Some of us made the transition to CrossFit from a typical big box gym. Shiny equipment, treadmills and leg press machines covered the floors while most times mirrors covered the walls. I’m not one to shun the typical gym scene; I have drawn some positive influences from those places. But one of the ideals that didn’t follow me into my CrossFit career was the idea of looking at myself training in the mirror. Ok, I’m not going to lie I have been known to glance at the mirror sometimes, and maybe even do a quick pec dance, but from a practical standpoint the mirrors don’t offer much.
There are 2 problems with mirrors the way I see it. First, when you’re looking in a mirror, you can only see one plane of view, that being the frontal plane. If, for example you are working on your dead-lift technique, you could easily see in the mirror if your knees extended at the top of the lift. However you would never know, unless you’re fully in tune with your body, whether or not your shoulders ended behind the bar, or if your lumbar spine rounded at any point in the lift. Not to mention you would have to be looking up and craning your neck in order see these things, not a great idea from a standpoint of safety. Secondly, mirrors can create background distractions. How much is the guy lifting behind you? Did the girl in the back of the gym just do a set of box jumps in her bare feet? When you’re working out you should be focused on you, and you alone. Feeding off the environment is great, but you can do that with your eyes focused on your own lift.
Mirrors can tell you a little bit about what’s going on, but in order to improve it takes another set of human eyes. Let the coach take the place of the mirror and let’s make some real progress!