What is CrossFit…Part II or Stop the Hate!

There are many articles like the following that are making the rounds on the internet (http://erinsimmonsfitness.me/2014/04/17/why-i-dont-do-crossfit/)…I have no problem with people having an opinion and I am actually glad to see that this article has so much research put into place to make her claim.

My initial knee-jerk reaction to articles such as these is…CrossFit is growing and cutting into the lucrative personal training market by giving people the opportunity to get quality coaching in a group setting thus driving the cost down.  So we might as well bash it and get our google rank up.  (That is knee jerk…I usually calm down and put together my thoughts and those are what follow…)

I then went on to read all the comments on this particular blog and noticed a dangerous misconception about what it and what isn’t CrossFit.  Many people will say that I am just another kool-aid drinker and that I need to have some sense knocked into me.  Maybe I am, but maybe I am just a coach that truly believes CrossFit methods can achieve results for the majority of the general population when implemented CORRECTLY.

The crux of her article rests in the notion that in order for a program to be a “true” CrossFit program they must perform a) Olympic Lifts at b) heavy load for c)too many reps which leads to degradation of form and increased injuries.  Three pieces that are required to be a part of a legitimate CrossFit program.  Based on the comments a program that does not have that single element is not a true CrossFit.

That tells me that the author does not have a true understanding of what is and what is not CrossFit.  (You can also read my previous post about defining CrossFit here.) But there are some tenets of CrossFit that every good coach in CrossFit follows.  They are, put as simply as possible

I. Learn solid technique first

II. Be able to demonstrate quality technique at light loads.

III.  Increase load OR intensity depending on the desired goals for the workout

These are the basis of our training at the BodyLab CrossFit.  This is where all things start and end.  Are Olympic lifts a part of CrossFit training…yes.  Are they mandatory…not really.  An affiliate does not have to do them in order to still be considered a CrossFit gym.

So what exactly are we talking about when we talk about high rep, olympic movements.  More than likely we are speaking of workouts like “Isabelle” or “Grace”.  These workouts both require 30 reps of either a Snatch or Clean and Jerk for time.  So let’s take just a minute and explore what exactly these workouts are.

What are the Ladies of CrossFit?

The ladies of CrossFit or named workouts are the benchmark workouts for CrossFit.  These are the workouts that are a manner of testing the training we put in.  In my mind, they are on par with knowing what your max lift numbers are.  That means that they are not to be done all the time.  They are meant to be done at specific intervals to test and see if your training is giving you the results that you desire.

For the CrossFitter and hopefully the person that is in charge of programming for their affiliate, that is how they frame these workouts.  Once every couple of months, you perform a workout like this.  And yes, you risk injury, just as you would if you were to attempt a max back squat, bench press or any other lift.  These workouts are meant to be done rarely and with a load that will test your fitness.  These benchmarks are what you train for…they are the game that you practice all week to play in.  They are a CrossFitters marathon if you will allow that analogy.  We train week in and week out to see how well we can do on one of the ladies.  We get our score and go back to training.

Just as the marathon runner does not put in 26.2 miles everyday to prepare, a CrossFit affiliate is not asking their athletes to do these workouts day in and day out, if they are worth your money.

That leads me back to the other issue that I have with these articles.  They want to put all CrossFits into the same mold.  When we are all drastically different and it is up to the consumer to find which one works that best for them.  They need to talk to the coaches (because there are bad one’s out there and there are phenomenal one’s out there).  To put all the blame on the system is to remove any ounce of personal responsibility.

Please stop the hate…if you see ways CrossFit can be better, offer up suggestions or come sit down and talk with me.  I am always looking to improve!