Monday, October 27, 2014

Ballet to Barbells: Using a Mirror

As a dancer I grew up constantly using the mirror to check my form and movements.

Now I work at two very well coached CrossFit gyms and there are no mirrors.

Between these experiences were gym, studios and dojos with various mirror having capabilities. Obviously, no mirrors in a judo dojo, that could get dangerous quick. Mirrors lines every wall of the student REC center and every 24 Hour Fitness I encountered.

Arguments For Mirrors

First and foremost, it's nice to see that your form is right when you execute a movements. Corners with mirrors are nice because typically you can situate yourself in a way to see your profile while not having to crane your neck. And let's face it, a neutral neck is obviously ideal, but doing a few practice reps with a turned or lifted head while at light weight isn't going to be a problem.

Several times, I've had to take an on boarding client to see their reflection in the window of a neighboring building. Sometimes, even after video proof of a wonky position, they can't make the right adjustments. Seeing the cause and effect in real time through their reflection makes things click.

Also, who doesn't like how their muscles look after a hard workout? It can be a rush. And you might say "Oh, I look terrible, my hair is all messy and I'm sweating every where," but just under the surface you're thinking, "Fuck yeah. I worked my ass off and you can tell!"

Arguments Against Mirrors

The obvious argument in CrossFit is that we aren't body builders and exercise isn't performance art. (Yeah, tell that to all those Insta-famous peeps.) You should be focusing on function over physique and not wasting you time gazing at your reflection.
Not a CrossFitter. 

And having taught ballet classes in the past, I can tell you that it can be tough to get student attention when they are futzing with their hair or clothes in the mirror. And even in my dance studios, they would hang a curtain in front of the mirror in the month or two before a performance to make sure you weren't too reliant on it.

There is also the expense associated with putting them in and replacing then WHEN they get broken. Any gym that has bumper plates (meaning the bars WILL be dropped) and medicine balls that are intended to throw are going to be a danger zone for any surface covered in glass. Why put that much money down on something that should only be used during the learning phase.

My Favorite Mirror Use Experience

I used to have a few clients at DIAKADI. What they did, instead of attaching mirrors to the walls, they had a few full length mirrors on rolling stands. So if you needed to use a mirror with a client for form check and teaching something new, you could roll one over. Then turn it around the the non-mirror side when done. You could even angle a couple of them so that the client could see themselves in profile for movements like hinges and squats.

They were generally tucked in a nook out of the way, or flipped around with the mirror towards the wall when not in use. Kept them from being distracting. I'd love to see more gyms implement this use of mirrors. It would certainly make it easier for some of our "proprioceptively challenged" clients and members to get what we keep harping on them to do.
Stop standing like an asshole!
Your rounded T-spine makes you look like a goddamn desk jockey!

1 comment:

  1. i see your ideas i am also expert in ballet .. . . .
    thanks for share you post more great blogs in future . . . .

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