Off the Plane and Wondering What ‘It’ Is.
Allyson clean and pressing a sandbag on Maui.
Deadlift day. Go heavy. Break a PR or two.
Then attempt ‘Fichte,’ a single bar/lot’s-o’-movement combo that ya might have fun with. See an example in the video below, thanks to Erin and Krissy kicking ass this morning.
Darby’s almost max, 255 pounds.
Charles Poliquin hates CrossFit and Robb Wolf defends it. But what is ‘it?’
Rob Wolf’s blog goes into more detail about the Poliquin/CF dissent, making it evident that CF and the rest of the world might have to open a better dialog. So here’s my reply to his post…
There’s a reason the CF community is easy to scrutinize from the outside. Consider what follows as perceptions from a different set of eyes, not a blatant attempt to piss in the punch.
A ‘thing’ cannot be debated or argued unless it is defined. Too often we try to define something by what it isn’t, which is sort of what Poliquin has attempted. Unfortunately for the non-CF affiliated world (including yours truly), there doesn’t seem to be a strong definition to what Crossfit IS. Bodytribe (a stupid little gym in Sacramento) has often been labeled as a CF gym simply because we have GPP combos, use kettlebells and have a vast collection of bumper plates.
So is it the equipment that defines CrossFit (let’s face it, there is a cookie-cutter template that most CF gyms follow. Rings? Check. Warehouse-like atmosphere? Check.)?
Is it a philosophy? During a lengthy discussion on Mel Siff’s Supertraining forum I posed the question of what the philosophy of CF was. Each response was identical, but not a single one was actually a philosophy. They were simply regurgitated (or sometimes verbatim) ideas of the protocol discussed on the main CF homepage (this type of multi-person, single-voice response also leads to the outside world’s judgment of CF as ‘cult-like,’ as Poliquin mentioned). Eventually one person wrote a very eloquent response from personal experience, but it was quickly evident that this was HIS philosophy, not necessarily a CF one.
Is CF a protocol then? I’ve encountered many a folk, trainers and trainees alike, who claim to be ‘CrossFit’ simply because they throw a bunch of exercises together. So is creating a gut-busting circuit CrossFit? If so, then anyone who has ever put a few movements together and created a substantial sweat from it would be considered ‘CrossFit.’
Is CrossFit the sport of getting better at mastering the official WODs?
As an ‘outsider’ I’m not unfamiliar with the workings of CF (I actually DO know people who were less than thrilled with the level 1 cert. but that’s neither here nor there). Having been to several locations, communicated with many CF affiliates, trained dozens of folks who have been part of the CF world, and participated in probably all of the original WOD’s, I still couldn’t tell you what CrossFit actually thinks CrossFit is. I can find great strengths and great faults in my perception of CrossFit (no, I won’t go into them here). I believe Poliquin is arguing from a common perception that is shared by many. I speak of the view from the outside when I say it is easy to write CF off as a trend or a cult since it doesn’t seem to have a cohesive response to a lot of the critique against it. Can you speak for all of CF when you defend it? I’m not even sure Glassman can do that anymore.
And here’s where it gets tricky. If you do something at NorCal (like assessment testing before Oly lifting, for instance), is it therefor CrossFit? I’ve never experienced it from ANY other CF I’ve been in contact with, unless they also practice other policies and protocols as well. If a CF affiliate also utilizes, say, Scott Sonnon’s methods, is RMAX suddenly CrossFit? I know many CF facilities are embracing AKC methods… will this be considered CrossFit? Would Olympic lifting or ‘Starting Strength’ be considered CrossFit?
CrossFit, at this point, seems like something that wants to evolve, but is having a hard time because there isn’t a solid base from which TO evolve. The kernel from which to grow isn’t strongly defined. The outside perception of the foundation of the CrossFit concept is simply a workload protocol utilizing compound movements. Is CrossFit more than this? Only through (it seems) splinter cells trying new things. I could see Poliquin arguing that CF would be a tool, not the toolbox, and that isn’t necessarily inaccurate until someone can define CF as a complete package addressing a great deal more than just workload.
Just because the tenets of fitness are listed on the CF homepage doesn’t mean that what CF puts into practice actually meets those (for instance you don’t see too many CF articles or videos dealing with ‘flexibility.’). Someone like Poliquin is pointing that out, and even through a potentially pompous pair of eyes, he is voicing what many are thinking.
Please don’t judge this post as any sort of gauntlet dropping (aw, heck, judge it however you want), but maybe I can give some insight to his critiques. Since no one from different physical culture camps ever seem to want to meet at a neutral table, ideas become attacks instead of discussions. Consider this not a defense of Poliquin’s words, just some reasoning behind it, and some possibilities for future thought.
Ask yourself how you’d define CF.
Upcoming workshops and events
Tomorrow is a new-member orientation from 11-2. This is a free workshop for anyone wanting to join Bodytribe but might not have much of an idea of what the heck we do. We run these every two weeks, and soon we’ll be adding intermediate workshops to the list for folks who need the next step. I’ll be updating the workshop calendar next week, adding the next powerlifting meet, strength camp and a bunch of other things.
Meanwhile, have a good weekend!