Oh good lawd, am I actually dedicating another blog post to the CrossFit universe? The comments section of the last post was simply getting too long… and that’s excuse I’ll use.
I’m going to get a little picky and pedantic here, for the simple reason of having to avoid this argument in the future. CF doesn’t do Powerlifting or Olympic Lifting. Once these lifts leave the max force generation realm and become high rep WODs, it ceases being Powerlifting or Olympic Lifting. In fact, one of the common complaints against CF is the emphasis on ‘Olympic Lifting’ (simply called ‘Weightlifting’ outside of the US), when in reality, Olympic Lifting is a max effort lift. In fact that was how the lifts evolved, to simply get a buttload of weight over your head ONCE. So even though the movements look similar, it could be argued that a high rep clean and jerk shouldn’t be called ‘Olympic Lifting.’ Of course the same goes for powerlifting. As I wrote before, mention to Louie Simmons that CFers ‘powerlift’ and he’ll probably slap you.
Now this brings up a point. Are people who use deadlifts, squats and bench press powerlifters? Competitive powerlifters would say heck no. Same with Olympic weightlifters. So are people who put random, intense combos together Crossfitters? Hmmm…
Danny Segelin wrote: “CF’s main issue is the quality control. They have affiliates all over the place teaching people how to squat or deadlift – and as often as not, it’s unsafe. Just because someone knows how to do the workouts doesn’t mean they can teach them. Many “certified” instructors don’t even have a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy. How can you be a certified trainer if you don’t understand HOW and WHY the hamstrings work in the squat?”
This perception (one that, in my experience with many CrossFitters, I tend to agree with) is considerably different from what Steve C wrote:
“In the vast majority of instructional media coming out of the site the focus is on teaching or coaching others. There is an emphasis in understanding the what the how and the why, and how to teach it to others. That’s an important differentiator for me – CF doesn’t just want you to do, it wants you to understand.”
The list below is always pointed out by the CFers from the HQ homepage, and Brian Degennaro mentions it again in his post.:
CrossFitters adhere to the 10 components of fitness:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
4 always gets me. There is NO joint mobility component to the CF model (no, not your ‘modified’ CF model, and just being able to do deep overhead squats doesn’t count). And 10 doesn’t seem to really fall into the general preparedness protocol too well either. I won’t even get into my spiel about ‘strength,’ since I’ve done that many times before. No, CF is not the tool box.
Danny Segelin also wrote:
“CrossFit is a wonderful way to increase work capacity but it would not be a good tool to train people for SPECIFIC physical challenges (i.e. sport) do to its general nature.”
Let’s take that a little further, not using my own words. This is from Brian’s blog:
“CrossFitters attempt to be average runners, average gymnasts, average powerlifters, average weightlifters, average rowers, and average so on in their quest to ultimate fitness. They do NOT specialize. There is no such thing as a strength or weakness for a CrossFitter. They are slightly above average at everything.”
C+ students, all across the board, eh?.
“So a CrossFitter is defined as someone who wants to be neither good nor bad at any athletic or physical endeavor. CrossFitters make up affiliates and affiliates make up CrossFit but we still haven’t defined what CrossFit is. Is CrossFit the aggregate of all CrossFitters? If so, then that means CrossFitters must CrossFit in order to be deemed “CrossFitters.” A paradox? Yes. I think Chip was trying too hard to look for a definition of CrossFit. There is a pretty obvious definition once you dig deep enough into the old Journal articles and interviews with Glassman.”
I’m not trying ‘too hard,’ I came up with my definition super easy (which is pretty much the one Brian is talking about, deep within those CF journals) But I’m going to guess not everyone will agree with Brian’s definition. “Forging Elite Fitness” doesn’t mean striving for ‘adequate,’ or ‘average,’ does it? But I do think Brian is onto something here (and should open another can of worms for folks who aren’t me):
“If you specialize you are not a CrossFitter. You can utilize elements of CrossFit to bring up your weaknesses but you are doing CrossFit with an emphasis on ______. You defeat the purpose of CF and therefore cannot deem yourself or anything that you do as CrossFit. If you are doing Starting Strength alongside CF, then you are following Mark Rippetoe’s strength program with some GPP. You follow Charles Poliquin’s S&C program you are doing his protocol. You follow the Performance Menu WoD you are doing PMenu training, and so on. You don’t call yourself a gymnast because you do handstands or a runner because you run around the track now do you? So why call yourself a CrossFitter if you do a WoD here and there or after your strength training or sport practices?”
Which sort of jives with what I was saying in the opening paragraphs.
Panoptical wrote: “We CrossFitters are very open to answering specific questions about our practices, but most of us won’t be able to make you familiar with CrossFit with a single sentence, a short paragraph, or a list of things that “are” and “are not” CrossFit, and that’s not because of the nature of Crossfit, but rather because of the nature of definitions.”
Too Zen. Why can’t anyone in the community simply admit that CF is a community centered around a time-based workload protocol? Yes, there can be many facets to that. Yes, there are as many interpretations to that as there are members, but why is it so hard to admit this basic premise, since this WAS GLASSMAN’S BASIC PREMISE!! To call yourself a ‘CrossFitter,’ does that simply mean you are one who ‘does CF?’ This again brings us full circle, doesn’t it?
Do you here the guy out there who is screaming “shut up about it and just do it?” I like his idea as well. If you need a name for what you do, and don’t feel like coming up with one yourself, then throw it under the blanket of CF. Meanwhile, let’s just fucking lift already.