The influence of CrossFit on sport can be significant when this functional fitness method is implemented the correct way. “Constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity”. “Move large loads, long distances, quickly”. These are the two main definitions of CrossFit. A general physical preparedness-conditioning program created by founder Greg Glassman.
He stated that the strength of CrossFit stems from the fact that it does not specialize but rather seeks to challenge the human form from every direction. No one metabolic pathway is favored; no one set of movements is constantly repeated. To call yourself fit, you need to be good at everything. Note that I said good, not world class.
This paradigm is in line with the thinking of the old eastern block countries like the USSR. Soviet children were encouraged to engage in all forms of physical activity from Olympic weightlifting to martial arts to gymnastics and beyond. This approach built an athletically rounded individual capable of then easily adapting to sport specific training at a later stage.
The western model would identify where a child showed talent and then that child would engage in only that sport in order to master it. While this approach produced many champions the longevity of the career was short due to injury or the person giving up the sport due to being overloaded and bored.
CrossFit looks to develop general physical preparedness – to condition the total human body through various functional movements. This will eliminate muscular imbalances, which are the major cause of injury. CrossFit has been accused by many as being the cause of injury through its practice of high intensity workouts. People need to remember that anything in life can cause injury. Sitting at your desk reading this article, you will find that your hip flexors are short and your posterior muscles are long. This habitual seated position is one of the major causes of injury due to the fact that for athletic activity, you need long hip flexors and shorter posterior muscles to develop the explosive force needed in any pursuit of athletic endeavour.
The intense nature of CrossFit workouts push athletes way out of their comfort zones, showing them that they can actually keep moving even when they are in a deep dark hole. This is so valuable for sports like rugby where your try line is under constant attack, you do not have time to pull funny faces and moan. CrossFit mimics this game intensity within the box and helps to forge mental toughness and resolve.
Modern sports today are filled with tactics and strategies. Coaches need time to work game plans with their players. They don’t have the time to first condition them for hours. During tactical practice, the athletes are moving but the intensity is low due to new strategies being taught and polished. CrossFit takes care of the conditioning in under 20 minutes allowing time to be devoted to the specifics of the sport.
CrossFit is not about workouts that make you vomit. It follows virtuosity: “doing the common, uncommonly well”. Yes you will encounter idiotic fly by night practitioners of CrossFit, much like any industry so be careful when selecting a Box or CrossFit coach to work with. Trainers – if you find the right CrossFitters to work with you as a sport coach will have ATHLETES to work with and not just sportsmen or sportswomen.
Till next time – care about your performance.
Do you train CrossFit to supplement skills for other sports?