Firstly we must look at what CrossFit actually is? CrossFit is an amalgamation of many different forms of training, including gymnastic style training, metabolic conditioning, circuit training, and Olympic weightlifting. Let me first clarify that none of these are new forms of exercise; they have been used for years.
During my time as a strength & rugby coach, I have been skeptical about CrossFit. Still, as I had never bothered talking to an educated CrossFit coach or attended one of their sessions, I only knew what I saw on YouTube videos, which, as everyone knows, does not paint a beautiful picture for CrossFit.
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The types of training employed by CrossFit produce extremely athletic individuals, which is proven and beyond dispute. Rich Froning and Sam Briggs’ likes bring a new level of ultimate athleticism. Not only does CrossFit produce well-conditioned all-around functionally strong athletes, but CrossFit has also brought athletes closer in touch with improved mobility and soft tissue work than ever before. From a strength and conditioning point of view, this is refreshing as I hope more of my athletes have the athleticism, knowledge, and enthusiasm to focus on what they do outside the gym as much as they focus on what they are doing in the gym.
Now to deal with this dark shadow hiding in the corner of the name CrossFit. Why is there more out ridiculing CrossFit and people’s way of training? Well, in my opinion, it is down to coaching. As a coach, I sometimes see other coaches performing ridiculous movements and exercises that they believe will add something extra to their athletes’ development.
Well, I’m sorry, but what you’re getting your obviously clueless athlete to do is both embarrassing on the athlete’s side (for allowing this to be done to them) but more so on the supposed professional, who is disgracing the profession and giving the gym/establishment a bad name.
Something that I find entirely insane is one can become a certified Lvl 1 CrossFit coach by completing a two-day course and a multiple-answer questionnaire. I don’t need to go into this further; if you believe a two-day course gives anyone the right to be deemed a coach is seriously misguided. Now, this is not exclusively CrossFit, and anyone can make this mistake.
Unfortunately, there is more information out there about CrossFit’s apparent faults than any other form of training as there are more people taking part in this form of exercise and additional gyms opening up daily. The more opportunity for something to go wrong, the more chance it will. What CrossFit has done well is learned from different training modalities drawing on knowledge from coaches outside the CrossFit ranks.
For example, in the UK, CrossFit uses well-established athletes and coaches from British Weightlifting to improve their programming and lifting technique knowledge. Some training modalities used by CrossFit are more conducive to producing broken athletes with the likes of High-Intensity High Volume and Heavy lifts under fatigue. If an athlete has worked up to the volume safely and efficiently and is preparing for a competition (like the CrossFit Games), why is that any different from other forms of training leading up to high volume.
- ? Well rounded athletes
- ? Varying Intensity
- ? A variety of training
- ? More chance of competing and inclusivity
- ? Excellent for military, police, fire-fighters anyone with unforeseeable challenges.
- ? Community environment to encourage and motivate.
- ? Increased knowledge on soft tissue and mobility work
- ? Increasing the popularity of Olympic Weightlifting.
- ❌ High repetition and High Intensity
- ❌ Heavy lifts under fatigue
- ❌ Throwing people in at the deep end
- ❌ Failing to ensure technical mastery
The coach’s failure to ensure technical mastery is a mistake again. YouTube videos only highlight the coach’s failure and do not prove a form of training endorsed by a company is wrong.
I will conclude that CrossFit has done wonders for Olympic weightlifting in our country and many other countries by increasing the sport’s popularity and, therefore, increasing the number of people taking part in the sport.
- Gerhart DH, Bayles MP. A comparison of crossfit training to traditional anaerobic resistance training in terms of selected fitness domains representative of overall athletic performance. International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings. 2014;9(2).
- Bailey B, Bruner M. “Investigating the Organizational Culture of CrossFit.” Journal of Exercise, Movement, and Sport. https://www.scapps.org/jems/index.php/1/article/view/1157. Vol 47 No 1. 2015.
- Weisenthal BM, Beck CA, Maloney MD, DeHaven KE, Giordano BD. Injury rate and patterns among crossfit athletes. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2014;2(4):232596711453117. doi:10.1177/2325967114531177