CrossFitters and CrossFit Box Owners, Any of these sound familiar? YEAH to me too. The reason I am writing this post tonight is because I just had the experience of re-reading a Magazine's article regarding the controversy behind CrossFit that re-surfaced today after much time. SO instead of keeping my mouth shut like a good little coach, I thought, what the fuck I might as well open the can of worms and see what kind of shit I can stir... Not that I would ever..... Well.. OK, Yeah I would.
Before I continue- This writing is in NO way intended to pick on the author of the article, but intended to make those who read it think about the whole story and look at it from a different angle. I will use "in my opinion" alot for whatever that is worth. I have years of practical experience in the field with the information presented as well as reading and studying SEVERAL hundreds and quite possibly thousands of journal articles from variuous different medical communities, sports science documents etc. I hope to simply open YOUR eyes to the other side that sometimes.... doesn't get portrayed AND also to help those who are less educated in certain areas to gain perspectiove.. nothing less, nothing more. All in all the article I am referring to had some good information. I will just bring a light to certain areas that struck a chord with me....
So I read this article and I thought to myself hmmmm.."here is an individual who just got the shit beat out of him by 12 women and felt bad for himself so decided he would write an article on a great program, giving some science and maybe not giving all of the information". I will also say as I write this that having had someone experience Rhabdo personally I can explain a little more about it and ALSO look deeper into the root causes of it rather than blame any one program or cause. Shit, in fact, i think I can find an article that blames yoga for injury just as much as CrossFit (it was on the national news the other day) (and yes, I said the R word.. deal with it.. Shit happens)
Before I begin, let me say this.. My belief IS that CrossFit IS for everyone, BUT not everyone is for CrossFit. I have made that argument several times and in fact on almost every community day that we have at our gym, I make this statement known. I think that the fundamentals of what CrossFit is teaching are sound movements BUT (as the majority of us know and understand) there is more to it than just throwing some WODs on the board and seeing what happens. AND also, I believe in preaching to people about ensuring appropriate hydration AND making CrossFit more goal specific than just "I want to be fit". Do we ask about goals? Yes, do we ask about medical problems? yes. Do we consider this in our scalable fitness program? YES! SO let's move on.
First of all, there is a stigma out there that all CrossFit coaches have "just a weekend certification". While that may be true for some, I think for those of us out there that have spent YEARS in school prior to our CrossFit certification would argue that point AND not only that, but having recently attended the "testing" process for a Level 1 cert, I would say the education process has come a long way since my ORIGINAL CF Level 1 cert in 2008. Now bear in mind I also have certs with several other institutions, have lots of letters after my name, but in all honesty it really doesn't fucking matter. . I would venture to say that most of us out in the field probably have a more extensive background in fitness and exercise than one would expect. I have found that a LOT of people who are attracted to CrossFit have a competitive spirit in them, which drives people to find a reason to push themselves within the realm of CrossFit. Not only that but a LOT of people within the spirit of CrossFit have had a sports or competitive background to begin with. So to say that "Only a weekend certification" negates all of the years of coaching, teaching and other background that a lot of us in the CrossFit Coaching community have. We know it's the most effective program out there, we had the dream of owning a gym one day and this was the most effective way to see our dream come true for minimal cost and maximum output. We also want to change people's mentalities and lives and so we use CrossFit as our tool to do so.
Now I would be naive to say that every affiliate has more experienced people in it, YES. BUT that's where CrossFit says, hey, we have educated you on the CrossFit methodology and given you the basic understanding... it is YOUR responsibility to further your education. The point I am getting at here is look, it may be a weekend certification, but the certification allows one to begin to "research" the most appropriate way of teaching things. This is TYPICAL of MOST Personal training Certifications but yet CrossFit gets named as the only one that does this because it has quickly become the center of attention whether good or bad. As I sat through the programming lecture with Miranda at my Level 1 test (remember they didn't USED to have that, so in order to keep my cert I had to take the test) I heard her tout over and over "technique, consistency, Intensity" as the order in which to teach members how to achieve their CrossFit Goals. SO guess what I have preached for the LAST 20 years that I have been coaching AND every coach since the beginning of time has more than likely done the same- Technique, Consistency, Intensity.
