In light of the recent boom in CrossFit’s popularity and the competitions that have been arising, I think it’s necessary to take a step back and look at the big picture.  CrossFit’s model and formula for increased work capacity across broad and modal domains is indeed effective and has created tight-knit communities of individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle.  However, sometimes the goals are lost in translation when the focus turns to WOD til you puke, push through the pain, throw more weights on the bar  mentality.

Physical therapists, doctors, and chiropractors alike have enjoyed an increase in business since numerous CrossFit boxes have sprouted up in the last years.  Does this mean that I’m saying CrossFit is dangerous?  Perhaps in its application, but not if the athletes are willing to recognize that fitness is a journey and to respect their bodies while in this pursuit.  For most people, however, proper lifting only exposes injuries, imbalances, and postural issues developed over a lifetime that didn’t need to be addressed until they made it a personal goal to lift heavy weights.  In these cases, I find that those ‘doctor visits’ are rather beneficial and can prevent major injuries down the line.

The purpose of a WOD is exercise.  The goals of which are:

  • building strength (and to reduce injuries by building stronger bones, muscles, and connective tissue)
  • reinforcing your body’s ability to adapt and recover
  • building neural adaptation and ‘practicing’ good movement
  • to push to the limit of your physical and mental boundaries
  • but most importantly: to be able to come back the next day and do it all again!

The purpose of a WOD is NOT:

  • to rip your hands so you can’t deadlift/pull up/clean/snatch/KBS the next day
  • to succumb and be a ‘slave to the clock,’ ignoring all proper form in order to get a faster time than your workout partner
  • to work til you puke/pass out

As a beginner your main goals are to:

  • ‘bank’ good muscle memory and perfect your movement
  • identify any mobility issues, muscle imbalances, or weaknesses and prehabilitate to prevent future injury
  • get to know yourself as an athlete.  What are your physical and mental boundaries?  How hard can you push yourself in a 2, 5, 15, 30 minute workout? Where do you reach muscle failure in pull up/push up reps, how fast can you recover both within a workout and in the days after?
  • increase body awareness
  • seek out resources and learn about the importance of nutrition, recovery, and sleep.

As an intermediate athlete:

  • be even more conscious of form as now your weights are getting heavier
  • have the discipline to employ proper recover techniques (foam rolling, stretching, ice bathes, etc)
  • know the difference between sore, overtrained, and injured and be smart enough to scale when necessary
  • to improve skillwork and work  your weaknesses during active rest days or before/after workouts
  • work to become a balanced athlete (strength, speed, skill, endurance, work capacity)
  • continue with prehabilitative movements as you transition to an advanced athlete
  • push your ability to recover during and after workouts

As an advanced athlete:

  • have a dialed-in routine in workouts and competitions (when/what to eat, sleep,visualization, mental preparation, and recovery for multi WOD days)
  • increase work capacity
  • fine tune technique and be consistent in your lifts
  • know exactly what your body is capable of,  recognize signs of neural or physical fatigue, and adapt your training appropriately (ie you didn’t get much sleep and your snatches are sluggish and clumsy.  Instead of pushing through it and getting hurt, know how much to back off on the lift and metcon in order to maximize your training for that day)
  • seek out and play new sports *
The take home of this post isn’t for you to stop pushing yourself in workouts.  Instead, take note of what your goals are, what your abilities/limitations are, and push yourself accordingly.  Then, come back the next day and repeat.

**This doesn’t mean beginner and intermediate athletes shouldn’t play new sports, but they should remember that what they are learning in the gym is  essentially a new sport in itself.**

WOD 03.13.12

Bench Press 3×5 or Wendler

7 Ring Push Ups
11 Med Ball Sit Up Toss
15 Double Unders

Rest 2 Minutes. Repeat.

8 Responses to “For God’s Sake, It’s Just Exercise!”

March 13, 2012 at 7:51 AM

Great outline of to-dos at every level. Looking forward next week to do the modified cfi wods from home.

March 13, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Just slap me next time I start doing stupid stuff again… Rehab sucks!

March 13, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Great post!

Jenna Allison
March 13, 2012 at 9:39 AM

great, GREAT post! I absolutely hate when a WOD puts me out of commish for the next 3 to 4 days b/c of not being able to move. I like being able to push myself but able to come back at least three days in a row! :) miss you Intrepids!!

March 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

So glad to read this post. Excellent advice as always. I’ve directed some recent On-Rampers to this post.

Hope to see you all soon!

RQ173 | Carolyn Hill
March 14, 2012 at 7:43 AM

[...] “For God’s Sake, It’s Just Exercise!” Intrepid CrossFit. March 13, 2012. Web. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in CrossFit, Quote, Reading. [...]

Tuesday. 3.20 | CrossFit Hilton Head
March 19, 2012 at 5:01 PM

[...] Tuesday. 3.20 WU: 400m run 3 rds of: 3 TGU per arm with weight of choice 5 strict pullups 10 air squats MOB: Ankles, Hips and Shoulders WOD: Volume Training. 2 perfect reps on the minute for 10 minutes of a bodyweight skill you want to improve on. Then: For Time: 50 C2B pullups 100 pistols (50 per leg) 150 pushups Break up anyway you see fit. LIII: Pullups. Pistol sub of choice. LII: Band assisted pullups. 100 pushups, 1 abmat ok. Pistol sub of choice. LI: Ring rows. 75 pushups, knees ok. Squats ok. PWOD MOB: Lax ball in C/S/B, triceps, glutes and forearms/biceps if necessary. Hamstring stretch. Hip flexors How can you better define your training? [...]

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