We Specialize In Not Specializing

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Sam doing tire squats

Sam doing tire squats

How can CrossFit achieve so many goals at once? How can a long distance runner and a weight lifter benefit from the same program? CrossFit is designed to be broad, general, and inclusive. A 250lb power-lifter will dominate a workout like “Grace” (30 Clean & Jerks as fast as possible) since it involves lots of heavy lifting but wouldn’t do well in a workout like “Helen” (3 rounds of 400m run, 21 Kettlebell swings, and 12 pull-ups as fast as possible) due to the running and pull-ups. On the other side of the spectrum we can have a world class marathon runner who will dominate everyone in long races but ask them to run a mile carrying a 50lb sand bag and they will be crushed by your average CrossFit athlete. We can improve an athlete’s proficiency in their given sport, whether they are a runner or power lifter, by training them outside of their skill set.

CrossFit develops all around athletes and punishes the specialist. Our goal is to be proficient in all realms of fitness, all types of training, across all time domains. We want to be a blend of the runner, lifter, gymnast, climber, and power athlete. Why? Because you never know what life is going to throw at you. Maybe you’ll have to carry a friend down flights of stairs, maybe you’ll have to sprint away from a mugger, maybe you’ll have to run 5 miles, or maybe you’ll just have to carry heavy stuff working around your house (note that doing bicep curls, lat pull downs, and the pec machine at your globo-gym will help you in none of these situations). Life is unknown so we train for the unknown.

What exactly does that mean? It means we need to be skilled in Accuracy, Agility, Balance, Coordination, Cardiovascular Endurance, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Stamina, and most importantly Strength. Specialized athletes are amazing at a few of these and absolutely terrible in others. We believe that you are only as fit as your weakest attribute. This why fringe athletes (those who specialize in a few of the 10 physical fitness skills) would benefit from CrossFit training. CrossFit trains athletes to be good in all 10 general fitness skills. We do this by running fast, lifting heavy, running long, lifting light, climbing, pulling, pushing, throwing, and moving different types of objects (including your own body) in many different ways. We mix these types of exercises in as many combinations as we can think of. While it may look like workouts are random they are in fact thought out and are designed to serve a purpose.

We don’t train to be great at one thing; we train to be pretty good at all things. I don’t care if you’re strong and can deadlift 400 pounds if you can’t run a mile. I don’t care if you have great endurance and can run 26 miles if you can’t do a pull-up or squat your body weight. We believe that if you take a hopper and filled it with an infinite amount of physical activities the person with the most broad and inclusive training would, on average, perform the best at any given activity pulled out of the hopper. That’s how we train at CrossFit because life is a hopper; we never know what it will happen tomorrow.

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