Strength & Fitness

Common cues and what they mean

As coaches, we want to make sure all the people in our classes are moving as safely and as efficiently as possible. The more efficient that you move, the faster you can move, as well as, the more weight you can move! This can lead to working at a higher intensity, which can produce better and quicker results!

So how do we get you to move more efficiently? We will provide you with verbal cues. This is one of the quickest ways to correct movement in the moment. You certainly wouldn’t want me to stop you in the middle of the WOD and explain in great detail what you are doing and how I want you to change it, would you? 

Most likely, no. (I hope so anyway lol) 

Throughout classes, we are constantly giving each of you various cues based on what we see. But what exactly do they mean? How are they benefitting you? I am going to talk about a few of the most common ones that you may hear, and give you some understanding as to why we are cueing you.

“Knees out.”

Probably every coach's favorite and most used cue. I have no doubt that every single one of you has heard this in your time at our gym or any CrossFit gym. While it does get used a lot, it is effective and will allow you to move more efficiently.

“But Matt, why do my knees need to be out?”

Wonderful question. When squatting, we want you to actively be pushing your knees out over your toes. If you are doing a push press or push jerk, your knees should be pushing out. Even when you deadlift, your knees should be slightly tracking out. 

When your knees track out, it helps to properly engage some of the BIG muscles in the rear and on the sides of your legs. If your knees track only forward and in front of your toes, you will be relying predominantly on your quad muscles. Don’t get me wrong, having jacked quads is great. BUT, you have more to work with on your posterior chain. Recruiting the proper muscles will allow you to be stronger and more powerful with various movements. 

“Head through the window.”

Another very common cue that you all have probably heard. This one is typically being used when performing any type of overhead movement, such as the press, thrusters, and handstands.

Imagine that your arms are the “window” and you want to push your head between your arms. It promotes being in a stronger position as opposed to being in a weaker position and having the weight too far forward. 

When in an overhead position, we want to think about keeping our hands, elbows, shoulders, and hips all in line, while also maintaining our lumbar curve. This also ensures that you are finishing each rep and have a proper lockout. 

Those were only two of the many different cues you may hear, but hopefully, this gave you some better insight into why we use cues and what they are meant to do. Always think about how you are moving at how certain things feel. This will give you better insight and may allow you to become more efficient with your movement. If you have any questions, ask your coach! We are always happy to help and want all of our members to move as efficiently as possible! 

Matt Kaitchuck

Coach/OnBoarding Specialist