Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Nonsense that is Crossfit: Scott Abel - The Blog

Scott Abel - The Blog: The Nonsense that is Crossfit:

First off, as the name implies Crossfit wants to blend various training modalities to produce an effective workout. Certainly nothing wrong with that, as a general idea. However, Crossfit wants to use various training methods without obeying any of the principles behind these methods

This makes it not only ill-conceived, but even dangerous, especially with the choices it seems to make, over and over again. Crossfitters never deal with questions or even basic principles of exercise physiology. Let’s look at the Overload and SAID principles of adaptive response. 

In a given workout, which energy systems are you targeting and when and why within the workout? What are the recovery demands of employing this tactic – in the immediate, the residual, and the cumulative realms of its implementation? As I say in every one of my projects, 1) a collection of exercises does not equal a proper workout, and 2) a collection of workouts, does not equal a proper program design.

 These two points alone are why 90% of people fail to make any fitness or cosmetic progress long-term. Crossfit has no programming element, and follows no methodology at all. It considers neither residual or cumulative effects nor recovery demands from workouts – neither as a system of tactical implementation, nor by the trainee undergoing its application.

 Let me backtrack for a minute. Crossfit’s premier fundamental flaw is that it has no methodology behind it, only methods. These methods are flawed because they do not follow recognized principles. By comparison, Yoga is a methodology. Pilates, is a methodology. Jim Wendler’s 5,3,1 is a methodology (and a proper progressive program design). My Innervation Training and MET designs are methodologies. And even P90X, while a little shaky in terms of adhering to principles and methodology – P90X is still a properly designed program. Crossfit is not.

For instance, what type of strength variant or variable are you targeting in a Crossfit workout? Limit strength? Explosive strength? Starting strength? Strength density? Kinetic chain expression? Well the ‘exciting’ answer is all the above. Wow! Good stuff if possible. It’s just not possible. Not if you truly understand these principles. The adaptations to various systems and methods of training are unique to themselves. They require assessment and evaluation of recovery time for each variable. And the consideration of recovery time must include all three elements of time intervals that any real program design would consider – this means consideration of immediate (intra-workout), residual (previous workout stress, current workout recovery, and next few days to a week consideration), and of course cumulative – some strength training adaptations take place over a very long-term, as does cosmetic human adaptation. Crossfit considers none of these elements.

 It is just a continual “collection of exercises and sequences” passing itself off as effective workouts or worse, proper programming. In fact, it is neither.

 It seems to me these days the ‘vogue trend’ is training people to exhaustion then telling them how effective it is to have done so. This is the silly equivalent of saying to train for a marathon, run one every day – to train for a triathlon, do one every day. To train for a powerlifting meet, lift your 1RM every day. In these various realms of fitness pursuits this would be considered ludicrous of course. Why? - Because ‘experts’ in these realms understand about the residual and cumulative effects of training. They understand a methodology of training built around the conception of endurance strength and the aerobic energy system – and/or limit strength and the ATP/CP energy system. In other words, training for a marathon or triathlon or powerlifting necessitates ‘applying’ a methodology based in the physiological operating principles of the adaptive elements involved these events.