Thursday 150312

For time:
Run 1.5 miles

Post times to comments and BTWB

TBT to Eric K. and Jim D. competing in the FRCF Masters Competition.

TBT to Eric K. and Jim D. competing in the FRCF Masters Competition.

Want to get up off the toilet by yourself when you’re 80 years old? Start squatting below parallel when you’re 30 years old. Trust me. By Courtney Shepherd

A few days ago I was accused of being mean. That’s right, you heard me, mean. Following a workout an athlete came up to me and said, “Dang girl, you’re mean today.” You would think I might be upset, or at least concerned about what it was I did to this athlete to earn the distinction “mean”. Well I’m not upset, and I know exactly what I did. And I’d do it again.

I relentlessly made this athlete, along with an entire class, for 20 whole minutes, squat below parallel. Yeah, that happened.

Now, I hope at this point you realize that, while this really was said to me, that it was said with humor. This athlete may have disliked me in the moment for lovingly reminding them often to get lower in their squats, but they know my constant nagging is out of a desire to see them get stronger, healthier, and live a longer, more productive life. Wait a tic. What’s that you say? Squatting below parallel isn’t just something CrossFit Games made up to help establish guidelines for a “no rep” during a workout? Nope, they sure didn’t. (Yes, I realize I’m having a conversation with myself. . . publicly, for all you to enjoy) Long before the Crossfit Games came to light CrossFit was teaching the air squat as one of it’s foundational, functional movements. A point of performance for this movement is that the hip crease gets below the knee crease, also known as getting below parallel.  Why does CrossFit teach it this way? Because that is what life demands of us. Life demands at times that we set our butt down on something that is lower to the ground, and I’ll be darned if at some point in time later life asks us to get our butts up. We want to be able to do this without the help of someone or something else. So CrossFit is preparing us for life. 

The squat is my favorite foundational, functional movement because you see it in so many other things. You see it in the thruster, snatch, clean, overhead squat, wall ball, and more. We do a workout with 150 wall balls in it, and after it kicks our butt we rack our brain trying to figure out how to get better at wall balls, but very few of us will actually say, “I bet if I worked to improve my squat I would also improve my wall balls.” I’m not talking about throwing weights on a bar and squatting our brains out. I’m talking about sitting back in our heals, driving our knees over our toes, and keeping our chest upright as we squat below parallel. Taking time to perfect the air squat translates to those sexier movements we all want so bad, like a heavier snatch or clean. 

The squat is also my favorite for it’s presence in everyday life. My Nana use to live in an assisted living facility. When I would visit, I couldn’t use her private bathroom because it had a 2 foot booster seat on top of the toilet. The facility put this there for my Nana because she had long ago lost the ability to sit down and stand up without assistance. She lost her functional ability to squat. CrossFit was not in my life at a time I could have helped make a difference in my Nana’s. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish it would have been. I would have loved to have visited Nana and done silly things with her like sit down and stand up, now do it holding this phone book. She wouldn’t have known it at the time but she would have been working on doing squats with a little bit of weight. She would have been doing CrossFit. 

I know it seems “mean” to hear my obnoxiously loud and raspy voice booming across the room, “get lower in that squat for me”, but I obviously don’t see it as mean. I see it as keeping you healthy and functional, so that when you are 80 no one puts a 2 foot booster seat on your toilet and it freaks out your grandkids. 

In short, you’re welcome.

*Stay tuned this Saturday for a huge list of upcoming events at Verve. They are pretty sweet.

*Don’t forget, this Sunday at 12pm is the 3rd installment of the Basic Self Defense Course.


  1. Danni :

    Love this pic of Jim and Eric! Great post too! 🙂

  2. Ali :

    Great pic! I love Eric and Jim! You guys are amazing!

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