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Crossfit rant; valid or BS?


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I have no formal opinion on Crossfit, if it gets people moving, great. But I found this interesting critique/rant of Crossfit that I thought really honed in on some reservations I've had. Its a bit long, but worth the read. The author seems to know his stuff, maybe, he at least a lot of official looking abbreviations after his name. 

Thoughts?

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It's not the first criticism of Crossfit, and it won't be the last.  I agree with the writer that Crossfit is an easy way to seriously injure yourself and the results of doing Crossfit are questionable, unless your goal is to get better at Crossfit.  The injury part true for a variety of reasons:

  1. It is easy to become a Crossfit trainer
  2. Crossfit emphasizes how many reps/how quickly you can do a lift instead of how to do the lift properly and safely
  3. People do Crossfit because it's "hardcore," and they think the injuries make it more hardcore, so when Crossfit get sued because people hurt themselves, they settle out of court, rework their release forms, and don't make any substantial changes to improve the safety aspects of the program, and people keep going because they are "hardcore."

I don't think that this is all Crossfit's fault.  People should be smart enough to a. not engage in such a program if they are out of shape b. learn proper form before they start throwing weights all over the place and c. if they choose to participate in risky behavior because it's hardcore, then they assume the risk of getting hurt.

Some of the injured people had no business doing Crossfit in the first place, and should have realized this on the first day and quit while they were ahead.

That being said, I do think that Crossfit is assuming a liability in training people in this haphazard manner, and if they accept out of shape people who don't know how to lift and encourage said people to lift in a reckless manner, then they should have to pay for the damages.

I am not saying that all Crossfit trainers are reckless or support speed/weight over proper form and safety, but it is a pattern and a problem at Crossfit gyms and the upper management are either unwilling or incapable of resolving the problem.

I watched the Crossfit games, and their form was terrible.  People were rushing to beat the clock, and it looked like a disaster waiting to happen.  They had form coaches to make sure people lifted properly to qualify, but the coaches must have been stoned because they let anything fly.  These people are the best of Crossfit, and their form was ****.

I skimmed the article and agree with most of what he says. 

I've dabbled in CF some of the stuff I just can't or won't do due to the risk of injury - plus me not being strong enough yet to do some of the stuff ( pull ups, muscle ups,  I can't run worth a darn,  don't even want to try that rope - fear of heights!)

I watched the games last year when they were on ESPN and enjoyed them immensely - I liked how the girls weren't afraid to look like they work out!  I liked the team events too and the "masters" since I'm an older person and the WOD aren't as intense and are scaled down to a level I might be able to achieve someday.

I also found it interesting to see how many had taped up shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles- that can't be a good sign.  Also I've seen their torn up hands from the weights. 

I know Mark Rippetoe stopped coaching and judging CF due to their philosophy. 

The gym I go to is owned by a guy who owned a CF box store in CA.  He also tries out for the masters competion each year.  He is a little younger than me and has already had knee surgery a couple times. 

I think I will stick to regular weight lifting and doing burpees and wall balls for my metabolic workouts - Oh I LOVE wall balls!!!

 

I find it incredibly humorous that people are now accepting the "crossfit pull-up" as a "real" way to do pull-ups.

Next thing you know half-way squats will be a full-on "real" lift that people do and claim they are doing well.

Original Post by armandounc:

I find it incredibly humorous that people are now accepting the "crossfit pull-up" as a "real" way to do pull-ups.

Next thing you know half-way squats will be a full-on "real" lift that people do and claim they are doing well.

According to bb.com-half squats are real squatsm and sissy squats are for the real tough guys.

http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/03/01/a- beginners-guide-to-crossfit/

Here is a good overview of crossfit and some of the pros and cons.  

I think the "crossfit games" I see on tv are terribly dangerous.

Crossfit training probably has a lot to do with the quality of your trainer.
Original Post by nicholas_shannon:

I think the "crossfit games" I see on tv are terribly dangerous.

Crossfit training probably has a lot to do with the quality of your trainer.


Post your next workout on Youtube.com so that we can compare your experience to those that are "competing" at the Crossfit Games.

I believe there is plenty of issues with "crossfit" but they have become an easy target with people who are neither as strong, as cardio fit nor are cut to **** about on the internet.

So here's the throw down - post your numbers against the winners so that we can check the value of your criticism.

 

Original Post by armandounc:

I find it incredibly humorous that people are now accepting the "crossfit pull-up" as a "real" way to do pull-ups.

Next thing you know half-way squats will be a full-on "real" lift that people do and claim they are doing well.

To be fair kipping pull ups aren't exactly easy, they do a fair amount of reps too.  I'm no Crossfit fan, but sometimes you have to give credit where credit's due.

 

I don't think that cardio fitness, strength, or how cut someone is has any relevance on how well they can evaluate safety. I see fit people who lift like morons, and people the size of my leg with perfect form.

People who don't care about fitness probably won't be able to evaluate safety well, but people who are currently working on their goals and may not have reached "michaelduff" standard, may know plenty about safety.  Some people, like me, try to learn proper form stuff before they start working out i.e. before they reach their goals.