Here's something I find fucking hilarious. You ever been to a high school Strengthening and Conditioning program. You see there's a quote from a specialist... " More worrisome is the way the CrossFit trainers themselves are trained. "If you have reservations about CrossFit going in, then attending a CrossFit certification likely won't make you feel any better about it," says journalist Bryan Krahn, C.S.C.S., who attended a weekend certification class on assignment for T-nation.com. "The seminars were well run and the speakers were very good. My problem had more to do with the CrossFit ideology itself. The programming doesn't make sense from a strength-training standpoint. The reality is, a lot of guys who go to the gym want to put on some muscle. CrossFit is not the optimum way to go about doing that."
Dude, you ever think about telling a High school football coach the way they are teaching the power clean as a "clean" is fucked up? NO?? WHY? Because it is accepted as reality. I believe that High School coaches who have their students do "Cleans' Without ANY type of education are MORE dangerous than the "Weekend trained trainer" because most of the time, a high school strength program comes from a book or some past ideologies and the coach (again there are GREAT coaches out there) doesn't have the technical background of an oly lifter to be teaching the clean. Catch my drift. What the fuck. You can find examples of this in ANY industry not just fitness. Look at sales people, look at Coffee shops, again.. catch my drift.. there are many different things that go into coaching so it's hard to say that a "weekend cert" is not enough for the level 1 and that it isn't enough to teach movement.
I think the antiquated theory of adding muscle unless it is specific to a muscle hypertrophy program becomes an issue of "losing fat" and "gaining muscle". Again, I have been in the industry for 20 years... and NOT ONCE has a member come to CrossFit FTF that I haven't explained to them that they will not "Add size" and will be trained for "performance" rather than "aesthetics". This to me is a naive attempt at classifying what people want in their fitness programs because of what society has touted we all want! We at CrossFit affiliates do NOT claim we will put on POUNDS OF MUSCLE like a lot of fitness magazines. We at CrossFit Affiliates understand that we will help people reach their genetic potential of performance WHATEVER their body type allows them to be. We do not CLAIM to increase muscle size, lose body fat, make them look better. We inform people they are about to embark on a fitness adventure in which performance is their goal. Do we have goals at a CrossFit affiliate? YES... to be able to FUNCTION at LIFE better. PERIOD! Does that mean we don't know HOW to train someone to gain muscle size? NO... However we also know that the SCIENCE behind hypertrophy training programs are SO specific that it takes a very specific type of program. We are not touting to be specialists (although some are) we are touting to be non-specialists.
Now that doesn't mean that each affiliate is not different. There are some affiliates who only follow "main site" programming. There are others in which each day is scientifically programmed based on the movements, the strength program, the day before, the week before and for a specific goal. All affiliates are NOT created equal. There are a LOT of people out there who are challenged when it comes to understanding the best way to approach a program. Too much strength, too little strength, not enough time domain, too much time domain, over doing it in general, not understanding the physiology of recovery and rest days, active rest days etc. This is ALL shit that should be discussed with your members. I know we regularly discuss these topics at our affiliate. I always give the reason behind the programming to my athletes AND coaches so when someone asks a question, they can say "hey the goal this month is to improve your clean so we are doing technique work on the clean for the next 30 days and at the end of the month we will do "badger" to test your ability". You see, THIS is the thought process of sound coaching. There is always a means to the end. It may SEEM like chaos to the untrained eye, but when you pick apart the program of an individual affiliate you will need to ask the "why" behind it.
As for the Olympic lifting argument, sure I can see that, BUT that's why at most CrossFit affiliates you will find a couple people whom are specialists in each area. You see, Olympic Lifting as we explain to each and every person who comes through our "ramping Up" Program is not a one hour, 6 hour or even 16 hour course. It can take YEARS to master the lift, HOWEVER if we know it is the most effective in power production AND we don't ever practice it, then HOW WILL WE GET BETTER? Mike Burgener, one of the worlds most respected Olympic Lifting Coaches will even ANALYZE your video if you send it in to him. So really? Are they difficult? yes, but remember that in order to teach, you have to understand the mechanics and be able to study the way it works. At FTF, we have several coaches with additional certs whom are "certified" in more than one Oly Lifting style. Many other affiliates have the same thing. If you want to improve your Oly Lifts into a sport, then by all means, work with an Oly Lifting coach.
