Monday, December 14, 2009

Soapbox Time: Some Things I Hate About Crossfit

First Off: Props to Trevor Salmon at Optimum Performance Training in Calgary; I wasn't able to make the Nutrition 101 cert due to bad weather, but he's sending me the DVD. Much Appreciated!!!

Buckle In.

So, it's about time I post this; I had planned on venting about a few issues prior to the Black Box Fiasco, but I figured I better let things cool.  They really haven't, but the opinions of an in-experienced part time Crossfit coach aren't going to shake the world.

The Obvious Disclaimer:  If you haven't figured it out, I obviously am very passionate about Crossfit, the community, the people, and the training methodology.  I'm also a sarcastic bastard.  Yup, that's my disclaimer.  Figure it out.  Some of these points are serious, some not so much.  In the end, it's just my opinion.

And now, in no particular order...

2 Crossfitters 1 Chalk Bucket.  Funny Stuff. Google it.

1) The "Elite" Snobbery.

  So....where the fuck did THIS come from?  Some dude trains to be able to bang out a bunch of seizure-like pullups and flail around a mediocre weighted barbell, and becomes ELITE?  Christ almighty.  I'm fairly sure on many an affiliate's wall there's a sign that reads "Check Your Ego At The Door".  That should be carried over into the public sector, also.  If you feel good about your training, that's cool.  If you're able to do really well at sports outside of Crossfit, that's totally awesome, too.  But I don't care how many goddamn times you've done "Fran" or "Cindy",  you're still not an Olympic athlete spliced with a ninja wrapped in a bulletproof vest.  Other folks have been doing HIIT for a LOT longer than Crossfit has been around.  Hard to believe.  I know.

Wanna hear something funny?  I was trying to find an image for this point, and I plugged "Crossfit Douche" into Google Images.  First page is a picture of me.  Now THAT is funny.

It Happens.

2) Denial of Risk Of Injury.

  Maximal Effort = Risk Of Injury+++.  That's a fact, and that can't be denied.  Any time you place a athlete, elite, amateur, or weekend warrior, into a position of maximal effort, there's a risk of injury; as effort increases, so does risk.  This has even been quoted by Greg Glassman: "A program that is 100% safe is one that is not effective at all".  I'd have to agree, emphasizing that intensity and effort  = effectiveness.  So how can you deny that Crossfit doesn't increase injury?  Even with due diligence of trainers, programmers, and the athletes themselves, within a group of people involved in intense exercise, it's going to happen.

   My beef here is NOT with the lack of safety or bad coaching, it's that some folks have been quoted as saying that injury rates have been reduced or eliminated.  I call BS.  Pull a runner away from a massive amount of kilometers every week into a beginning Crossfit program?  Sure, chronic overuse injuries may be eliminated.  Put a sedentary former athlete with old injuries and imbalances into a position of unfamiliar movements and loads?  What do you think *might* happen?  Should one do everything in their power, once again, from coach to programmer to athlete themselves to prevent it?  Your damn right they should.  But denial that the program has it's inherent risks is negligent.


3) Lack of Nicole Carroll.

  Do you think I look at the .com website to actually read the rest day topics?  Do you think I'm there to compare times with other nobodies from all over the damn globe?  Do you think I accidentally stumbled upon Crossfit because I was intrigued by the concept?  Jesus H Christ no.  I saw a picture of Nicole Carroll, dammit, and the rest was history!  Where the hell has she been?  How the hell do they expect people to actually want to read the .com site.  Fill it with informative and totally free, open-source information?  Pffft.  WTH.  Gimme Nicole back, Glassman.  You can't hog her all to yourself there at HQ.

Josh, rockin' the Vibrams.  Oly in Metcon?  Not so rockin.

4) Olympic Lifts in MetCons

Huge beef of mine.  HUGEHAY-OOGE!! There's not really much I can say here that hasn't been said a helluva lot more eloquently than Greg Everett himself; in fact, he has a 3 part series on utilizing the Olympic lifts in a group setting in the Performance Menu Journal that goes over everything quite well.  A well put quote from part 1: "How do you incorporate Olympic lifts in a metabolic conditioning workout in a group setting?  Easy answer: You Don't"  Well said.

   "Technique goes down as fatigue increases".  This is a direct statement from the Crossfit Level 1 certification.  So tell me, where does 30 clean and jerks for time fit into this?  Take a movement that requires a massive amount of technical proficiency, slap a moderate/heavy load on, and try and blaze through as fast as you can for TIME?  You have got to be fucking kidding me.  If that ain't a recipe for disaster (read: point#2), then I'm not sure what is.  Very, very few people can pull off that kind of intensity and maintain technique.  A group setting of various levels of skill?  Coaches nightmare. 

  Now, "Grace", aka 30 - 135# clean and jerks for time, is a fairly extreme exception, as are "Isabel" (Josh Everett's lightning fast performance even demonstrates technique lapse during 30 135# snatches---and he's one of the best) and "Randy" (75 power snatches at 75# for time.  I've seen it done with solid form, so it is possible.), but this still holds true, in my opinion, for anything over the 3 rep range.  AND especially combined with other elements of a metcon that induce massive anaerobic, aerobic, and central nervous system fatigue.  Try busting out 15 snatches at 95# after a 400m sprint.  Yeah, messy.

  Metcons should be designed around fully functional movements that require the least amount of technical proficiency possible---pushups, bodyweight squats, overhead press, pullups, sprinting, rowing, wall ball shots.  These movements, in my opinion, are much safer under fatigue that complex compound movements like the Olympic snatch, the clean and jerk, and to a lesser degree, the deadlift, push jerk, and push press.


5)  Warm Climate Affiliates

 So while I'm freezing my freakin' finger tips off, doing a pre-warmup at home while my truck warms up for the drive, there's Crossfitters out there  doing pullups on damn palm trees, and not subbing a 400m run with a 400m row.  Damn them!  "Virtual" snow shoveling is an insult, and I guarantee their form totally blows.  It should be a requirement to shovel actual snow before you can use that movement (a fine fully functional movement, I might add) at a sunny affiliate.

I've got more beefs, but that'll be part 2.