What is CrossFit?
“What is CrossFit?” is a really common question that we hear at Verdant. It’s actually written verbatim in a subject line or in an email almost every few days. CrossFit HQ defines “World Class Fitness” in 100 words: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch.” This brief description is a great vehicle for the most important components of CrossFit and also its principles; namely, to enable practitioners to improve their health and fitness. A more verbose, but also more effective explanation of the movement side of CrossFit is the following;
“These are the core movements of life.”
“CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work divided by time—or power. The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort. By employing a constantly varied approach to training, functional movements and intensity lead to dramatic gains in fitness.”
At the end of the day we are a CrossFit gym. We practice all the foundational movements with various pieces of equipment that leads to a varied approach to our training. We dramatically differentiate between time domains as well as movement modalities. Think about last Monday’s CrossFit workout (we did DT with kettlebells). DT is a hero WoD that is written as 12 – 9 – 6 Deadlift, Hang Clean, Shoulder to Overhead for 5 rounds with an RX weight of 155/105. Many of you are masters of the barbell and many of you are relatively new to that implement. We took that workout and changed it by having everyone do a unilateral deadlift, clean, or S2OH with a kettlebell. And virtually everyone did something different. There were different weights used, some people used dumbbells for their cleans, some people did swings instead of cleans, people deadlifted from slightly raised heights to allow them to flatten their backs, and instead of going overhead some people performed other methods of stacking their extremities over their core. The infinite options for modifying or scaling our workouts is amazing and it’s one of the coolest things about CrossFit.
“We can change almost any workout that there is to accommodate any injury or any deficiency.”
This brings me to an interesting subject that is always the most difficult to explain to people who have never done CrossFit: SCALING. We can change almost any workout that there is to accommodate any injury or any deficiency. If you are missing a body part or if you have vertigo or if you are incredibly de-conditioned, CrossFit is an infinitely adaptable workout program that can be molded to work for you. And that’s really amazing.
Most of you at this point are probably about to click away because you know what scaling is. Hang with me for a few more sentences. Scaling is really only incredible because it facilitates the most effective part of CrossFit. It allows everyone to create their highest power output with as much intensity as they can muster for that workout. Again, that’s incredible. It’s important to keep that in mind. Scaling or modifying the workout is really being done to allow you to workout at the intended intensity to the best of your ability. Doing or not doing RX really is irrelevant. I’m the one making the workouts at the end of the day and I can tell you that whether you do the workout as prescribed (RX) or not isn’t important. Your interaction with the workout at the appropriate intensity is what is important. I think sometimes we get caught up in the RX button on Wodify to the point that we forget what the coach said about the goal or the intent of the workout.