 

The learning curve isn’t as steep as it once was.

Gone are the days where I surprise myself with a 50 lb. deadlift personal best or a 2-minute improvement on Fran or Nasty Girls.

I wrote a story a while ago about enjoying the plateau. But I realize now that I haven’t been plateau-ing at all. My personal bests and milestone moments have simply changed from being quantitative to qualitative.

I’ve been doing muscle-ups for years, but two weeks ago now, I jumped for joy after doing one single muscle-up.

I looked at Chris Scaalo and I could tell that he, too, knew it was a muscle-up to remember.

“That’s the best muscle-up I’ve ever done!” I said, excitedly.

“It IS the best muscle-up you’ve ever done,” he replied.

For so long, I’ve struggled to turn the rings over fast enough, so I usually end up catching my muscle-ups much deeper than I’d like. And then when I’m fatigued, the problem gets magnified. But two weeks ago, suddenly something clicked: I snapped the rings much harder than normal and found myself eternally higher in my ring dip than I ordinarily am. While it wasn’t a Sam Briggs, straight-armed muscle-up, it was pretty damn easy.

Similarly, I used to do 'pretend strict muscle-ups', where I’d be mostly strict but would bend one knee, shimmy my body and lead with one arm on the transition. Now, I’m able to do true strict muscle-ups, with a tight body and straight knees and not a hint of a shimmy.

 #muscle-up-quality-and-efficiency-is-improving 

While it looks way more impressive to update social media with a hashtag that says #25-pound-back-squat-personal-best than it is to say #muscle-up-quality-and-efficiency-is-improving, I believe qualitative personal bests are as—or even more important—as quantitative ones.

After all, unless there’s a one-rep max back squat event at Regionals, being able to move efficiently with moderate loads for a high number of reps under fatigue might be just as valuable.

 

 

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