What is CrossFit? (And why should you be doing it?)
What is CrossFit?A strength and conditioning program built upon constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity. Who uses this stuff? • Military Special Ops units • Firefighters • Police • Professional and Collegiate Athletes • Mixed Martial Artists• Hopefully you, your kids, and your parents.
It has long been our contention, our observation, that people’s needs differ by degree, not kind.Olympic athletes and our grandparents both need to fulfill their potentials for cardio-respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, power, coordination, accuracy, balance, and agility. One is looking for functional dominance; the other is looking for functional competence. Competence and dominance manifest and optimize through identical physiological mechanisms. We scale our program by altering rest, load, intensity, etc. while utilizing the same exercises for everyone whenever possible. -Greg Glassman CrossFit Founder
What is Fitness? Fitness Model 1 Identification and development of 10 general physical skills:1. Cardio Vascular and cardio respiratory endurance –gas exchange2. Stamina –muscular endurance3. Strength4. Flexibility Each of these four skills are organic, produce changes in muscle tissue that can be seen and measured, and are improved through training.5. Power6. Speed These two are improved through both training and practice and need both for proper development.7. Coordination8. Accuracy9. Agility10. Balance The last four are neurological and are improved through practice. The degree to which a training program addresses each of these physical adaptations to training is expressive of its efficacy. 1.
Fitness Model 2The second model is statistical and is a measure of an athleteperforming well at any physical test thrown his or her way. Load ahopper with athletic tasks and the better athlete is able to do more ofthem better than the inferior athlete. CrossFit is designed for thistype of general physical preparation. Life, on average, punishes thespecialist. The more specialized you are, the less cross-adaptedyou are likely to be in other measures of physical prowess.Elite endurance athletes are often looked upon as the prototypes ofelite fitness. Models 1 and 2 clearly debunk that prototype. Eliteendurance athletes exhibit few of the physical skills of the first modeland would fare poorly against the hopper. 1.
"CrossFit is in large part derived from several simple observationsgarnered through hanging out with athletes for thirty years andwillingness, if not eagerness, to experiment coupled with a totaldisregard for conventional wisdom. Let me share some of the moreformative of these observations:1. Gymnasts learn new sports faster than other athletes.2. Olympic lifters can apply more useful power to more activities than other athletes.3. Powerlifters are stronger than other athletes.4. Sprinters can match the cardiovascular performance ofendurance athletes even at extended efforts.5. Endurance athletes are woefully lacking in total physical capacity.6. With high carb diets you either get fat or weak.7. Bodybuilders can’t punch, jump, run, or throw like athletes can.8. Segmenting training efforts delivers a segmented capacity.9. Optimizing physical capacity requires training at unsustainable intensities.10. The world’s most successful athletes and coaches rely on exercise science the way deer hunters rely on the accordion." -Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder
World Class Fitness in 100 WordsEat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, somefruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake tolevels that will support exercise but not body fat.Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean,squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly,master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips,rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses tohandstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds.Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five orsix days per week mix these elements in asmany combinations and patterns as creativitywill allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workoutsshort and intense. Regularly learn and play newsports. -From www.CrossFit.com
How We Do It • Functional Movement – Common Universal Recruitment Patterns. – Universally Scalable. • Constant Variation – Routine is the enemy. • High Intensity – Uncomfortable • Quantifiable Outputs– Horsepower, Watts, etc. Why isn’t anyone else talking about this?
Quantifiable OutputsDiane: 21-15-9 reps of 225# Deadlift followed by Handstand Pushups -Mark stands about 6 feet tall and weighs about 210 pounds. His best time for ‘Diane’ is just over 2.5 minutes. 225# + 105# x 2 feet x 45 reps = 29,700 foot-pounds of work 210# x 1 foot x 45 reps = 9,450 foot pounds of work. 29,700 + 9,450 = 39,150 foot pounds of work. -divide that by 2.5 minutes = 354 wattsBench Press: 3 sets x 10 reps x 225# x 1.5 feet = 10,125 foot-pounds - divide that by 2.5 minutes = 92 watts
IntensityWe can measure intensity because we can measure power. Power is a function ofForce and Distance over Time (M x D / T). It is undeniable that an increase inpower results in an increase in intensity. To increase power, you can increase massand/or distance, or decrease time. Manipulating any one of these factors to increasepower must result in an increase in intensity.Intensity is all about hard and fast. Power is an issue wherever velocity isimportant. Exercise success is based on intensity. INTENSITY IS WHERE THERESULTS ARE. Functional movements move from core to extremity and cantolerate high loads and move them long distances in a short amount of time.The movements are powerful in that they allow a lot of work to be done in a shortamount of time. In this discussion, power = intensity. Without power andintensity, the neuro-endocrine response is blunted. There is a potent neuro-endocrine response to each of the movements that we do in CrossFit. Thishormonal response is systemic and effects the entire body through a cascade ofbiochemical products that are released as the result of the compound, functionalmovements executed at high intensity. 1.
Movement Pool • Weightlifting/Power Lifting – Dead lifts, clean, squat, presses, jerks, snatch. • Gymnastics– Pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, handstands. • Monostructural Cardio – Run, bike, row, swim, jump rope.
The Magic is in the Movements!Unlike the pec deck, leg extensions, curls, and lateral raises which you never see in the realworld, the athletic field, or combat, functional movements are not the exclusive property of thegym. If the only place you do a particular movement is at the gym, it probably doesn’t haveparticularly potent transfer to the challenges of sport and life outside the gym. Functionalmovements are universal motor patterns that you find your every day life. Putting the heavydog food bag on the shelf over the washing machine is every bit the clean and jerk as doingthe movement with a barbell.Proper muscle recruitment is like a symphony. Training in segmented fashion develops asegmented capacity. You must not try to develop your muscles separately but rather in thefashion in which they are designed to be used.Functional movements are common, universal motor recruitment patterns, the things yousee and use all the time. Functional movements are efficient and effective. They are notsingle-joint movements but rather multi-joint movements. They are safe, develop verypowerful and useful core strength, provide tremendous neuro-endocrine response, and arethe best cardio and best rehab training you can do. .
Progression • Mechanical Competency – Virtuosity. Doing the common, uncommonly well • Consistency • Intensity– This is where the results are hidden! If your workouts areproducing little or no results then your dose response curve is flat. We fail at the margin of our experiences. –Greg Glassman . Adapted from Eugene Allen’s CrossFit Certification Notes from February 2006
Can You Keep or Gain Muscle Mass with CrossFit?If you train the WODs hard, and eat right and get lots of sleep, you willdefinitely gain lean mass, lose fat, and yes, you can build muscle mass withthe CrossFit protocol. More specifically, according to Coach,Here is a hierarchy of training for mass from greater to lesser efficacy:1. Bodybuilding on steroids2. CrossFitting on steroids3. CrossFitting without steroids4. Bodybuilding without steroidsThe bodybuilding model is designed around, requires, steroids for significanthypertrophy. The neuro-endocrine response of bodybuilding protocols is soblunted that without "exogenous hormonal therapy" little happens. TheCrossFit protocol is designed to elicit a substantial neuro-endocrine whollopand hence packs an anabolic punch that puts on impressive amounts ofmuscle though that is not our concern. Strength is.Natural bodybuilders (the natural ones that are not on steroids) neverapproach the mass that our athletes do. They dont come close.Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those whovalue form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training. 2.2. From www.CrossFit.com
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