In Athletes, Videos

November 24, 2010

Video Article

With some of CrossFit’s top athletes in Lake Tahoe, Calif., for the Rogue Vs. Again Faster Throwdown, it was a great opportunity to throw the athletes into a room and get them talking with the cameras rolling.

In this installment, the athletes discuss their critics. Dave Lipson opens the conversation by asking the other athletes how they deal with disparaging remarks on their performance. He says there’s a difference between the performance of elite competitors and clients at the gym.

“We’re in a program to compete and to win. We’re training ourselves as athletes with the goal of beating whoever it is that we are going against. That is our priority, and sometimes those other things get sacrificed,” Lipson says.

The other athletes agree that the elite are not always models for CrossFit movements and shouldn’t be emulated by most CrossFitters. Should their questionable form even be posted on the main site? Should there be a differentiation between their workouts and workout demos? Should the negativity be taken to heart?

According to Dave Castro, “The vocal minority isn’t the community.”

Rob Orlando agrees: “When I get an accolade from somebody here that I really respect, that’s what I chase.”

Tommy Hackenbruck says it well: “If people are talking about you, you’re doing something cool. If you post a video and no one says anything, take it personally. Seriously. If people are commenting on you, that’s a compliment.”

6min 59sec

Additional reading: All Other Things Being Equal: The CrossFit Fairness Doctrine by Paul Eich, published Aug. 1, 2008.

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30 Comments on “Roundtable in Tahoe: Community Comments ”


wrote …

I'm a fan of basically everyone in that room as they are the elite of the same in which I participate, Crossfit. Regarding what Rob said about only focusing on the accolades from the people in that room, I think it is kind of dismissive to those of us average crossfitters, who are just as inspired by WOD demos of freakish strength and stamina as we are where everything is done perfectly, when he thinks an accolade from us a sort of insignificant. I didn't take the comment personal just surprised that a geniunely good dude like Rob O would come off that way. I'm one of those guys that watches the demos just to see the best perform and try to learn from that. I think Tommy Hack and Austin's comments were spot on and not saying anything against Rob, it just sounded "off" to hear him say that.


replied to comment from DeAndre Garner

whatever you guys do is not only awesome but also very inspiring...thank you and please continue posting everything and anything you can.


wrote …


I think the comment was a bit misunderstood. What I should have said is that when a Games competitor critiques my performance I take that very seriously. The CrossFit community is filled with the most positive people I have ever met yet the comments board sometimes takes a very dark turn. If I didn't have thick skin the negative comments would have the potential to get me down....and ultimately it would make me question whether or not I should submit my efforts on video.

99% of all comments that I receive are overwhelmingly positive and I am truly blessed to be in a position to share my passion for fitness with this great community. To be rewarded for doing something I love is the ultimate gift. On a daily basis I am humbled by the generosity and graciousness that CrossFitters possess. We are all lucky to be involved regardless of what level we're playing the game.

Hope that makes sense.

Rob O


replied to comment from Robert Orlando

Well said Rob, once again thank you and keep up your awesome work


Justin Riley wrote …

All the athletes at this event are super bad ass, and what is appropriate for them is certainly not appropriate for the average CF'er. I liked Lipson's insight that some of the uglies we may see on the videos are in fact athletes of a different echelon doing things that are not appropriate for all the people we train in the gym. Good, bad, ugly or whatever, keep the elite performance videos coming. They show us what is possible and motivate us to strive for more.

I will say that I really liked the old Tony Budding videos where he would put in text commenting on form imperfections. Tony would point out when Greg Admunson not standing up cleans all the way, or say "this is not what we want to see" when Zack started rounding his back on a max deadlift. It doesn't take anything away from the athletes outstanding performances, it just lets people know that they might not want to emulate exactly what they are seeing. At the certs we strive to perfect movement and it is both helpful and insightful to people who are doing CF on their own to hear that they might not want to perform movements or WODs the same way they see them.

For the record I think the .com blog has really stepped up and has been freakin awesome over the last 6-8 months. Love the elite videos, keep'em coming.


wrote …

This is my first time leaving a comment. Not sure why i am doing it now but I felt compelled for some reason to put in my 2 cents. When I look at videos to check out proper form and technique I go to the exercises and demos tab on the main site. When I want to get fired up to work out I check out the guys and gals in that room doing the WOD of the day. Thats not to say I think their technique is bad, thats just what I though the different videos were for.

So on behalf of most of us who never leave comments, thank you to all of you who submit workouts. Without you guys/gals it would be a lot harder to make myself workout on days when i would rather do almost anything else. Nothing better when your feel like sitting on your ass than to see Rob O or Heather B Kill a WOD. The last thing I am looking at is form, just go fast and get me fired up.

