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Big ups to Josh Howey and Danielle Worden!

Josh finished 4th in the state for wraastling and Danielle finished 3rd in the state for powerlifting

Entries in 10 general skills (4)

Quote of the Week vol. 246

"You know Chris it's funny, the track people think we're doing football workouts, and the football people think we're doing track workouts."

- Brian the Trainer, somewhere around 2010.

Endurance people want endurance. Weightlifters want weightlifting. Powerlifters powerlifting. And to get really good at those things, you need to specialize at some point. Just what exactly that point is is not always clear for both athletes and coaches.

We do CrossFit. Just CrossFit. A simple and potent blend of everything; we would not take a decline in any area at the expense of another. And I have yet to see an athlete that I don't believe will see the results they want from this blend if they are patient enough. Football players should be doing Murph and cross country runners should be doing max effort back squat.

Avoiding the Dead End: The Essentials

One of the most important things to understand about CrossFit is that it's a broad, general, and inclusive fitness program. In other words, it involves a little bit of everything because the physical demands of real life are mostly unknown and unpredictable, so it's best we are well-versed in our fitness. Because of this, CrossFit workouts involve the following:

  • Plyometrics
  • Endurance principles
  • Old-school bodyweight exercises
  • Artistic gymnastics
  • Sprinting
  • Mid-distance running
  • Long distance running
  • Biking
  • Rowing
  • Olympic Weightlifting
  • Powerlifting

All of those areas listed above can be, in certain settings, considered professions of some athletes; let's take gymnastics for example. We do ring dips and kipping muscle-ups and call it gymnastics. The truth is, both of those movements were not even real things until CrossFit came around. Actual gymnasts saw videos of these being performed and cringed at the lack of technique. Same with things like rope climbs and kipping pull-ups. In fact, one of the most vocal in this camp is Christopher Sommer - longtime US Gymnastics coach and, ironically, the original CrossFit SME for gymnastics before him and Coach Glassman decided to part ways. If you can't watch entire video below, at least skip in to the 10 minute mark and watch for a sec.

Q: "So gymnasts don't do banded pull-ups?"
A: "No, that's one of God's bastard creations."

Another major area of criticism came from their Olympic lifting community when they found out one of CrossFit's benchmark workouts included a whopping 30 clean and jerks to be performed in a single set for time. The common argument was (and sometimes still is), the Olympic lifts are incredibly precise movements and should only be done in small sets with lots of rest in between. The same can be said for people in the Powerlifting, Running, Biking, Swimming, and Rowing camps.

The general consensus is that CrossFit is just a hacked version of a bunch of great sports.

But as I said in the intro, if you understand the purpose behind CrossFit, then there is very little to argue about in that respect. We don't necessarily want to make professional Olympic lifters, or Elite-level gymnasts, etc. We want to beg, steal, and borrow the essentials from those disciplines in order to make really good all-around athletes. If, over the course of being exposed to them, an athlete wants to focus on that area, bonus!

The CrossFit program wants to use the strength in the back squat/deadlift/press, power output of the Olympic lifts, precision of gymnastics, stamina of running, endurance of rowing, and the agility of sprinting as tools to help us improve our general fitness. Good at everything instead of great at one thing. So that means sometimes it's not worth the time it takes to coach some of the fine points of the gymnastics movements and Olympic lifts because it doesn't necessarily fit our purpose; it would be more beneficial to spend that time being a more competent rower or runner.


Just recently, I had a realization that another category has been added to the beg, steal, and borrow list. One that we kind of take for granted.

  • CrossFit

This kind of goes back to the RX'd FYI posts. The CrossFit Games, aka "The Sport of Fitness," uses CrossFit as a major part of their testing grounds. As such, standards have been set and training protocols have been introduced that prepare someone to perform about 9 workouts in a single weekend. Some of them are things we need to include in our daily training, and some of them are a little too much of a dead-end to spend a lot of time on (unless that is an area you want to compete in). Not saying we never should, obviously. Just keep things general for the most part. Typically the last thing we want to be leading our athlete to is a dead-end movement.

I try to avoid picking apart other people's coaching on here most of the time to keep the focus on the Champions Club. For this series I'm going to link some other videos and articles, not so much to critique them, but to view them through CrossFit binoculars so you can understand why we use it and what are the essentials.

What would Christopher Sommer say if he saw this?

Accuracy at the 6 pm Session

Just a reminder that the 3:30 session is on as usual tomorrow (Tuesday). I may be a little late, but it will be on. Wednesday's is cancelled.

First off, we had two old faces rejoin us after some time on hiatus: Jennifer Banet - the youngster of the Banet quartet, and Crystal Reed - marathon mommy OG. Great to have them back.

But anyway, due to the number of people at the 6 pm session and the lack of space to accomodate boxes and bars, we had to move the group outside. The only problem: it was pitch black.

Of course Mr. Z complained that he had to put his glasses back on, and Aaron Sexton had to jump to a black plate on top of a black box in the middle of a black parking lot, but I was happy to see nobody had a serious problem with it. This is just another thing we can chalk onto the list of having to make the best of our limited facility. In my opinion, that is a good thing.

As I wrote in Constantly Varied and Such Things it's good to work out in less-than-ideal conditions every now and then. That could mean grabbing a bar that doesn't spin perfectly, or using a squat stand that doesn't quite fit you, or running in the cold, or, like tonight, jumping in the dark.

One of CrossFit's 10 general skills is accuracy. Box jumps test those. And box jumps in the dark test them even more. At some point in your life, you may need to be doing something athletic when eyesight is not great. This could be a night football game, or losing your glasses, or getting poked in the eye. In those cases you will have to rely on muscle memory and your other senses to get the task accomplished.

Obviously, jumping to a high box in the dark is not the best thing to practice on a regular basis. But if CrossFit's goal is to prepare you for the unknown and the unknowable, this would fit in with that framework. I don't know many parents who would be confident enough to do box jumps outside at night. Well done!

Class Rankings

Here are the 10 general physical skills CrossFit recognizes (which they got from the folks at Dynamax).

Rank them in the order you think is the most important to develop to the least important. 1 being most important and 10 being least important.

What is Strength? Monday at 7 pm