What the heck is VIRTUOSITY?!
Virtuosity is a word that CrossFit adopted as one of their creeds early on. We don't often hear about it much anymore so I wanted to shed some light on this oldie, but a goodie.
Virtuosity simply means: Performing the common uncommonly well.
Chew on that for a minute. Like really think about it. It's a cool concept.
Let's look at a simple movement such as an air squat. An air squat is performed daily by every human on the planet. We have to squat to sit down, We have to squat to go to the bathroom, we have to squat to pick things up and put things down. We squat and bend over all day long.
One of my favorite places to watch people is the airport. Next time you go to the airport, watch people walk around and watch when they sit. Do they track their knees over their toes or do they basically collapse when they sit down. And how do they stand up from that position? Do they push through their heals and drive the knees outward with purpose, keeping a vertical torso? Or do they basically lean on something, such as the arm rest, or better yet, their own knees, to help themselves up?
Any CrossFitter, with more than 4 weeks experience will show none of the above weaknesses when they sit down or stand up from a sitting position. It is impressive when identified out in the world. It is to me anyway. And I can see it from a mile away.
There is a deeper creed in CrossFit that also doesn't get much attention anymore either, and that is: We should not be EXPERTS at any one thing, yet we should be GOOD at all things. This explores Virtuosity a bit more. Virtuosity suggests that we should do the common, uncommonly well. Remember this, uncommonly well does not mean EXPERT.
Let's look at one WOD example.
DIANE is 21/15/9 of heavy deadlifts and handstand pushups. A very strong athlete that lacks the ability to execute handstand pushups fluidly, will crush the deads, but end up burning up so much time and energy on the wall that his/her score will suffer. Opposite that, a very agile gymnast, will crush the HSPU's but get stuck doing singles on the the heavy deads and also see his/her score suffer. Alas, the athlete who has decent strength, and moderate gymnastic skills will be able to break this up smart in thirds, and handily beat the above two athletes.
So although Virtuosity says we must perform the common uncommonly well, we must also not spend too much time getting REALLY GREAT at any one thing, but practice our deficiencies so that we are GOOD at all things!
Till next time, don't cherry pick!