Why Crossfit Is Good For You (and for me, a Baby Boomer)

While reading Michael Boyle’s blog on Strengthcoach.com, regarding why Crossfit may not be good for you, I considered the pros and cons of his argument.

http://strengthcoachblog.com/2012/11/12/why-crossfit-may-not-be-good-for-you/

  1. Crossfit gyms are cheap and easy to open, with only a weekend certification and a few thousand dollars worth of equipment.
  • This point is true. I believe that the onus is on the participant to do their research when choosing a Crossfit box. The same would hold true when choosing a personal trainer or a strength coach, who also may be certified in a weekend by various organizations.

2. Is planned randomization a valid concept?

  • Crossfit uses 3 different standards or models for evaluating and guiding it’s definition of fitness.
    • The first is based on 10 general physical skills.
    • The second standard is based on the performance of athletic tasks.
    • The third is based on the energy systems that drive all human action.

    http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_Trial_04_2012.pdf

Crossfit isn’t claiming to make you a world class 800m runner or the best MMA fighter with its programming. What is does claim is that improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility occur by training. Fitness is about performing well at every and all tasks imaginable, in infinitely varying combinations. I haven’t yet found a definition linked with Crossfit that uses the term planned randomization. What I have found is Crossfit’s programming to achieve goals of highest fitness utilizes constantly varied, high intensity functional movement. I agree with Mr. Boyle that specific progression should be followed to prevent injury. At the Crossfit boxes that I have visited and am a member of, progression with proper form using education, scalability, modification, and mobility while performing weightlifting and gymnastic movements, keeps injuries at bay while enhacing the skill performance of the sport.

3. Is training to failure safe?

  • I believe there is a conflict of definintion with this question. In strength and conditioning/body building, training to failure is performed with the goal of stimulating hypertrophy. Michael Boyle’s definition of failure during Crossfit sessions is described as technical failure; when the athlete can no longer do the exercise with proper techique. In my experience with Crossfit, while I have seen some athletes push themselves to technical failure, we are coached to choose a weight for each workout that is scaled to provide us with appropriate form while allowing the building of power, which is accomplished with work over time. We are corrected during our ‘WOD’s’ with regards to enhancing performance and reducing injury risk.

4. Should adults be Olympic lifters? I don’t think that Olympic lifts are for adults.

  • I completely disagree with this statement. As a Physical Therapist treating our geriatric population, I have observed the loss of a person’s ability to perform functional mobility activities thereby losing strength and leading to complete dependence on others. Olympic lifts strengthen our core by utilizing whole body conditioning to resist gravity and keep us competitive in the game of life.
  • Olympic lifts have a functional analog to movements we must perform on a daily basis. Concerning getting up and down from a chair, or on and off of a toilet, for example, one must be able to perform a squat. I have ‘cleaned’ 40 pound bags of dogfood or mulch from low shelves and in and out of my car. Picking an object up off the floor, or transferring a patient from their bed or wheelchair uses the same form factor as when one performs a deadlift. (I will also add that at the age of 52, I can still transfer my patients, and because of the functional strength through proper performance that I have attained while training and conditioning at Crossfit Moxie, neither my patients nor I risk injury.

Those are my thoughts in rebuttal to the article by Michael Boyle titled “Why Crossfit May Not Be Good for You.” I am interested to hear others’ thoughts, pro and con, regarding this issue. Please post!

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2 thoughts on “Why Crossfit Is Good For You (and for me, a Baby Boomer)

  1. missskinnygenes

    I think you make some really valid points, Mom. The number one issue I think any fitness regimen needs to address, whether it be strength training, Crossfit, or even yoga, is form and function. If your trainer or coach or teacher allows improper form or doesn’t help you attain the functional skills that suit your goals (hypertrophy, performance, strength, everyday life) then you’re setting yourself up for injury or at best just wasting your time…

    Reply

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