Alright.. on to the Rhabdo beast..... And this one.. truly a beast... can be answered by the following: There's more than one fucking reason it happens. We don't KNOW the underlying issues behind a LOT of the cases of Rhabdo, HOWEVER there are so many factors. I know I said I had known someone personally who had fallen into this category. Well.. this individual failed to heed the warning of the coach who specifically instructed her to drink a TON of water (in fact over 100 ounces) after she was done with the intro workout. The workout was squat form introduction, then modifying her to a half squat, then instruction on pvc pipe thruster (using a half squat for motion) and completion of 15-12-9 of half squat PVC thruster and knee push-ups. After the workout, the coach came up to her, asked how she liked it. She said she really liked it. The coach proceeded to instruct the new person to drink a TON of water because otherwise there is potential risk of injury and bad things happening, so make sure you drink up to 100 ounces. That night, the client didn't follow instructions as provided by the coach and ended up in the hospital with mild signs of "Rhabdo". So the question becomes then is the coach responsible for this, or is the lack of follow through on the client's side responsible. You can argue whichever way you want, but bottom line EVEN when the right thing is told to the client, if they fucking ignore you, continue to stay dehydrated, take muscle relaxants, then Rhabdo can ensue. SO my question is and I am doing more research.. what are the clinical cases of Rhabdo within CrossFit versus any other intense exercise program. For fuck's sake Rhabdo is a risk in a traumatic injury, drug overdose, anything that causes an ischemic reaction in the body! Here is the other half of the "definition of rhabdo" they DON'T post in the article:
Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage.
When muscle is damaged, a protein called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream. It is then filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into substances that can damage kidney cells.
Getting fluids that contain bicarbonate may prevent kidney damage by quickly flushing myoglobin out of the kidneys. Fluids may need to be given through a vein (by IV). Some patients may need kidney dialysis.
The outcome depends on the amount of kidney damage. Acute kidney failure occurs in many patients. Getting treated soon after rhabdomyolysis begins will reduce the risk of permanent kidney damage.
People with milder cases may return to their normal activities within a few weeks to a month. However, some people continue to have problems with fatigue and muscle pain.
Drink plenty of fluids after strenuous exercise to dilute your urine and flush any myoglobin that is released from your muscles out of your kidneys. Also drink a lot of fluids after any condition or event that may have damaged skeletal muscle.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Herbert Y Lin, MD, PhD, Nephrologist, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
OK.. have I beat THAT horse dead yet? Do I REALLY need to go out and find the research for you or will you go open your eyes and ask "hmmm what's really going on?" I mean come on.. I don't have time to do it all!!!!
A more pressing concern is the potential for injury. CrossFit WODs sometimes use Olympic lifts, like the snatch, for high repetitions when lifters are in a state of exhaustion. That worries almost everyone I interviewed.
"The problem has to do with fatigue and going to failure," says Stuart McGill, Ph.D., a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. "Some exercises are conducive to this and others are not." McGill puts Olympic lifts in the "not" category.
"Repeating movements where form is compromised with fatigue really does not fit the philosophy of Olympic lifting to reduce injury risk and enhance performance."-
Ahh... there's where we differ in our belief doc. I believe that life repeats compromised movements in which we NEED to train for in order to handle within life. Our loads are not so much in which a breakdown in form will increase a huge risk of injury. Again, if appropriate scaling models were used and technique, consistency and then intensity were applied like we do at most affiliates, then the risk of injury is actually not increased. Have you EVER thought to stop by your local box and ask them how often the actually perform "the snatch" or the clean and jerk IN a workout? I know in our affiliate we skill the SHIT out of it for several weeks before it comes up as a high repetition movement in a workout. AND it is OUR JOB as coaches to scale appropriate to what our athletes can handle. It is THEIR responsibility to remember what the fuck we tell them!
The article goes on to say.... Then there's the issue of coaching. "You can learn the mechanics of an Olympic lift in 2 days, but you can't develop enough of a proficiency to teach others," Krahn says. "The guy who's teaching you a complex movement may have very little knowledge about it."
