Workout of the Day

Do You Own Your Positions?


It’s one thing to be able to get into or move through a position, perhaps even with some added weight. It’s another thing entirely to own that position.

This idea of “owning” a position is in danger of quickly becoming a bit ungrounded and heady, so let me clarify. I’ve watched many athletes, each drawing on a sizable pool of natural and developed athletic talent, get into a challenging position with relative ease. For the sake of example, let’s look at a handstand. They kick up to inversion without much issue, their shoulder strength and mobility is adequate, and their position and stability look pretty good, too. But the moment an added stimulus is introduced -- controlled breathing, for example -- their position falls apart. I’ve seen the same thing occur when an isometric hold is added to an overhead squat, or when breathing is added to the setup of a deadlift, or when an athlete is asked to move into a position dynamically (as in the receiving position of a clean or snatch). One added piece is all it takes to turn the seemingly sturdy structure into a pile of rubble. This is not owning a position.

So, what does owning a position look like?

1 - Can you breathe fully, nasally, and with your diaphragm in the position?

2 - Can you hold the position for some extended time?

3 - Can you move into the position quickly and maintain the integrity of the position?

4 - Can you move into the position slowly and maintain the integrity of the position?

By no means is this list exhaustive; but if you can answer “yes” to all of the above questions, you likely have pretty good ownership over that position. Answer “no” to any of them, and there’s work to be done.

You may or may not be surprised to hear that I’ve found that most people do not own their positions. Most gym-goers, even those with a number of years of experience under their belt, have made a strong habit of hustling through positions that they don’t actually have much ownership over.

So sure, you can perform some overhead squats; but aren’t you really just rushing from one unstable position to another until you can hurriedly put the bar down and return to stability and safety? Slow things down, add in breathing, hold for a few seconds, or get there with speed, and suddenly the experienced athlete looks like a beginner.

Remember that learning and being able to perform a movement is only the first step. 1 year, 5 years, or 15 years in, I’m willing to bet there’s still work to be done.

- PS


  • 22 min AMRAP

    • 30 cal row

    • 30 single arm KB push press (53/35)

    • 3 rope climb ascents