The Power of Your Will

“The hardship of the exercises is intended less to strengthen the back than to toughen the mind. The Spartans say that any army may win while it still has its legs under it; the real test comes when all strength is fled and the men must produce victory on will alone.”

― Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

I don’t know if any of you out there have ever read this book…but you should.  It is a historical fiction novel about the lead up to and execution of the Battle of Thermopylae.  I’ve read it twice and I am sure I will read it again.  There is so much packed into this book that it is difficult to explain it easily.  The characters are rich and the story focuses on the human experiences within ancient battles and the hardships and courage (and sometimes cowardice) born from faces great challenges.

This passage fits with what we do as Crossfitters so well I had to use it.  There are so many times that we watch people as coaches and focus so much on form and function and the nuances of people’s movement that we can get lost in the triumph of will over physical limitation.  Often the difference between who will and who will not take to Crossfit is determined by who can keep going after their body tells them to stop.   This is, in my humble opinion, where we get the stigma that we just want to go fast and don’t give a shit about form. 

But those of us who do this know that when you lose your legs you have to focus and dig deep to make that form and technique work.  Fall back on our training.  In almost every workout there is a point at which  you must produce you victory in a workout through will alone.

- Scott Landrum, Crossfit Incognito