The Magic and Art of CrossFit
In CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman’s CrossFit Journal article What is Crossfit? http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/what_is_crossfit.pdf he illustrates what “strength and conditioning system built on constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity looks like.”
My favorite take away from this article is that the “magic is in the movements- the art is in the mixing (programming)”.
“Magic in the movements.”
You will notice that we repeat a lot of movements throughout a programming cycle. We do lots of kettlebell swings, squats of different variations, running, deadlifts, box jumps, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and burpees. We repeat these movements because we find they are the most effective to produce physical adaptation. Simply, they produce results. These movements are natural in your daily routine. You move large loads (weight), long distances (distance), and do it quickly (time) – that produces POWER. Power generated in your performance produces the results you want to see: weight loss, strength gain, looking better, feeling better, etc.
The Art is in the Programming
We take these movements and mix them in as many different variations as possible. We take movements, mix them with others in different rep ranges, different weights, and different time domains. A workout calling for 3 rds of 15 deadlifts and a 400m run elicits a very different response than a 7 rd workout of 3 deadlifts and 20 sit-ups. Both involve the movement “deadlift”, but the loading (weight), time under tension (amount of time spent holding the bar), and the cardio respiratory response (how hard you’re breathing while performing the movement) are drastically different in these two movements, but you’re still training the same movement pattern. This is intentional to produce the best results with constant variance.
In CrossFit, we continually “incorporate core to extremity movement patterns”. These movements are included during our metabolic conditioning days, but we have certain days where we specifically train our core to be able to gain competence during metcons. Days where we spend significant time doing deadbugs, hollow rocks, planks, farmers walks, pause squats, and other variants that brace the core directly correlate to improving your athletic ability. Not only making you better when performing other workouts, but giving the “beach body” muscles everyone desires.
Some days we turn it on, breathe hard, and lay on our backs trying to figure out what just happened to us. Some days we’re in a pile of sweat with very fatigued muscles thinking to ourselves, “now that was a workout!” Some days we’re so sore when we wake up it takes is a few minutes to get out of bed. But then again some days we come in accomplish the work on the board and don’t “feel too beat up” an maybe don’t think we got a good enough workout and need to go run on our own or do something else.
It’s not so much about how you feel, as the article says, “we don’t know or care so much about what goes on inside, we’re keeping our eye on inputs and outputs, workouts and results alone.”
The goal of our training is not to kill ourselves and be in pain everyday. Some days you’re the hammer and some days you’re the nail. Meaning some days you’ll go into the gym and will destroy whatever is written, some days it will beat you up. Both days are effective. The programmer specifically designed it that way. Constantly varied does not mean random.
The key is for us to consistently show up, trust in the programming, and work hard everyday!
You’re all doing great, let’s keep it up!