Through years of experience Greg Glassman and his wife Lauren Glassman began to develop what we now know as Crossfit. In reaction to their local “globo-gym’s” strict rules and reliance on workout-machines the two eventually began training athletes their way. The goal was to forge well-rounded athletes who were superb in every physical endeavor. Their methods are simple in principle but extremely effective. Athletes are to perform constantly varied; functional movements done at high intensities.
This core philosophy is effective for many reasons. First, varying the workouts utilizes muscle confusion to enhance the benefits of a given workout. The body does not have time to adjust and the results are devastating. Furthermore, training variety simulates life. We are rarely in optimal conditions when life throws us activity; this is not an excuse to perform poorly. The second tenant of Crossfit; preforming functional movements, is also directly transferable to our lives. Squating, running, box-jumps, and pull-ups all mimic movements most of us preform every day. Learning to do these movements properly and gaining the ability to do them at high intensities makes our lives easier. Furthermore, functional movements are safer, stimulate growth-promoting hormones, and can be done at maximum loads. The third aspect, high intensity, is perhaps Crossfit’s most well known attribute. Before Coach Glassman introduced the WOD (Workout Of the Day), most athletes utilized more traditional methods for preforming cardio. Exercises such as running and biking are great and often used within Crossfit however we also utilize movements more often used for developing muscle. The design is simple. First we set exercises such as deadlifts, olympic lifts, and dips to low weights and high reps. Next we grab a stopwatch and ready the athletes. Then, we simply shout 3-2-1- go, and watch as the class competes for the best time. Doing these movements at high intensities is truly an experience and even though most WODs last only 10 to 20 minutes just finishing feels like an incredible feat.
After seeing a WOD preformed many question the sanity of this method. This is normal. Even seasoned Crossfiters have been known to get jittery right before a tough WOD. However, contrary to what might be assumed Crossfit is safe and effective for everyone. These methods have been proven to work for young kids beginning sports, health-afflicted elderly, and everyone in-between. The key to this is scaling the workouts to one’s abilities and needs. A healthy twenty something male in peak condition should be fine doing twenty weighted back squats. His forty something year old father with knee problems and a bad back probably won’t. To account for this, there are numerous ways to make the movement more suitable. Typically, lowering the weight or even removing the weight all together will be sufficient. However, sometimes more drastic measures can be needed. For those with serious issues, the movement can be broken down into parts and preformed very slowly. The end workout might seem very different than the original WOD, however the principles remain the same and the exercise is every bit as intense.
Whatever the task; be it playing sports, keeping up with the kids, or doing battle with the enemy, Crossfiters are trained to excel.