A CrossFit athlete participates in a CrossFit workout


All of the movements we utilize at TBCF each day have one thing in common: they’re all functional–they prepare us to handle real-life situations.  The thread that ties many of these functional movements together is the concept of skill transfer.

Let’s examine two common areas where skill transfer is so important to an athlete’s development.

First, the hips.  Power cleans, box jumps, push presses, and wall balls, just to name a few, are all different exercises that share one vital component: the necessity of learning properly using our hips to power the movements.

If an athlete learns to properly express power through the hips on box jump day, that skill will carry-over to properly expressing power through the hips on push press day.  On the other side of the coin, if an athlete exhibits poor hip function on either box jump or push press day, that, too, will carry-over.  

A CrossFit athlete participates in a CrossFit workout

Proper shoulder mechanics are another area where the concept of skill transfer is important to understand.  Let’s take a look at two different movements that target our shoulders: strict barbell presses and handstand push-ups.  

Just as with the hip-oriented movements we discussed earlier, they share common themes.  TBCF athletes have often heard our coaches tell them to make sure they’re maintaining active shoulders, with their armpits facing forward. 

Even though the strict press and handstand push-up are different movements, remembering these two key points of performance help make sure our shoulders stay healthy and that we improve at both.  

Understanding the symbiotic nature of everything we do in CrossFit is why it’s so important to remember that each rep of each movement is practice.  We are always teaching our bodies to either do things the right way or the wrong way.  

Remembering the concept of skill transfer and how everything impacts everything else is one of the things that will help us continually improve, even when we don’t realize it.

About the Author 

Edward Getterman is a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3) and the owner of Twin Bridges CrossFit in Waco, Texas. If he can’t be at the gym or at home, he’d prefer to be at Walt Disney World. He loves deadlifts, hates running, and believes above all else that CrossFit is for everyone.

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