Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I swear to never do another seated leg extension in my life.

As some may know I recently have box-jumped onto the the crossfit bandwagon.  I got certified a month ago and have been training using ONLY crossfit methods for 6 months.  As a guy who has been working out for almost 2 decades, I strongly urge everyone I know to buy the crossfit journal on the mainsite ( and transition yourself to a crossfit lifestyle.
Just to be clear crossfit is not just professional athletes, navy seals and olympic competitors, it is for everyone.  All workouts and exercises can be modified to a person's current situation.  To prevent information overload I will give you an overview of why I decided to stop the way I used to train and start crossfit.
Crossfit is about:
-Preparation for unknown and unknowable tasks.  Certain occupations like police officers, fire fighters and military personnel have to be ready for anything.  Situations may arise where people’s lives are at stake and the ability to tackle the task at hand could prevent disaster.  
-Improving life quality/fitness level.  Your fitness level is determined by how quickly you can move large loads long distances over a lifetime according to Greg Glassman (crossfit founder).  If an 80 year old man can do “Fran” as prescribed in less than ten minutes it is safe to say he will live until he is 100 if he keeps cross-fitting.  “Fran” is a crossfit benchmark workout (  I highly recommend “Fran” to people who think they are “fit”. 
-Using functional movements:
Movements that mimic daily activity and are essential for joint integrity.
Start from core and end at extremities.  Exercises that promote big power output.  A squat and a deadlift are functional movements.  Safe and effective movements when executed properly.
-High intensity:
Your intensity level is going to be the factor that yields the most favorable results.  Intensity is defined as power which is  force x distance / time.  Different from what you may have heard crossfit is not about destroying yourself in a workout, but about giving all you got based on your physical and psychological limitations. This may lead to feeling exhausted and tired after but will create the most favorable adaptations to your body.  A crossfit trainer should help you learn and master the 9 basic movements of crossfit( before tackling extravagant exercises and/or gruelling workouts and don’t let your ego run the show.
-Efficacy and measurability:
This stuff works, look on the main website ( and see what people are saying.  They are always improving.  Every workout is measurable, the variables of time, weight, reps and movement standards are determined.  Knowing these factors will allow you to test yourself again and see where you are at and if your programming is yielding improvement.
-Attacking weaknesses:
 Crossfit prefers well rounded individuals as opposed to specialists.  Instead of being awesome in just one thing we want to be ok in everything.  Crossfit workouts punish specialists.  A specialist would be considered as someone who does one thing really well i.e sumo wrestler, marathon runner and the guy who squats 800 lbs. but can’t get up two flights of stairs.  
Crossfit workouts create well rounded athletes by training and practicing olympic weight lifting movements, gymnastic exercises and cardio-respiratory/vascular exercises.  The ways you mix and match these three modalities is infinite, also just training with one of these components is necessary.  The synergy of these combinations will allow you to hang out in phospholytic(explosive/fast/short), glycolitic(strong/steady/medium) and oxidative (medium-low output/slow/long) energy pathways improving aerobic and anaerobic capacity.   Not to mention benefical adaptations in the top 10 physical skills- power, speed, accuracy, coordination, strength, flexibility, agility, balance, endurance and stamina.  Some examples of these modalities: 
Cardio-vascular/resipiratory exercises:
Running, Cycling, Rowing, Swimming, Jumping rope
Gymnastic Exercises:
Pull-ups, push-ups, bw squats, muscle-ups, jumping, burpees, l-sits, sit-ups, handstands, front levers, pistols,toes to bar, lunges, ring rows.
Olympic Lifts:
Deadlift, Back-Front-Overhead Squats, Squat-Hang-Power Cleans, Shoulder-Push Presses, Clean and Jerk, Push Jerk, Power-Muscle-Squat Snatch, Weighted Pull-ups, Weighted Dips, Weighted Push-ups, Kettlebell Lifts, Medicine Ball Drills, Bench Press.
It is hard to give a brief overview of this phenomena.  I just want to let you know this is the real deal and I feel sad to know that I have missed out on this for so long.  This is the way to go from now on and I hope you will give it a shot or contact me with any questions.  I  didn’t even cover the foundational aspect of nutrition :(  I will be back soon with a new post but if you can’t wait I highly recommend and follow the material in this article and every other article in the crossfit journal.