I know I’ve said that form is important … and it is. But I still am going to bitch about Superman.

I never thought I’d learn to dislike Superman, but the SOB is all up in my CrossFit business. Everything you do seems to require the iconic chest out, shoulders back, head up, stomach sucked in and stick up the … okay, maybe that’s overstating it a little.

Take the medicine ball shrug, which, for all its mild-mannered appearance, is actually a supervillain.  You squat down to pick up the ball, take it by its sides with your hands and try to grip it tightly. Then you shrug your shoulders. No big, right?

Wrong. The medicine ball is bigger than a basketball, and to shrug it, you keep your arms straight. For someone with minimal tummy mass, not a problem. For someone who already has a basketball permanently affixed to her abdomen, you’ve got to hold that sucker out to clear the obstacle. The tendency, then, is to hunch or to cheat it up with your arms by letting your elbows bend out to the sides. Nope. That’s wrong. Instead, you’re supposed to keep a Superman pose the whole damn time and keep your arms straight.

Then there are ring rows. If you just\ “ring rows,” you’ll see all sorts of crazy horizontal stuff; that’s not what I do (yet — maybe in five years?). This babystep version of ring rows gives you a good idea of what it is:

Lock out your shoulders so you don’t jerk them out of position, tighten your abs and butt, and, you guessed it, stay in Superman pose. He shows up in the overhead press, squats, the situp and even the knee push-ups.

So why so much emphasis on Superman pose? Unfortunately, I know the answer which is why I can’t tell the big blue guy to take a hike. (Hey, wait, that sounds more like The Tick. He’s much harder to take seriously; maybe I should consider being more like him.)

Anyway, the point of the Superman pose is to keep your spine in a neutral position, preventing injuries. Look at any page with an illustration of the proper posture, and “Look, it’s a bird, it’s a plane–no, it’s Superman.”

Although without the six-pack abs and the ridiculous leotard. Really, who dresses these guys?


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