Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Will CrossFit Be The New S&C?

This will be a bit of an inflammatory post, but it's not meant to be that way. I'm taking an honest look at the landscape of the industry that I love and where we will all be in the next several years. If your butt is hurt by this, well...

There is always a ton of anti-CrossFit posts going around by strength and conditioning types lambasting the system for all of its faults; a lot of with which I agree. I don't think Joe Schmo should walk in off the street and start doing snatches on day 1, or learn how to kip a pullup before being good at strict ones...but those are rarely issues in CrossFit gyms nowadays. 

Gone are the days of everyone following the apparently random WOD's posted on the mainsite; the vast majority of boxes write their own programming. On top of that, much of the programming is being written by qualified coaches who have degrees in exercise science and a background in strength and conditioning. Off the top of my head, I can think of 8 CrossFit coaches that I know personally who have either a Exercise Science degree or a background in S&C, or both. These coaches are setting up intake assessment protocols for their gyms so they can provide more individualized programming, they are setting long-term goals for clients and setting up periodized programs to help them achieve these things. 

What is CrossFit and what makes it different than traditional strength and conditioning anyway? The famous saying is "A regimen of constantly varied (CV)functional movements (FM) performed at high intensity (HI) in a communal environment leads to health and fitness.So let's break that down: "constantly varied" means they change the exercises a lot, "functional movements" relates to compound barbell lifts and gymnastics movements and "high intensity" means that you go hard. Well, truthfully, that's not so different than strength and conditioning. If you train 5 days a week with a trainer or a coach, you're going to be doing different exercises every day, and hopefully they will be barbell lifts performed at a pretty significant intensity. Sooooooo how's it different again? I'd say the big difference is that traditional strength and conditioning programs train athletes for specific contests and seasons...but what if you're a 26 year old office worker with no season to speak of? Then you might want a program that increases your General Physical Preparedness consistently over time, right? That's what I did with people as a personal trainer; work consistently to get them stronger and fitter with (often) no specific time frame. 

So, it's the idiots, I think. The CrossFit idiots make themselves pretty obvious and it annoys people. 

There are plenty of idiots in the CrossFit world, but there are plenty of idiot personal trainers, and even idiot strength coaches. For a long time the strength and conditioning world focused their vitriol onto crappy personal trainers (and there was/is a lot of them). But what happened? Trainers started to learn more and more and now there's a ton of really good, qualified personal trainers in commercial gyms out there.

Here's an interesting thought; CrossFit gyms far outnumber traditional strength and conditioning gyms, by a lot. I know, I was recently looking for work. What does this mean? It means that more and more classically trained strength and conditioning coaches will be finding jobs at CrossFit gyms. The level of coaching at these gyms will get better and better and more post-grad athletes will start finding their way to a CrossFit gym for training programs. They will probably end up doing normal CrossFit classes either, but following traditional performance programs. 

Athletes will see a CrossFit gym with good coaching, where they can get faster and stronger, that has bars and bumpers and sleds and ropes and all the good toys that any strength and conditioning facility should have, that commercial gyms do not. Many CrossFits are already training athletes who just don't have any other place to go; there isn't exactly a Cressey Performance or IFast on every corner of each city. 

I'm not suggesting we all go run out and get our level-1 certifications, just some food for thought. What do you guys think?

Have a great day, go lift some heavy shit!

1 comment:

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