Overhead Lunges 45/25#
Box Jump 24/18″
A wise person once said, you know you’ve made it when someone tries to sue you. I think that could be expanded to, you know you’ve made it when you acquire haters.
CrossFit is growing in popularity and exposure by the day. From a small gym in Santa Cruz, to affiliates around the world with a yearly televised games event on ESPN2 with the male and female winners bringing home $250,000. But with that growth comes a lot of hatred. Some of it is educated discussion and some of it is people that are just looking to be different or to jump on that next drama wagon. Most people, however, are just butt hurt because CrossFit is becoming highly successful and is taking money out of their pockets. Nothing makes people more angry than money being taken away from them. You don’t have to look much further than the government and big business corruption to understand that.
With all that being said, the new hate article popping up on facebook these days is The Problem(s) With Crossfit. It’s actually a pretty funny article and you can tell very quickly that the author doesn’t intend it to be taken too seriously. However, a lot of people are using this particular fan of the month hate article to feed their CrossFit hate. You see, people tend to make broad generalizations and fail to keep an open mind quite often. Which then results in baseless arguments with zero fact, leaving only personal opinion. So I’m going to supply some facts and some of my own opinions in response to some questions/statements.
It is group exercise. Is it? I do it alone quite often. Even if it is, that’s now bad? Have you ever run a marathon alone? Would you consider a marathon a form of exercise? Well technically that’s a race. So how about the simple, beach bod approved bench press. If you are a guy and you’re reading this, I know at one point in your life you’ve probably heard “Hey buddy mind giving me a spot? Is it your ego or the weight on the bar that is getting you into trouble in that situation? But hey, I thought you wanted to lift alone? Anyhow, this contention of group exercise barely deserves a response, it’s opinion, nothing more.
So let’s move on to the fact that it’s a general strength and conditioning program. You won’t see all that much sport specific training being done in the average CrossFit box. The average person just doesn’t need that. I once read “Unilateral balance is far more important, than performing well in any sport. Cuz don’t forget. Once glory is over, you’re still stuck with that body and it better damn well be balanced.” But that’s not the argument, the argument is will it benefit a sport specific athlete. Squat, dead-lift, press, pull-up, push-up, sprint, jog, row, power clean, the list goes on. All of these movements are performed in CrossFit. Guess where else they are performed? You guessed it, an average strength and conditioning facility. No you won’t see a throwing coach, or people working on slap shot technique or pole vaulting practice. But why does strength and conditioning and sport specific exercises have to be combined? How many pro football players do broad strength and conditioning in the off season? Short answer, a lot. Does Tim Tebow need to know how to do a muscle-up? Of course not. But would the strength gained in the shoulders and triceps and back combined with the coordination to time the gymnastic kip and pull benefit him athletically? You could make a strong argument that it would to some degree. The sport specific argument doesn’t make sense, their is a time for both general strength and conditioning and sport specific training. It’s not one or the other. Peyton manning doesn’t practice in a room all day for 365 days a year doing only 5 and 3 step drops followed by a pass.
It is too expensive. It is? A personal trainer at Anytime Fitness averages between $40-$50 per hour. Wait, what? That’s roughly $250 for a 5 day a week schedule, $1000 a month! Let’s say it’s only $10 a session, that’s still $200 a month. But you can also just get a basic membership by paying $19.99 or whatever it may be at the local gym. Don’t forget to check how many years that locks you in and watch out for the sign-up and activation fees, those are fun. Biceps curls in the mirror are great for those sport specific needs as well, right? Where are these over priced CrossFit locales anyway? New England is $215/month apparently. Hmm, well that happens to be located in Boston. Not exactly the cheapest place to live. I’d think the location and quality of service provided will pretty much dictate what the affiliate can charge. I sure as hell don’t foresee myself charging that much in Cumberland County.
