Routines There is no ideal routine! In fact, the chief value of any routine lies in abandoning it for another. The CrossFit ideal is to train for any contingency. The obvious implication is that this is possible only if there is a tremendously varied, if not randomized, quality to the breadth of stimulus. It is in this sense that the CrossFit Program is a core strength and conditioning program. Anything else is sport specific training not core strength and conditioning. Any routine, no matter how complete, contains within its omissions the parameters for which there will be no adaptation. The breadth of adaptation will exactly match the breadth of the stimulus. For this reason the CrossFit program embraces short, middle, and long distance metabolic conditioning, low, moderate, and heavy load assignment. We encourage creative and continuously varied compositions that tax physiological functions against every realistically conceivable combination of stressors. This is the stuff of surviving fights and fires. Developing a fitness that is varied yet complete defines the very art of strength and conditioning coaching. This is not a comforting message in an age where scientific certainty and specialization confer authority and expertise. Yet, the reality of performance enhancement cares not one wit for trend or authority. The CrossFit Program’s success in elevating the performance of world-class athletes lies clearly in demanding of our athletes total and complete physical competence. No routine takes us there.
Neuroendocrine Adaptation “Neuroendocrine adaptation” is a change in the body that affects you either neurologically or hormonally. Most important adaptations to exercise are in part or completely a result of a hormonal or neurological shift. Current research, much of it done by Dr. William Kraemer, Penn State University, has shown which exercise protocols maximize neuroendocrine responses. Earlier we faulted isolation movements as being ineffectual. Now we can tell you that one of the critical elements missing from these movements is that they invoke essentially no neuroendocrine response. Among the hormonal responses vital to athletic development are substantial increases in testosterone, insulinlike growth factor, and human growth hormone. Exercising with protocols known to elevate these hormones eerily mimics the hormonal changes sought in exogenous hormonal therapy (steroid use) with none of the deleterious effect. Exercise regimens that induce a high neuroendocrine response produce champions! Increased muscle mass and bone density are just two of many adaptative responses to exercises capable of producing a significant neuroendocrine response. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the neuroendocrine response to exercise protocols. This is why it is one of the four defining themes of the CrossFit Program. Heavy load weight training, short rest between sets, high heart rates, high intensity training, and short rest intervals, though not entirely distinct components, are all associated with a high neuroendocrine response.
Power Power is defined as the “time rate of doing work.” It has often been said that in sport speed is king. At CrossFit “power” is the undisputed king of performance. Power is in simplest terms, “hard and fast.” Jumping, punching, throwing, and sprinting are all measures of power. Increasing your ability to produce power is necessary and nearly sufficient to elite athleticism. Additionally, power is the definition of intensity, which in turn has been linked to nearly every positive aspect of fitness. Increases in strength, performance, muscle mass, and bone density all arise in proportion to the intensity of exercise. And again, intensity is defined as power. Power is one of the four defining themes of the CrossFit 6 Program. Power development is an ever-present aspect of the CrossFit Daily Workout.
Cross-Training Cross training is typically defined as participating in multiple sports. At CrossFit we take a much broader view of the term. We view cross training as exceeding the normal parameters of the regular demands of your sport or training. The CrossFit Program recognizes functional, metabolic, and modal cross training. That is we regularly train past the normal motions, metabolic pathways, and modes or sports common to the athlete’s sport or exercise regimen. We are unique and again distinctive to the extent that we adhere to and program within this context. If you remember the CrossFit objective of providing a broad based fitness that provides maximal competency in all adaptive capacities, cross training, or training outside of the athletes normal or regular demands is a given. The CrossFit coaching staff had long ago noticed that athletes are weakest at the margins of their exposure for almost every measurable parameter. For instance, if you only cycle between five to seven miles at each training effort you will test weak at less than five and greater than seven miles. This is true for range of motion, load, rest, intensity, and power, etc. The CrossFit workouts are engineered to expand the margins of exposure as broad as function and capacity will allow. Cross training is one of the four CrossFit defining themes.
Functional Movements There are movements that mimic motor recruitment patterns that are found in everyday life. Others are somewhat unique to the gym. Squatting is standing from a seated position; deadlifting is picking any object off the ground.They are both functional movements. Leg extension and leg curl both have no equivalent in nature and are in turn nonfunctional movements. The bulk of isolation movements are non-functional movements. By contrast the compound or multi-joint movements are functional. Natural movement typically involves the movement of multiple joints for every activity. The importance of functional movements is primarily two-fold. First of all the functional movements are mechanically sound and therefore safe, and secondly they are the movements that elicit a high neuroendocrine response. CrossFit has managed a stable of elite athletes and dramatically enhanced their performance exclusively with functional movements. The superiority of training with functional movements is clearly apparent with any athlete within weeks of their incorporation. The soundness and efficacy of functional movement is so profound that exercising without them is by comparison a colossal waste of time. For this reason functional movement is one of the four dominant CrossFit themes. Read More