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How to apply Crossfit properly

Discussion in 'Optimal Fitness' started by Bernadette, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Bernadette

    Bernadette New Member

    This morning Dr Kruse posted this comment on Facebook

    I am well aware of the pitfalls of Crossfit and how people can push themselves too far with it... I was interested in any expanded thoughts Dr K might have on the subject, such as what it looks like properly applied :D
  2. Glamorama

    Glamorama New Member

    I have no idea I would imagine it means no more than twice weekly and only in short bursts?
  3. ChristineKleiber

    ChristineKleiber New Member

    Excellent question. And I would love the answer as well.

    That said, I think CF is changing culturally now that it has the Reebok endorsement and The Games have become a focus. Crossfit is becoming - IMHO - less about functional fitness for every body and more about PR's, performance, competition. The number of people who compete in The Open is high. Yet there is a WOD with Muscle UPs? Seriously. The focus in Crossfit has moved to being the "sport of fitness" and that means competition. That is mentally light years away from joining a group of people to work out together and get into the best shape of your life.

    Every box is programmed differently - as it should be - because it should be tailored to the box members. But even within a box there is going to be a variety of athlete levels and it takes a great coach to be able to program for the 40 year old newbie who needs to lose 40 lbs and the 27 year old who does butterfly pullups.

    IMHO I think the principles of strength training with weights 2-3 times a week and some sort of metcon/sprinting 1-2 times a week may well be within Dr. K's guidelines. So IF, and it is a big IF you can get than done within the programming of a CF box, great. Otherwise, it is time to pony up and find a personal trainer if you need help with proper form and then start programming your own exercise.

    Just my two cents. And I do hope Dr K weighs in on this.

  4. These are all excellent observations, and I feel I am in the minority with my CF gym. We are the only one I know that is NOT encouraging the entire place to participate in the Open. I want my members safe and injury-free, thank you! I do have individuals who are competition worthy, and they can workout with a rank beginner, but they are doing different workouts. I know (even if they don't) that they have different goals, abilities, injury/medical histories etc. I get pissed sometimes when CF gets this bum rap, 'cause I think, "hey! MY gym isn't like that!" but I know I am a little fish in the big sea. I program 6 weeks at a time. I use periodization in my cycles.

    Bernadette, I would find out about local CF gyms, ask if they do their own programming. If they do, good. Ask if they have strength only classes. If they do, good. If they don't, ask if you can only do the strength portions of their workouts. So if it is back squat 3-3-3 followed by a metcon, can you squat and then leave? Would they be willing to write a program for you? Strength plus limited conditioning.

    If you are doing CF from home, you should have bumpers, squat rack etc and do a strength program 2-3 x wk depending, with limited conditioning, less than 12 minutes 1-2 x wk
  5. Dan in Utah

    Dan in Utah New Member

    My gym is the mountain. There's less MRSA lurking there. Plus I can throw rocks and logs and no one stares.

    Most people have this idea in their mind (I know because I used to torture myself through 5-6 triathlons a year) that you have to kill yourself in the gym or run marathons to get rid of your belly, get ripped muscles, etc. However, this exercise paradigm is not true. Body composition is mostly a diet and sleep affair, not gym hours. Mark Sisson says it 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. He's probably right. (And who wouldn't want to look like Mark Sisson?) Wink.

    If Kruse's CT thing plays out, then exercise plays even less of a role.

    Paleo and Cross-fit are kinda linked in a lot of people's minds. This is unfortunate. My sister asked me if she went Paleo, does this mean she has to "go" Cross-fit, too. Umm...hell no.
  6. Bernadette

    Bernadette New Member

    Thanks Teenie Leek. I attend a CF gym that does their own programming and it is periodized. Our gym is getting huge though (unmanageably so, in my opinion) so I often find myself considering other options. Also, though the attitude of our trainers isn't simply 'make 'em feel like they got the crap kicked out of them', I definitely think there is an underlying expectation that people should be able to do 5 days a week, which I know my body just can't handle.

    I was really excited to see your opinion... I'd hoped some CF trainers/gym owners would weigh in :)
  7. MamaGrok

    MamaGrok New Member

    Mark Sisson wrote on this a few years ago, and well, I thought. Same as mentioned above - no more than a time or two a week, that kind of thing. CrossFit can be a fun, accessible way for urbanites and suburbanites to do some primalish fitness, if done well.

    And no, it's not usually done well.

    The first time I saw a Erwan LeCorre video, I cried. I know where my heart is.
  8. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    My answer is simple.....its about the trainers education. My fellow MD Allen Buck runs a box at his house and he is a stud at 67 years old. When they guy is someone you know who puts in the time and is careful........well then you know. in Xfit that is not the norm......its the exception.
  9. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Erwan's method is the best if you ask me.
  10. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    I've got co-workers who Xfit and most of them look unhealthy. When I tried to get in shape to loose the baby weight after the boy doing P90x...I felt great the first month...then I went down hill.and stopped... then I found MDA...and stopped working out.. only doing the 5 essential movements... and running...

    now I do less and I'm in better shape.... I've got more core strength, more overall body strength and endurance... all by doing less... Less is more - in any exercise routine!

    after seeing all this... I don't think I'd ever consider joining a box... chasing after the kids in the back yard, and playing on the monkey bars is all I need...
  11. Bernadette

    Bernadette New Member

    Thank you!

  12. In my gym, which is small granted, most memebers do 2-3 x week. We do have a few that come 5 days or so, and we (the coaches) take care to ratchet their intenstiy down on certain workouts, so they are not going *all out* on every workout. Every few cycles will have them take their intensity down 50% for the entire week. They are usually unwilling to do so at first, then in retrospect, realize how beneficial that time was.