Thanks again to all of you for sharing your workouts with us.


wrote …

I am pretty appreciative of all of the videos that go up; bad form or not. Bad form is easy to recognize - can be hard to avoid. It's good to see, though, so you can help police yourself.

I am also quickly becoming an Austin Malleolo fan; it seems that 80-90% of WODs lately he is putting up a video. It doesn't matter if he had the fastest elite-level time or not. Watching him do work helps to motivate me to do work. I just wish I had more than approximately 40-50% of his work capacity.

Also when people pick apart that form - sometimes it points out to the rest of us what we should or should not be doing. All of the comments about the "Knees to Elbows" really turned on the light for me and I started ensuring I was touching my elbows instead of just my armpits.

I still look forward to seeing a Mikko video, though. Especially on Hero WOD days; I haven't seen a Hero WOD posted, yet, that if he submits his score - he is not #1.


wrote …

Dave Castro is my freakin Hero.


replied to comment from Robert Orlando


What you said completely makes sense. I wasn't trying to be negative at all and don't think you were either. I can write books on having something I said not come out quite right. Trust me when I tell you I watch any video you submit in awe, Lipson's, Spealls videos too. All of you guys do crazy stuff, really fast, and it's cool to watch. Keep the videos coming because they are inspiring to us to see the elite working just as hard.


wrote …

I hope most of the people who view the WODs on the main site are aware that these are the top competitors and that what ever form or techniques flaws one sees should not be mimicked. It's important to learn fundamentals before adding variation. The analogy I draw is when you're a kid learning to play baseball. Your coach teaches you a stance in the box, how to hold the bat and swing it. Too many kids want make the leap to impersonate their idols by placing their feet differently or waving the bat around as they wait for the pitch when they haven't even established a consistent hitting technique.

When I used to bodybuild, guys would try to replicate the workouts they would see in the mags with total disregard for the fact that the pros they were trying to emulate were genetic freaks that had access to pharmaceuticals that would enable them to train with a high intesity and recover faster. These guys were already in the top percentile of the genetically gifted and the average lifter would never achieve that.

The same goes for the Crossfit client. There's no reason to believe that you need to be as strong as Lipson or Orlando. Their muscles and connective tissues allow them to do what they do. It's in their genetics. The top competitors may get a bit sloppy when they get tired or when they are moving a heavier weight but they all at one time, learned the fundamentals.


wrote …

Hey Rob,

Just wanted to let you know that I am going out of my way to thank you for all the amazing WOD demos you post. You have truly amazed and awed tons of people in the CrossFit community, not only with your great times on regular WODs, but also through your truly jaw-dropping capacity on seemingly impossible WODs:
1-armed Fran
225 Grace
225 Bear Complex
Double King Kong
30 MU + Isabel + Grace...

One after the other, after the other, every video you post opens the eyes of the CrossFit community, as what was believed before to be impossible, is now not only possible, but slightly more attainable. You are truly pushing the envelope and paving future roads for CrossFit... And just remember that for every naysayer, there are a thousand people saying "HOLY SH*T!! That was awesome!!" (me included). Keep up the awesome work!!

- Cody


Brian Watts wrote …

It was a good video and all, but Lipson's back was totally rounded when he asked the question. Sure, he's good with these heavy questions, but give him a thirty minute monologue and Spealler would TOTALLY kick his ass. Besides, the other day I asked the same question, but I asked it louder and twice as fast. I don't have it on video, but my dog was there and could vouch for me.

Yeah, the form comments on the mainsite drive me a little crazy. More than bringing the elite folk down, I see it as more of a "look how smart I am - I bet no one else saw what I saw." Kind of like on other internet forums where you get the "First post!" moron. I assume that the vast majority of people watching the video are at least as observant as I am (after six whole months) and are mainly watching the elite demos as entertainment and to see what's possible. If someone wrote a comment about awesome form when it wasn't, then I could see people coming out and saying "No, actually his back was rounded, his hips weren't opened, etc."

Also, I think Mikko was just having an off day or he would have TOTALLY out-answered everyone!

And Austin needs to open up his hips a little more in his answers.


wrote …

The comments on this video are fantastic.

It can be easy to just focus on the few negative internet posters out of the 400 positive comments of the day. I'm truly glad to hear that the CF community realizes that it makes no sense to respond to someone's overly negative, crazy rant on the mainpage or the CFJ. Every day I skim the mainpage comments. On those rare days when someone hiding far away behind their computer screen launches a negative attack, I just sit back and hope that the CF community does not get sucked into it. I have found the best thing you can do with people who post purely negative comments is to simply ignore them. All they want is attention, so deprive them of it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everyone has to agree 100% of the time. That would also be less than desirable because often through disagreement comes learning and new perspective. I respect the comments that disagree with something that is posted, yet do it in a constructive, respectful manner. Those comments usually look something is what I don't like/disagree is my logical, intelligent reason that I feel that is my proposal to make the situation better. Those comments are usually warmly received by the CF community, as they should be. That's how we get better.

