While talking with my friend and rolfer to the stars Todd Fluck, I realized that my approach with Crossfit was not constructive. I don't look at Crossfit as competition, I look at it as a sport that has nothing to do with me. I don't think it's appropriate as a general fitness tool, but it's a free society and the vast majority of people who go there are looking for Crossfit. As I was playing disc golf this morning, I posed a question to myself:
What are the 3 things you would do to improve Crossfit?
It took all of 5 seconds to come up with all 3, and here they are:
Adopt the joint by joint approachThe joint by joint approach is the product of a collaboration between strength coach Michael Boyle and physical theparist Gray Cook and has been since expanded by Physical Therapist Charlie Weingroff. The joint by joint approach, quite simply, explains how we move effectively. It tells you so much and is what the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is based on. The basics of the joint by joint approach is that each joint of your body lends itself to either being more stable or more mobile. Efficient, pain free movement requires that each component of the system functions as it should, or the entire system suffers. Movement dysfunction starts when 1 joint functions in the wrong way. When a joint that is supposed to be stable becomes mobile, the joint above or below it needs to switch and become stable, otherwise movement cannot occur. This messes up the entire system and can lead to pain, poor movement, and injury. When I work with any client, I inform them of the joint by joint approach and how it works. When you know what each component of a system is supposed to do, making sure that system functions properly is much easier. It's also easier to get rid of lower back pain when you know what everything is supposed to do.
Program intelligently, not randomlyWhen I get any athlete, I find out when they need to be ready, how they need to be ready, and I work backwards. If I have a tennis player that comes to me in August and needs to be at the top of their game in January, I already know what I'm going to do near the end of December, I then work back. How can I get them to that point? What other things do they have going on that I have to work around? Does the results of their FMS allow them to do what I want or do I need to change my approach. The random nature of Crossfit is the primary beef most knowledgeable strength coaches have with it. If I had a box, I would identify the populations I am working with and have 2 tracks. You have a group of people looking to compete, and those that are just doing it for fun. Ok, the competitors are easy because you know when they have to be ready. What needs to get accomplished each week, and how can I lay out WODs pragmatically so that I hit everything that needs to get hit while limiting overuse injuries and burnout? How often am I going to hit specific tissues and how am I going to give each tissue a break? What recovery modalities am I going to have them do? Then you can get in to individualizing the person's program based on their life and career.
For the people doing it for fun, it's even easier. You can lay out WODs for these people that won't lead to overuse injuries because you're not preparing them for anything. You could lay out an entire league or season at your box easily. Even though it's not random, that's not the point. What makes Crossfit difficult is you don't know what you're preparing for, not that it's random. If you lay it out how you want in an intelligent way and it's a surprise to your customers, what's the difference?