Relax Your Face (Thu 8/19/10)

By August 18, 2010CFMC Blog Archives

no images were found

Having trouble with that deadlift, snatch, or shoulder press PR? Here’s a simple tip I picked up from a travelling CrossFitter: relax the muscles in your face. I wasn’t given any explanation as to why this helps, but I assure you that it does. I was doing full snatches with her that day, and every time I went for anything over 95 lbs I would tense up my face as if I were standing in front of a firing squad consisting of ten 12-year olds wielding snowballs, and the leader had just shouted “aim”. I was having issues with the snatch (hence the low weight), and yet when I let my face relax everything fell into place.

I don’t know exactly why this works, but I do have a theory. My theory is that when you tense up your face you’re preparing for the worst, hardest, most painful thing you can possibly imagine, and that in turn tells your body that whatever you’re about to experience will be horrible, painful and extremely difficult. Then your body tenses up EVERYWHERE to brace against this impending catastrophe, and the result is that nothing in your body can move efficiently and you end up proving all your pre-lift fears true. When you relax your face, you aren’t sending that signal of “holy crap this is going to hurt” to the rest of your body, none of that resulting whole-body over-tension occurs, and your body is free to move unimpeded the way it was intended to.

So relax your face, Dave. I promise there aren’t a bunch of 12-year olds getting ready to pelt you with snowballs standing in front of you. It’s just me with a camera, and you should be used to that by now.


Overhead Squat 5×3



21-15-9 reps for time of:

Deadlift (225/183)
Handstand Pushups


20 Windmills (kettlebells) – each hand