"What's Your Thoughts On Crossfit..?"
I get asked this question a lot..
I guess it’s a juicy one because i run a fitness business that is not a Crossfit box
Back in the day my response would’ve echoed that of any other crossfit-hater – “It’s stupid.. You can’t combine olympic lifts and running..”… Or
“Physio’s designed Crossfit so they could ensure they would have unlimited supply of clients..”
That was back when i had pretty much zero understanding of what Crossfit actually was
When I started my journey as a Coach I realised that this was a pretty ignorant attitude to have.. I decided to go and get my Level 1 Crossfit Certification
Having been through the generic PT certs and an Australian Weightlifting Certification course I was keen to expand my repertoire.. The Crossfit course took one full weekend and after that – assuming you passed the final test – you were allowed to go and coach it
First off – I liked that there was potential to fail the course..
Most of the study i had done until then pretty much guaranteed you a certificate once you paid your fees
I got stuck into the reading material they send (a hefty-sized stack of paper) and squirreled around the online Journal.. I soon came to feel that the Crossfit methodology was actually pretty awesome
It’s concise.. Clear in it’s approach.. It’s beliefs.. Easily applicable to groups.. Time efficient.. Well thought out… Simplistic.. Some of Greg Glassman’s blog posts from over the years are spot on too..
I was pretty much sold on it at that point..
At the same time i was mixing my training up and doing some sessions with Crossfit die-hard buddies of mine, working on muscle ups, snatches, super high intensity conditioning etc. The typical vomit-session
Because if you don’t want to blow chunks at the end, you didn’t train hard enough.. right?
I was also training BJJ at that time – i had my blue belt back then – and i found it hard to make the two practices complement one another.. The crossfit workouts fucking smashed me, every time.. They left me sore as hell.. But they were fun, and i was pretty decent at it
BJJ is intense stuff too – particularly at a time when i was trying to beat the world at every session as a blue belt.. Energy and recovery wise they didn’t go so well together
The BJJ guys i was rolling with would love to hang shit on Crossfit – “You cant burpee your way out of an arm-bar bro!”
Fair call i suppose –
My training continued to evolve over the years and my short lived infatuation with Crossfit waned.. I appreciated the intensity but found that something about it just didn’t fit with my belief system.. I liked going hard.. But I also wanted more than just that..
It continued to clash with BJJ
I was applying it the people i was training too, and they were loving the intensity.. But they weren’t progressing in other areas besides work capacity (going HAM)
Plus – i still couldn’t handstand.. Or do a back lever.. Or see much improvement in my mobility.. Even my ‘scores’ were starting to plateau
I pushed on with BJJ, eventually earning my Brown Belt (you’re damn right i’m proud) and my strength and conditioning started delving into new realms..
I started researching the material of guys like Ido Portal.. Ginastica Natural.. Gymnastic Bodies.. Calisthenics
And so i’ve arrived where I am, where i am continuing to love the journey of being a Teacher and a Student.. Constantly learning, practicing, understanding new things
Like any good method or ‘way’, it’s a continuum.. (anyone that says “This is the way..” is full of shit)
My perspective on Crossfit has evolved a little too.. I still love the methodology.. I think there is so much value in it and for those high-level coaches out there who are pushing the boundaries of fitness and living their passion, i have the utmost respect..
But, I feel pretty strongly that the majority of people out there who want to get fit, are not in the position to get the most out of the Crossfit methodology
The reason being is that the VAST majority of these people have fucked up mechanics to begin with
(*this group included me, by the way..)
Why..? Because we have been sitting in chairs ever since we were old enough to go to daycare and have pretty much lived in these chairs day-in and day-out since then..
Combined with the fact that on a daily basis we operate in a way that only helps to further develop tight and inflexible knees, hips, shoulders, spines, elbows and wrists
We want to move.. I get that..
But shit man! We need to recognise that we are not in the ideal position to go and start “hitting snatch PR’s at the box”
In the words of Ido Portal –
“You are are trying to put icing on the cake when you don’t even have a cake yet, bro”
I understand the need for intensity in ones training, especially when trying to drop some body fat and slap on some muscle tissue..
But i know that favouring intensity over good mechanics leads to a dead end down the track..
Something will inevitably malfunction and it will come with a serious cost attached..
On one hand – i see the Crossfit model as amazingly empowering because it exposes regular people to a variety of complex movements such as snatches, cleans, muscle ups, handstands and the like.. It has taken people from the retarded commercial gym environment and exposed them to some real teaching, movement, community..
On the other hand – i see that in it’s haste it detracts from that persons long-term development because it neglects to address fundamental movement-inefficiencies before it’s too late
I would love to have all fitness-goers snatching bars on the daily, hitting complex movements on the rings in between 400m runs.. Unfortunately though, I know that most people don’t have the requisite mobility or connective tissue strength to handle a lot of that stuff straight off the bat..
Even if these people ‘Just love crushing crazy MetCons..’ they will only be around for a few months until their shoulder or hip give out..
Again, this is not by any means a stab at Crossfit.. I’ve got a lot of friends out there who Coach and practice it at very high levels.. I’m aware too that a lot of these people are taking a much more progressive approach to developing these bad mechanics. This excites me..
I also realise that what i teach is not perfect (fuck me, i come from a BJJ background where terrible mobility is basically the norm).. It’s just my opinion on a topic that i get asked about a lot
I love seeing people training hard, executing quality movements, and making amazing gains..
I would love to see more people spending time on the small details and building that cake
PS. If this resonates with you and you would like to know more about what we do – get in touch with us here and lets talk training