The CrossFit Community is amazing and getting fitter and smarter every day. Keep up the good work. I'm proud to be a part of it.


wrote …

This is lipson. Comment number 12 is amazing


wrote … of the better comments I have read in a long time.
I watch the main site videos for entertainment and inspiration. The Internet is full of resources (this site included) for getting proper instruction on form. We are all guilty at one time or another of a breach in form especially during a high intensity workout. If your form is perfect throughout then you've probably got more in the tank.
If you've ever had yourself video taped and critiqued it can be a humbling experience. I've got nothing but respect for the crossfitters that post videos of themselves working and or answering questions and allowing us a glimpse at what it takes to compete/excel at the highest level.


wrote …

There is a saying: Do as I say not as I do. A brilliant coach isn't necessarily a brilliant practitioner. I think you guys are phenom and an inspiration to many thousands of people around the world. Who cares if Dave's form is shit, aslong as he's shows me the right way, I really don't give a crap.
Cheers for all you do, I know it's changed my life!!!!


These people, every last one of them are so inspiring.
Rob O's comment is perfect: it's like saying to an NFL player that what I say would matter more than what another NFL-er would say. NOT! Rob, you are absolutely amazing as an athlete and I really enjoy watching the WODs, please keep submitting. In fact, I like watching them all, so please, all of you keep submitting. They help me and my athletes.

When i first started CF I saw that negativity shit on the blog .com and I was so irritated. if you don't like it, stop loggin onto the site, but Dave nailed it: The vocal minority. Bingo had a post a while back about this and suggested that we need to get back to posting to the mainsite. I am going to start, even if my box is doing something else.

Great vid! Thanks again!


wrote …

The videos you all post on the mainsite are sick. The folks who aren't ding dongs realize that a 225lbs Thruster is monstrous. Some of us can't wait to see the next video Rob posts doing something new and crazy, or Dave lifting seriously heavy, or Hobart with sweet form, or Austin's crisp movements, Mikko's amazing focus, Grahams capacity, Miranda's helpful training tips and overall appeal, Camille doing anything, :) etc.

You guys are awesome. The videos make it all so much more interesting than just seeing a sick time posted.

p.s. I just picked up an Axle this morning after watching some vids Rob posted. Inspirational stuff guys & gals!


wrote …

For example, how about Rob O on the Thanksgiving Day Helen. 7:21?! I thought he was supposed to be a big slow dude? IMPRESSIVE.


wrote …

All I have to say is that all of your videos pump me up. The videos help me visualize what I need to do in my workouts, and if there are any errors in technique on a wod, at least it helps remind me of what the points of performance on the workout should be. These videos helps me become aware of errors that I might make also. Bottom line, all you guys are amazing athletes, Josh Everett introduced me to crossfit back in college and it is the best thing in my life right now.


replied to comment from Brian Watts



wrote …

I think that with the elite versus the average crossfitter the factor that distorts the equation is the intensity. As a trainer, you preach technique, consistency, and then intensity. Obviously these competitors have put in the work on technique (even though there is always room for fine-tuning take the videos where Dave Lipson worked with Coach B) and consistency (in some form of work whether it is fitness or athletics). It is so easy to throw someone into a workout that is timed or better yet pits you against another person and see their form deteriorate. I'd say anybody that has injected a higher level of intensity into their wod or their clients' wod will have had an issue with form breakdown (that's where it becomes our job to pull back the reins). I think it is almost unavoidable even for the elite (and probably more so) because they have developed their bodies to the point that they can "bend the rules" of efficiency to get that win or pr.

Let's say you throw $25,000 on the table and say best deadlift form wins. I believe then you have changed the game from hockey to figure skating. An ugly goal is just as valuable as a pretty goal. There were no style points for how they climbed the rope at the games (and ultimately if they do lack technique and efficiency they will be penalized by wasted effort and lost seconds)

The beauty of the elite athlete also is that they don't look to live within the boundaries, they look to expand the boundaries. They give the rest of us more space to be creative in our own fitness regimen and with how we scale and train others.