Let me go back to a previous statement in which I said there are people in EVERY industry whom are technically sound or technically better. Just because they may know little more than you, they do know more than you. AND the point of coaching is not necessarily to be good at the movement yourself but to have the trained eye and the skill set to correct the movements as needed. Ever read the book "Blink"? It would be a good read for any coach or athlete. I think MOST coaches are smart enough (maybe I'm assuming the impossible here) to know when they need to make a referral for technique OR go seek more information. I know for one, I have attended several O lifting clinics, several certs and spent the majority of my adult life out of school.. "in School" learning more. AND here's the great thing. proficiency at teaching it should be followed with the statement.. the best way to become proficient is to teach it. because it FORCES you to become better at it. I also think this statement doesn't give enough credit to those coaches who KNOW they are not skilled at something and desire more education so are willing to give it. Again in ANY situation you are going to have the good and the bad. You as an athlete and a member just have to find out which box has the best for you.
In the beginning portion of the article- There's a randomness to the exercises in CrossFit that's really not ideal for the average fitness enthusiast, says David Pearson, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise science at Ball State University. "But if you needed to run into a burning building, hoist a wood beam, and then run out with a person over your shoulder, this might be the best program for you."
Who am I to argue with a Ph.D. in Exercise science other than the fact I have trained THOUSANDS of clients. I have watched Thousands live life day to day and studied the biomechanics of life. Maybe I'm wrong in assuming that as people go through their day, they clan and jerk (lift shit from the floor to overhead), deadlift (pick up boxes and papers) Have to get out of bed (turkish get-up) carry groceries ( farmer's walk) Get in and out of a car (pistol squats) etc. etc. and have to do it several times a day. I forgot my goal in life was to not be able to do this stuff with ease. I am supposed to stick to a treadmill and have repeated stopping stress on my joint because it is less random and oh so much more functional than moving heavy shit in a pattern that mimics the activites of life. I am not the expert here, or am I? What do you think? Is the randomness of life OK to duplicate in an exercise program?
You see, people give me shit when I go into a workout without warming up. I have a strict "train how you play" policy and in my "real job" I rarely have a chance to warm-up before a "workout" HOWEVEr in the average world, people use exercise to supplement the movement in their life, BUT why not train the movements you will see in life? Why not train the patterns that will help with the function of an office worker, a construction worker, a lawyer, a computer technician. We all move the same. We all perform vital human function in the same fashion. CrossFit allows it to be taught with form and consistency. So really when randomness is brought up in my opinion it is a weak argument against a program. Life IS random, therefore your workout should match.
Ok, I really need to get off my soap box for the evening. I think the point is that when you come to a CrossFit affiliate here is what you need to look for and what YOU as a member, a coach, and an athlete need to look at. First, don't be one of those coaches who doesn't give a shit about furthering your education. it is imperative that you continue to study each and every day. Pull one article a day and make it a point to teach something about it the next day to your athletes. (I looked up battle rope exercises today and taught it to my athletes as a new tool)
As a potential member remember to NOT be afraid to scale. Get rid of the fucking ego and leave it at the door. It's not about being the best, but being the best you can be today and being better tomorrow. It has everything to do with improving your fitness for the long term and NOTHING with trying to get bigger, trying to get as much muscle mass as we can. It has EVERYTHING to do with performing better at life. We ALL want the best for you. Sometimes it may seem random and chaotic but really so is life. We don't WANT you to get Rhabdo, so listen to the fucking guy or girl in front of the room when he or she tells you to stop the full motion or go lighter on the weight or to drink a shit ton of water. There is a reason they are telling you that.. it's because they must have had some sort of experience before that gives them the knowledge to know so. It doesn't even really matter what the piece of paper says their knowledge is, the best coaches have sometimes been incredible athletes. Don't be afraid to question the why of what we are doing. At FTF, there is a purpose to all of the movements and workouts we perform.
Do your best each and every day. Don't give up on what you want because someone tells you in an article they walked away after 3 months. When has a successful person EVER quit and walked away from something after 3 months. Success in ANY area of life could take years... that includes fitness. Don't give up on YOURSELF.
Kristen and Nichole will great Split Jerk form.
Jeff killing the 24 inch box jump!
” Satan’s Whiskers”
3 Rounds For Time:
10 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
10 Front Squats (165, 115)
Post Scores To Comments.
1. 3×3 Front Squat
2. Satan’s Whiskers
Tag(s): Workout of the Day