What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning system built on constantly varied, if not randomized, functional movements executed at high intensity.
Let’s give life to this description and see how this program, honed from years of clinical experience, goes about forging elite fitness.
Man’s world, nature, is full of movement. Our standing, sitting, throwing, lifting, pushing, pulling, climbing, running, and of course, punching are all quite natural. They got us where we are. They are part of our design. These natural, primal, movements influence the exercises included in CrossFit’s workouts.
We use the term “functional” to describe the exercises utilizing movements most representative of natural movement. Functional movements generally use universal motor recruitment patterns, recruit in a wave of contraction from core to extremity, move the body or other object effectively and efficiently, and are multi-joint movements. We say, “The magic is in the movements”.
We are optimizing physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.
Our tools and exercises have long records of distinction outside of and long before CrossFit. In earlier times every “gymnasium” had parallel bars, rings, vaulting horse, dumbbells, barbells, and heavy bags. The rudiments of gymnastics and weightlifting were taught to all school kids.
In terms of performance, the functional exercises are singularly unique in developing strength, speed, and power. Several of our functional exercises, the deadlift, clean, and squat to name three, have been shown to alter hormone and neurotransmitter production. This “neuroendocrine” response is widely held to explain curious phenomenon like the squat’s development of upper body strength. The neuroendocrine response offers a more systemic and less mechanical view of strength development.
The fitness that CrossFit advocates and develops is broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. In practice, this encourages the athlete to disinvest in any fixed notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, peridodization, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; we train for that by striving to keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied.
Invariably, if not always the question comes up regarding “cardio”. “What about the cardio?” is the standard refrain. The answer is simple yet hard to believe for many: The “cardio” is built into the workouts themselves. Cardiorespiratory adaptations don’t develop independently of exercise and movement. In total, the strength of our training stimulus gives an adaptation so broad and deep that we have not only matched the cardiorespiratory development of other protocols but surpassed them readily, leading to our claim that CrossFit is an unrivaled protocol for developing general physical preparedness.
Paradiso CrossFit operates as an affiliate and member of the CrossFit community. The content provided in this link is original content from Greg Glassman, crossfit.com and the Crossfit Journal. The following is a summary of the article The Foundations of CrossFit by Greg Glassman.