So, you may be thinking, yeah you go to Crossfit classes all the time, of course I Crossfit. But do you really? I think some people are starting to forget the founding characteristics of what Crossfit actually is.
‘Functional Movements performed at High Intensity across Broad Times and Modal Domains’
This is Crossfit in its purest and simplest form and I’m going to explain to you why you probably don’t even Crossfit.
- Functional Movements:
These are described as moving ‘large loads over long distances, quickly’. Movements like snatch, C&J and muscle ups now fall under the ‘functional movement’ tag, but really, what makes them more functional than the bicep curl or bench press? They are really just the ‘cool and sexy’ stuff that everybody wants to see on Instagram, but how applicable are those movements to real life, which is what functional training is supposedly all about, getting fit for life.
Instead I would rather see you getting involved with loaded carries. Yokes, farmers handles, sleds, sandbags. These really define ‘functional’ and are extremely applicable to real life. Carrying a heavy object is one of the most demanding tasks on our bodies and it is something we do on a daily basis.
So, step 1 to being more Crossfit, put down the barbell and pick up the sandbag.
- High Intensity:
This is the big one. I like to think of intensity as the amount of your maximum effort that you can apply at any one time.
Getting the appropriate intensity out of your workouts is the key to progression in Crossfit. Many people mistake heavier loads or increased reps as a form of intensity but in most cases this actually lowers the intensity and results in slower progress.
Take the classic workout ‘Fran’ as an example. 21-15-9 of thrusters at 95lbs and pull ups. This is a benchmark workout and when done correctly should be performed ‘unbroken’ and in a maximum of 6 minutes (the best do it in 2!) The feeling afterwards should be an extremely high heart rate from pushing at your maximum effort, severe muscle fatigue in the quads, lats and forearms from doing the rep scheme unbroken and lastly a ‘Fran Cough’ that will probably last a week!
Now some of you will look at this workout and think, “Yeah I could do that RX, I can thruster 95lbs and I can do pull ups” But if you do the workout in sets of 5 or 6 reps at a time, move slowly and finish in 14 minutes, yeah you’re super tired because the workout was hard but you didn’t get the right intensity from it. It isn’t the same feeling as the guy next to you who finished in 5 minutes. The way to achieve that feeling is to SCALE your workout. There is no shame in scaling at all, it is one of the things that makes Crossfit beautiful. It means that I could come to the gym today with my Mum, who has never done Crossfit before and we could both do the same workout, scale it appropriately and we would both finish around the same time and both be equally as tired when we do.
Step 2 to being more Crossfit, drop the ego and scale your workout, intensity is the KEY!
- Broad Times and modal Domains:
This really refers to the amount of variance in your training. One of the big problems I see developing is the need for a ‘regular Joe’ class member to start a squat cycle or to only focus on strength/gymnastics or whatever it may be. The very essence of Crossfit is variance. It is why we progress in so many different areas so quickly. It keeps your body guessing and does constant adaptation to new stimulus.
A lot of people who say they Crossfit really only show up when the workout looks ‘fun’, but when it’s cardio day it is time for a sleep in. If you really Crossfit, you show up to 1 rep max day, you show up to 5k run day and you show up to handstand progressions day and you embrace each one of them and give your maximum effort to all.
Step 3 to being more Crossfit, no cherry picking, get up and work on your weaknesses!
So, do you even Crossfit? See you in the class this week and lets find out!
By: InnerFight Director of Training, Phil Hesketh