wrote …

The very unique thing about CrossFit is the fact that the most elite athletes in the field participate and are active in the community. You get that with NO other sport. Obviously things like basketball and football are on a much larger scale but you don't see Lebron James hanging out and talking to average basketball players who play pick up games or anything along those lines (I know a very extreme example but you see my point). And to address the wod demos, I thought Pat Barber was on to something with some more clarity on the videos on saying the athletes are training a certain way for a specific goal. The average person needs to understand these things and realize it's all about form and technique and know when to sacrifice for intensity. There have definitely been questionable videos put on the main site (for form sake) and I think for the most part it's been under the assumption that people realize form will go with intenstiy even in the most well trained athletes. Now I do think a video like the one that was put up about a month ago with Elyse Umeda (not tryin to pick on her just a good example)could have been used as an example on what not to do. After severe form break down on a deadlift completion, she then went for another one with worse form, and the whole time someone telling here to keep going.


wrote …

Dave C. is so right about the "vocal minority". I have to mind myself of that notion everytime I check out the message board and read how "CrossFit is doing it wrong" or some such. Just because someone has the time for 15000 posts, doesn't it mean they really know anything.

Keep pushing the limits and inspiring us.


replied to comment from Rene Forestier

Sorry. doesn't mean...


wrote …

Rob, don't stop submitting videos! For many of us, you and the other elites let us know what is possible. You guys give us something to shoot for, and when we get close - well, hell, that's a good feeling.

If I want to know what's possible with a bodyweight exercise, I check out Speal. When I want to know what a werewolf wrapped in skin looks like destroying a human workout, I look at Mikko. When I want to see a frigging viking knock out a metcon with a weight that challenges a normal person's max one rep, I watch you.

All of you guys, keep doing what you do. Yeah, you're doing it for many reasons, but at the end of the day, you're doing it for us too.

Thanks, by the way.


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

How difficult would it be to insert commentary (that every trainer associated with HQ is familiar with) regarding what constitutes proper and improper form in a video? It is a very simple process, and would help thousands of CrossFitters in more ways that one.

While I'm impressed with "elite" CrossFitters' performances (big fan, honestly!), it's ridiculous to assume that the average garage-gym CrossFitter logging onto this site (for possibly the first time!) is going to watch these videos, which are front and center as examples of the WOD, and make the distinction that the movements being done by them are somehow different.

If an aspiring athlete typed in a few years ago, clicked a WOD video on the mainsite, watched it, and proceeded to his garage to attempt the workout, he'd often have a great idea what NOT to do!

I don't believe this is true of today's videos, and I think it's an extremely easy (and productive) thing to fix.

Rob, Tommy, Dave... you guys are great athletes, and whether you like it or not, average people are going to try to emulate you, especially after watching videos with pump-up music and awesome feats of strength. Having access to those performances nearly every day on HQ is certainly a step up from years past, but only if those videos are helping far more than they're hurting! Keep up the great efforts, with or without "proper" form - let's just stay accountable, and make an effort to acknowledge our short-comings, or at least our excuses.

And no, this has nothing to do with thrusters instead of jerks, but everything to do with opening the hips, and keeping the lumbar safe. I'm not sure how those two criticisms got conflated in the above video (style vs. safety...), but there's a huge difference.


wrote …

Even when Pat Sherwood is well past his workout prime, he'll still be the best web-rity in CrossFit. All of these guys and gals are fun to watch. I never think of critiquing Peyton Manning's performance because I am amazed at the talent and enjoy the show, same with the current A-list of CrossFit fire breathers.

I would like to see more videos of regular people doing amazing things. Nothing like seeing someone get their first muscle up with there entire box around, cheering them on! I have a client who just turned 60 and finished a scaled version of "Colin" in under 35 minutes! That stuff inspires me too. The mainsite WOD gets maybe 300 posts a day, 10 are from idiots in the truest sense of the meaning and then there are tens of thousands of CrossFitters out there who say nothing, do amazing things and make the community what it is, a great "place" to be.


wrote …

Rob you kind of let me down when you said that if someone posted something negative on your vids it hurt your feelings. Sack up bro and post some more Road Trip videos.


wrote …

I agree with Barber that there needs to be some kind of differentiation between "this is a video of Dave Lipson, Resident Strong Motherf-----, deadlifting 600# and squatting 500#" and "this is a demonstration video of the Crossfit Total for 'average' Crossfitters to use as a reference".

Love what these guys are doing and I agree that the videos are inspirational, but the common gripe with Crossfit is that it promotes poor form and range of motion in the pursuit of faster times and heavier weights. Let's not play right into that--at least not all the time. Keep the videos of these guys up there, but let's also promote the videos of people with the right range of motion/form who may not be quite as fast or quite as strong (i.e. like someone mentioned, Brendan doing the workouts at the old CF Santa Cruz gym).

Keep up the good work. Happy Holidays.

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