I'm not as strong, fast or cut as I want to be yet, but I know a crappy pull up when I see one, a crappy power clean when I see one, etc. I'm not saying that every competitor had crappy form, but a lot of them did, and no one got dq'd, so I don't know how crappy was too crappy or if that level even exists.  The men tended to have better form from what I saw, but I wasn't going to watch all of them, so my sample was most likely skewed.

I'm not saying that the people who do crossfit aren't fit.  Most of them were fit before they started. If you listen to their bios, ex-professional athletes, firefighters, etc.  They have active jobs and careers and would probably be able to stay in shape doing anything.

I'm just saying that given Crossfit's style: there are plenty of people who have no business doing it, it is easy for people to injure themselves doing it, Crossfit seems okay with this ongoing phenomena, therefore they should have to pay for the consequences, just like any other business would have to in these circumstances.  

This doesn't make Crossfit good or bad.  People do lots of things where the risk of injury is high because they want the reward.  People have to evaluate both and make that choice, and unfortunately, some people are too dumb to see the risk.  They just see "I wanna be hardcore." I just don't see any personal reward in doing Crossfit, so I won't be giving them my money.  Who cares?

My main complaints about XFit have been a lack of intelligent programming and too many idiots. The Heinlein quote ("Specialization is for insects") is used to wave away the first one; the theory is that by not focusing on any one fitness aspect, everything gets better, when the reality is quite different. And I don't know what can be done about the too many idiots thing, but I do note that people don't talk smack about Starting Strength the way they do about Stronglifts. Perhaps Glassman should have studied the difference between Rippetoe and Medhi.

Also, I LLOLed* at this: "Do you enjoy lifting like a little girl? maybe that's why their WOD (workout of the day) are named after chicks."

*Literally LOL

Original Post by michaelduff:


Post your next workout on Youtube.com so that we can compare your experience to those that are "competing" at the Crossfit Games.

I believe there is plenty of issues with "crossfit" but they have become an easy target with people who are neither as strong, as cardio fit nor are cut to **** about on the internet.

So here's the throw down - post your numbers against the winners so that we can check the value of your criticism.

Since when is being "better" than them a qualification for critiquing their lifting? If that were the case, no coach would be qualified to coach Olympic athletes, as they wouldn't be good enough.

Who cares how much you can lift. There is a proper way to lift and a "less proper" way to lift. I don't need to be stronger to say that some of those Xfitters have horrible technique and are setting themselves up for injury(ies).

 

Original Post by armandounc:

Original Post by michaelduff:


Post your next workout on Youtube.com so that we can compare your experience to those that are "competing" at the Crossfit Games.

I believe there is plenty of issues with "crossfit" but they have become an easy target with people who are neither as strong, as cardio fit nor are cut to **** about on the internet.

So here's the throw down - post your numbers against the winners so that we can check the value of your criticism.

Since when is being "better" than them a qualification for critiquing their lifting? If that were the case, no coach would be qualified to coach Olympic athletes, as they wouldn't be good enough.

Who cares how much you can lift. There is a proper way to lift and a "less proper" way to lift. I don't need to be stronger to say that some of those Xfitters have horrible technique and are setting themselves up for injury(ies).

 

I think everyone's entitled to an opinion regardless of experience, but I also see where Duff is coming from.

It's a growing phenomenon on the internet for people to dismiss feats of strength/physical shape and fitness all the while ignoring the fact that they can't repeat the feat themselves.

It's very common with equipped powerlifting videos and any bodybuilding videos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I definitely agree, but I still maintain that one doesn't need to be just as strong or stronger to be "qualified" to criticize.

Imagine if you criticized the president and I said "Show me you can run the country; and if you can't, don't criticize." That would be preposterous.

But you are correct that some are quick to dismiss feats of strength (and many other "feats" not related to the strength field) just because they themselves can't do them.

 

I have no problem admitting I couldn't come close to those Xfitters in the crossfit games. But I don't do crossfit. Lifting is cross training for me. Could I be as strong if I dedicated myself to it? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not. I don't have the body for it. I'm okay with that. But that doesn't mean I can't be critical of those who have bad technique. And like I said it's not all of them. Some have very good technique.

 

 

I see where he's coming from.  I just think he's full of "insert four letter word."  No one should have to prove anything to him.  What is he, the fitness police? Does his approval magically validate one's opinion?  There's a difference between criticizing a program style and criticizing the competitors.  I think soccer is dreadfully boring, but I don't think that I am anywhere near as athletic as the professional players.  That doesn't mean I can't criticize soccer by saying it is dreadfully boring.

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

Original Post by armandounc:

I find it incredibly humorous that people are now accepting the "crossfit pull-up" as a "real" way to do pull-ups.

Next thing you know half-way squats will be a full-on "real" lift that people do and claim they are doing well.

To be fair kipping pull ups aren't exactly easy, they do a fair amount of reps too.  I'm no Crossfit fan, but sometimes you have to give credit where credit's due.

 

I agree that kipping pullups are pretty hard. And they use your whole body more than regular pullups. They also require a full range of motion (because you have to go all the way down at the bottom), which is very rare when people do regular (non-dynamic) pullups. I look at a heck of a lot of pull up videos on youtube, and in only one in 20 does the person go all the way down. In the kipping pullup ones, 100% go all the way down. At my gym, I've rarely seen anyone go all the way down when doing regular pullups.

