There is no doubt that CrossFit, if done properly, is likely the best general fitness program out there. On the other hand, if it’s NOT done properly, it will continue to live up to it’s misrepresented reputation of being dangerous. CrossFit is a style of training just like bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, Olympic weightlifting, or gymnastics to name a few. The biggest difference with CrossFit though, is that by design, it works to build upon the basic skills associated with ALL of the aforementioned styles of training. The misconception is that the basic skills associated with each style of training, take multiple hours (likely in the thousands) to get really good at. Therefore, just because something like snatches, or handstand pushups, or back flips are programmed in a WOD, doesn’t mean that everyone should attempt them. However, as CrossFit has evolved to more of a ‘performance’ based style of training in most gyms, a much greater number of people now know what a snatch is. They’ve grown accustomed to seeing people on social media routinely squatting impressive weight, snatching, or repping out handstand pushups. What they don’t see is the thousands of hours over the course of years that it took these people to get to where they are. On top of that, certain limitations can make that journey even longer. Why the squat you ask? Because it is the foundation of functional movement! If ‘fitness’ is the combination of relative physical; strength, power, agility, endurance, stamina, speed, coordination, flexibility, balance and accuracy, then looking at the individual squat mechanics over the course of this higher-volume set can explain A LOT about a person’s level of fitness.
The reason that the CF Fitness program was put in place, was for those who want to do CrossFit, but;
-have a beginner to intermediate level of experience
-have certain movement limitations from previous injury
-have had an extended amount of time off from any type of functional movement training
The problem is, people always seem to gravitate to what appears to be the “harder” workout, usually whatever one (CF Fitness or Performance, in our case) utilizes a barbell with the more ‘flashy’ movements such as back squats, snatches, clean & jerks, etc. whether they are physically ready or not. The overall design of the CF Fitness program is to train to pass the test below, as priority/ goal #1.
Complete 25 *Proficient Goblet Squats using 50% Of Your Bodyweight
–This relative strength test comes from Dr. John Rusin, a prominent, internationally recognized strength coach & physical therapist. To read more about this test and the ‘why,’ see the link at the bottom of the page!
We’ve adopted this test of basic strength & fitness, something to be used as a baseline. Why the squat? Because it is the foundation of basic functional movement! The game changer here though, is *proficiency*. During this test, your 25th rep SHOULD NOT be noticeably different than your first rep. Also, the tempo of each rep itself, NEEDS to be constant throughout the test. No extended pauses, or adjustments! In an effort to protect ALL of our clients and members from unnecessary risk of injury, ALL new members starting to train with us, will need to pass this test before being able to use a barbell during workouts. The more complex barbell movements require the body to lift as a single system, a chain of individual muscle groups working in unison. This test will expose weaknesses in that chain, which would otherwise be limitations and/or create an unnecessary risk of injury during more complex movements, or at higher intensities (loads). For those that want to improve their fitness, and get stronger with a much lower risk of injury, this test will expose certain limitations that may be hindering that process. Depending on where the weakness lies, the link to the accessory work that’s published with the weekly training post would be a great place to start in training those weak areas. Opportunity to test would occur about every four weeks or so during our programming cycles, within the “de-load” weeks.
Some reading this might be thinking they’ll not be able to pass this test, yet have been using barbells with heavier loads, or have been back squatting for years. Though that may be true, and you may have been lucky enough to avoid any serious injury, that doesn’t mean that you are proficient in your movement mechanics, and proficiency is what will not only facilitate a drastic improvement in ability, but promote it in a much safer, consistent and sustainable manner. General lack of movement proficiency, above all, is what helps to keep the idea that “CrossFit is dangerous” an ongoing stereotype. People tend to see the CrossFit Games athletes on social media, or ESPN, and think that if they decided to try CrossFit, they will be put through the same workouts as those they’re seeing. It’s the same idea as seeing a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and deciding to start lifting weights with the expectation of looking like him in a month or two. It doesn’t work like that, but unfortunately that’s how a lot of gyms run their programming, and market their product, or interpretation of CrossFit.