Kipping pull-ups. Look I know people like to think CrossFit invented the kipping motion, but that’s just not the facts. The truth is a Kip is a basic skill on the women’s uneven bars. It is also performed on the men’s high bar, parallel bars and still rings. Yes, gymnastics. Modern day gymnastics was given it’s birth in the late eighteenth century. We didn’t create some crazy worm type maneuver to cheat our way to a pull-up. It was taken from a highly respected sport as the common way to scale an object to arms length. Does that make it the end all be all of pull-up variations? No. Strict has it’s place for control, hypertrophy/muscle growth etc. Is the push press just the cheating version of the press? It’s an idiotic argument that needs to be laid to rest. One lies closer to the power end, the other towards strength. One is not greater than the other, both are desirable. But Dr. OldSchool say’s it’s bad for the shoulders. These are the words of someone who doesn’t understand how this movement should be performed. Single joint extension and flexion from a poor kipping pull-up will result in stress being put on the hands, shoulders, low back etc. Luckily, that’s not how the movement is taught. It’s taught with the notion of stability in a neutral position or “hollow body” position. Global extension and flexion. In fact, what’s the first thing you see in a standard strict pull-up? The chest rises towards the bar, single joint extension, exposing the back and shoulders. The possibility for fault and error is in the strict pull-up just the same as it is in the kipping variation. If you fall in to the kipping pull-ups are unhealthy, period…well then you just need to further your education.
This leads perfectly into the next argument. Injury. Is this really going to be discussed seriously when thousands, no, millions of kids are being put on football fields each year just waiting to slam heads with one another? Just flip on Sportscenter one night and you’ll hear of countless athletes who are sidelined due to concussion from football, hockey and many other sports. Last I checked, a broken bone or pulled muscle can be fixed. The brain, well that’s a little tricky. Hell, I can remember falling off my bike plenty of times when I was a kid. I can probably even find a scar or two from some particularly dumb stunts. I haven’t seen those pesky devices banned. Look, injuries happen. Whether it be in sports, training, or a random accident. And no, CrossFit is not a needless risk. How is having a trainer teach you movements and guide you through workouts less safe then signing up for a membership at the local health club and being sent off on your own to figure out the newest hammer strength machine or bench press “alone”? By the way, enjoy those beat up shoulders when you don’t know how to bench press properly. Bad CrossFit trainers and gyms is not a suitable argument either. Everything has a good and bad. Look no further than the Penn State scandal. Is every College football program and the associated staff evil?
Cult? Really? I’m too tired.
Trademarking fitness. We aren’t trying to trademark anything. In fact, the genius of CrossFit is that it didn’t create anything. It just stole everything that was deemed effective and implemented it all into one program. That’s also it’s lasting power. If something else great comes along, CrossFit will adapt and utilize it. You can do wallballs, or kettlebell swings all you want. Just don’t hate on CrossFit every chance you get, while doing all the same movements we do. For God’s sake, if you do, at least don’t call it something ridiculous like FastFit, or FireFit, or XFit.
Some ending notes. CrossFit doesn’t have standards? CrossFit’s Level 1 Trainer Certification course is ANSI accredited. Same old ANSI accredited held by the popular CSCS obtained from the NSCA. That’s also the same NSCA that the famed strength and conditioning coach Mark Rippetoe resigned from. He wasn’t happy with things such as performing isolateral movements while balanced on a swiss ball. Yes, that’s for real, I didn’t make that up. Can’t imagine why that wouldn’t be a hit in the sport specific world. Further education, the CrossFit Level 2 Trainer course, is also available along with many other specialty certifications. However, the Level 2 is not currently available as it’s undergoing the accreditation review process. The Level 2 requires movement testing and has a low first time pass rate.
Don’t get me wrong, CrossFit has plenty of idiots. Idiot trainers, idiot employees, idiots practicing CrossFit. But so does every other sport or fitness genre. At least we aren’t standing in bikinis or mankinis, with fake tans, covered in grease and lying about the ILLEGAL performance enhancing drugs we’re taking while ignoring the fact that our federation doesn’t even drug test. Nor does many powerlifting federations, nor strongman. If you’re wondering, CrossFit does test. In fact some positive tests were reported shortly before the games. Well I’m sure plenty of CrossFit people use PED’s as well, but like I said, idiots are everywhere. If you would just stop hating all the time, maybe you’d start wondering instead how this CrossFit thing has blossomed so quickly, got it’s way onto ESPN and your facebook and is making people the world over rethink fitness? Maybe you could learn something from it’s success? After all, it all started with a FREE workout posted on a public internet domain…