A kipping pullup is better than half a regular pullup!

It might even be a better exercise than a full regular pullup, since it incorporates coordination, more muscles, and even some torso flexibility.

I don't dismiss the results, but I don't see merit in their programming. Example: Starting Strength alternates presses with bench presses. Progression in press is limited by the smaller weight that can be lifted; alternating bench press by workout allows the same pressing muscles to be worked under a much larger weight, allowing greater/quicker adaptation. By contrast, here are the most recent workouts of the day:

  • burpees, power snatch, box jump, thruster, chest-to-bar pullup (as many reps as possible, 1 min per exercise, 3 sets)
  • superset pullups, pushups, squats (as many sets as possible in 20 min
  • superset rope climb and clean & jerk (5 sets for time)
  • superset run, double-unders, burpees (3 sets for time)
  • sprint triathlon (750 m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run)

I have yet to have anybody explain to me using actual science how the overload of the first workout creates an adaptation in the body that results in increased performance in the last workout beyond the most glib and useless statements (such as "crossfit results in athletes' increasing their fitness in all ten fitness domains" - really? prove it using specific examples based on our current understanding of human physiology, and show me exactly why Xfit workouts work where others do not).

Also, like doping in cycling, I really don't care what Joe RhabdomyolosisBrain does to train, but I do care that his achievements are bandied about as demonstration that this is indeed the best way to train. Focusing on results to the exclusion of the underlying training methods cheapens the individual contribution and lessens the amount of critical thinking. And more critical thinking is better than less.

Original Post by smashley23:

I see where he's coming from.  I just think he's full of "insert four letter word."  No one should have to prove anything to him.  What is he, the fitness police? Does his approval magically validate one's opinion?  There's a difference between criticizing a program style and criticizing the competitors.  I think soccer is dreadfully boring, but I don't think that I am anywhere near as athletic as the professional players.  That doesn't mean I can't criticize soccer by saying it is dreadfully boring.

Post your "oh so perfect technique" if you are nervous to put your numbers out.

Put yourself out there and let others judge.  Don't post here, feel free to post your vids away from my prying eyes.

You're the ones on here criticising not only some individual person doing or coaching Crossfit stuff but the ones at the highest levels.  Strong fast and fit people who look pretty awesome physique wise.

Rippetoe may have quit Crossfit... so what?  Rippetoe is also at cross position with most of the US Olympic weightlifting movement - so Pendlay is "doing it wrong"?

I personally don't agree with Crossfit "programming" as they would post on the main site for me but it doesn't mean that Crossfit doesn't work because clearly plenty of people are achieving their goals with it.

There are hundreds of Crossfit coaches out there many would be outstanding coaches.  

Crossfit is a type of training.  It doesn't suit your goals, then don't use it.

Also its not the Government, it doesn't tax you or put laws over you so feel free to find another strawman.

 

Original Post by michaelduff:

You're the ones on here criticising not only some individual person doing or coaching Crossfit stuff but the ones at the highest levels.  Strong fast and fit people who look pretty awesome physique wise.

Rippetoe may have quit Crossfit... so what?  Rippetoe is also at cross position with most of the US Olympic weightlifting movement - so Pendlay is "doing it wrong"?

I personally don't agree with Crossfit "programming" as they would post on the main site for me but it doesn't mean that Crossfit doesn't work because clearly plenty of people are achieving their goals with it.

Olympic rowers/runners/cyclists/etc get criticized for their technique on a daily basis. That has NOTHING to do with how in shape they may be or ultimately their results in their given sport.

Somehow you don't seem to be familiar with this concept.

Original Post by armandounc:

Original Post by michaelduff:

You're the ones on here criticising not only some individual person doing or coaching Crossfit stuff but the ones at the highest levels.  Strong fast and fit people who look pretty awesome physique wise.

Rippetoe may have quit Crossfit... so what?  Rippetoe is also at cross position with most of the US Olympic weightlifting movement - so Pendlay is "doing it wrong"?

I personally don't agree with Crossfit "programming" as they would post on the main site for me but it doesn't mean that Crossfit doesn't work because clearly plenty of people are achieving their goals with it.

Olympic rowers/runners/cyclists/etc get criticized for their technique on a daily basis. That has NOTHING to do with how in shape they may be or ultimately their results in their given sport.

Somehow you don't seem to be familiar with this concept.

If a homeless man came and gave me mortgage advice, should I just take it because everyone's advice is of equal value?

If I am an Olympic rower and some 240lb drunk sitting along the river bank criticises my technique, should I immediately follow that advice?

If you are going to criticise, then show some credentials so that we can assign some value to that criticism.  

Otherwise, its just more hot interwebz words.

 

My original point was that the "crossfit games" on tv aren't the same thing that the trainers in gyms across the country do. I talk to a xfit guy at my YMCA and that's what he told me.

It's probably a pretty good fitness routine. I'm not excited about doing it but i can see value in it. I was thinking of trying a few sessions in a month or two.
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