    I dislike the "make 'em feel like they got the crap kicked out of them" attitude you mention, and boy, is it prevalent. Some workouts I see just make me cringe. And the YELLING, even berating, from the "coaches". ugh. My philosophy is to make every person who enters my gym feel welcome upon entering and feel about themselves when they leave.

    Not like we're a bunch of lotus eating, praise-everybody-who-does-anything, everyone-gets-a-finisher's-medal kind of place LOL but I see no need to harrass and goad clients into doing more than they can/want/need to do. Basically I took what I percieved to be the big problems from the CF gyms I had attended and did the OPPOSITE of that. I was made to feel inferior for wanting to scale, ignored at times because I wasn't a competitor, and yelled at, in a way that I was supposed to see as "motivational", but had the opposite effect on me.

    I wouldn't give up on CF, I'd keep looking Bernadette. Or start building a home gym :D
  13. *feel good about themselves when they leave.
  14. ChristineKleiber

    ChristineKleiber New Member

    Amen. makes me want to move to NJ.
  15. cgk, and that would be about the ONLY reason to move here! This is the most corrupt, expensive, crowded state EVER! Ugh.

    .... but I do love the shore ....

    And while I agree with Jack about the education, it isn't about a piece of paper from a program or institution. The head coach at the gym has no formal degree ( I have my BS in exercise science) yet has extensively "schooled" himself in physics, chemistry, biology, metabolism, nutrition. And like many other coaches, we have lots of "certifications" but so do other coaches. I guess it comes down to what the coaches goals are, personally and for their clients. I do not expect to "breed" a Games competitor, and I have zero desire to do CF competitions. I don't think that is a healthy option, as a long term goal. (short term, maybe) I'm not looking for notoriety as a "bad-ass coach" who makes up these ridiculously difficult workouts. If I'm honest, I guess I want people to say "wow, that programming is solid" or "sheesh, her people are strong" And as far as my clients, I want them to remain injury free, lead healthy low stress lives, and have a balanced perspective on their workouts: as in, not every workout is gonna be a homerun, nor does it need to be. PRs are fun, but aren't the be all/end all of training. (hmmm, maybe I need to remind myself of that LOL)

    Anyway, cgk, if you did meander up to NJ for any reason; ie. passing through on a road trip 'cause why would anyone make it a destination (hee hee), certainly drop in. Love to have you.
  16. ChristineKleiber

    ChristineKleiber New Member

    I concur that at the moment certifications aren't exactly a good thing to have... who wants a traditional nutrition degree? Ugh! I laugh when I think about how much more I know in 4 years - never done a cert, but oh I've learned so much. And I'm still learning. Can't get to family in CT without passing through NJ... so we will see if I land in your box.
  17. Leevy13

    Leevy13 New Member

    I'm glad I found this thread. CrossFit changed my life and I have a real passion to continue doing it. However, I want to be smart about it. The owner at my box put it best. He said (and I'm paraphrasing), You don't have to come in here and kill yourself every day. You may go hard for two days in a row, then come in on the third day and only workout with the PVC pipe. You want to work on proper technique and mobility. We don't want to run people off by burning them out or injuring them. That's not the spirit of our box.
    I'm far more focused on the functional movement aspect. I want to be as fit as possible, but not at the expense of my joints and definitely not at the expense of my nervous system. I noticed that this is an old thread, so if you guys have any updates or current advice, I would love to hear from you. Thanks!
  18. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Functional movement is Joe Brancaleone expertise and he was on the cruise.........hopefully he will chime in.
  19. oceanwild

    oceanwild New Member

    how apply it ?
  20. JoeBranca

    JoeBranca Silver

    Hi Leevy, not so sure I have 'expertise' but I'll throw in some comments.

    I can't speak for any one particular crossfit box, but my sense is in general CF's main goal is exercise-as-competitive-sport. This is not an optimal approach for a general population trying to get themselves out of a hole. Combine that with little emphasis on being connected to nature, and I don't consider that fitness in an evolutionary direction.

    Crossfit also promotes itself as preparation for the real world. but in reality IMHO the functional exercises executed for time or volume mainly prepares one for real world strength and conditioning contests, or real world boot camps (military, law enforcement). Of course there will be carry over from CF strength and conditioning and metcons to real world situations (provided you don't get too injured in the process), but a properly executed "functional" movement is not the same thing as a practical movement, which I define as an innately stable movement pattern that optimally and efficiently couples our body plans with real environments, adapatable to whatever imposed demands may come, not just boxes. Many of the kinds of exercises Crossfit workouts consist of for time or volume are best appropriate for met-con addicts who do not plan to get a lot of mileage out of their bodies (examples: olympic lifts for time, barbell deadlifts performed in a pre-exhausted state?).

    The real problem I think - philosophically - is approaching physical movement only in context of competition. This is of course not just CF but common in the modern fitness and athletics worlds... interestingly its very rare to non-existent among observed hunter gatherer societies. Technique and movement skill would lend itself either to play (challenging, but not a competitive structure selecting for individual winners) or practical utility, which is dictated by the "conditions of existence".

    I'd imagine the rare crossfit gigs "doing it right" would be the ones that are way more serious about movement quality -- that is, focus on technique so that it is safe, energy efficient (focus on making movement as easy as possible for the given task, not feeling destroyed as a performance goal), and performance is good. A true multi-functional approach to fitness, meaning the exercises are making one more adaptive not just more conditioned. Perhaps if a CF is bringing in things like yoga as well that would be a good sign they really want to explore movement. And the community spirit isn't built around folks commiserating about smashing their heads against the wall, so to speak, 3-4x / week.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
    Optimalbound likes this.

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