I started CrossFit in 2010 at CrossFit Malibu I took my level 1 before I finished my OnRamp, I started coaching 4 months later. I thought I knew everything about CrossFit then only now do i realize I had so much to learn still. While CrossFit HQ has done a great job of creating content to educate athletes, and has been doing so since early 2000’s many people still have plenty of interesting ideas about what CrossFit is about. So many athletes have not read the journal and have not yet learned the basic tenets that were laid out in those early articles coach Glassman wrote. While I won’t dive into them here. If you have not read “What is CrossFit”, “Foundations” or “What is Fitness”; i encourage you to do so. The information found in these three early articles by coach Glassman contain basically everything you need to know to improve your life and increase your fitness. In the following article I chose 3 basic ideas from these articles that are still misunderstood by the population at large and offer my own take on each
CrossFit workouts are always different in fact one of the primary drivers of programs success is the constantly varied nature of the work outs. However to many on the outside. The “Constantly varied” feature is perceived as randomness. This is untrue. A good coach can balance the benefits of workouts that always change in nature, time domain and modality; along with the benefits of progressive overload in a planned progression. Simply choosing truly at random what you want to do on a given day in a given work out is a recipe for stagnation and in some cases it increases the chance of injury. Vary the muscles, movements, time domains, loading, and volume but do so in a way that makes sense and progresses over time in a manageable way. This plan should also allow for recovery periods and build upon it self over a specified period of time. At Renegade Athletics we do this on a yearly basis keeping in mind new members and varying schedules. The result is that each person who maintains a basic level of consistency over the course of a year can expect see consistent results month after month and year after year.
Men will die for points
An old quote by Coach Glassman. It refers to our tendency at CrossFit Gyms to post our results from each work out and compare them between other members of the class or gym. Implemented properly this leaderboarding activity can serve as a great benefit pushing us when we might otherwise have stopped short of our capability. The few extra reps, pounds, or extra intensity we can gain from seeing what others have posted and know that our scores will be posted as well can lead to large increases in fitness over time as these performances are turned consistently over time. Using the scoreboard to improve our performances is good. If the scoreboard discourages, or creates envy or pushes us to cheat reps to “get a better score” then it is disadvantageous.
For some the scoreboard is abused only concerned with having the “Top score” in the gym and not worried about making progress over time. When your work out is only “ good” if you “win” then your are in for a world of hurt in the long run and whats worse is you might turn off others and yourself in time as the competition becomes the focus of every workout instead of progress and improvement.
CrossFit is Constantly Varied , Functional Movement, Performed at High Intensity.
We have already learned about what Constantly Varied is. Functional movement probably needs an explanation as well, however the last part of the description is perhaps the most misunderstood component of CrossFit. My favorite modification to the description is CrossFit is Constantly Varied, Functional Movement, Performed at “Relativily” High Intensity. This key word, relative, is important. It means that high intensity for one person is different than high intensity for another. This concept is in some of Coach Glassmans original journal articles he commented. “ An olympic athlete and and a grandmothers needs differ by degree not kind” This simply means that we all need similar things like squats. Grandma needs to squat to keep her mobility and quality of life an athlete needs to squat to improve performance in their chosen sport. Confusing the two leads to injury for the grandma and underperformance for the athlete. A good coach can guide each individual athlete to the appropriate dosage for them. Good athlete worry only about their dosage and not others.
In the end CrossFit is about improving work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Or put simpler making you pretty good at most things. This approach to fitness not only increase performance in sports, but in life as well. It improves you health and your mindset protecting you from chronic diseases and allowing you to enjoy life more. As coach Glass man once said “Focus on the basics, and when you have mastered those,, start over, and this time pay closer attention.”