My crossfit complaint

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Dave_Wise
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My crossfit complaint

Postby Dave_Wise » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

I'm pretty convinced that crossfit is the best system of physical exercise known to man. Everything they say makes sense in a way that most of what's written about exercise doesn't, and the workouts are incredibly hard. I've done it periodically, when I've been able to, and that is the main source of this complaint. I want to do crossfit, but I don't want to do the following:
1) Look up the routine on the internet every day. My only access to the internet is this computer, which is at my parent's house. At my own place, I don't have a computer, can't afford one and can't keep one in the room in any case because the bloody landlord can't be bothered to fit a lock that works.
2)Buy a load of expensive equipment. I want to do exercises that use such equipment as I am likely to have access to. Which at the moment is dumbells and a tree. Barbell exercises are fine as I can always substitute a pair of dumbells, and I can quite see that it's reasonable to suppose that a trainee would have access to a barbell. But I do not wish to buy a concept II rower or bore myself by doing sumo deadlift high pulls. I would quite enjoy having an actual boat, but don't see how I can fit that into the WOD. I do want to buy rings and a climbing rope, but that's not an expenditure I can justify with my current financial resources.

I have other complaints. Crossfit quite often say one thing and do another. You're encouraged to develop a good foundation of skills, building incrementally from the basics. Then the WOD tells you to go out and do 3 rounds of 5 clean and jerks, handstand pushups and integral calculus problems (I'm exaggerating, yes. But only slightly.) You're encouraged to develop a strong handstand, and then are told to do no exercises involving handstands for weeks at a time.

What I really need to do is sort out my own crossfit-ish program that I can do, but I suspect that entirely randomised exercise won't do the trick. I persist in believing that there is a method in the madness.
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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby psyck0 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

Crossfit certainly isn't anywhere near as good as you make it sound. It is a reasonable conditioning routine but has a pitiful strength training component, is completely inflexible towards the needs of people beyond cardiovascular conditioning and develops primarily the ability to do crossfit well, which isn't a tremendously useful skill. Plus the people behind it are complete assholes, don't know how to take constructive criticism, and work hard to alienate anyone with an original idea or more knowledge than they have (not hard).

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby recurve boy » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:I have other complaints. Crossfit quite often say one thing and do another. You're encouraged to develop a good foundation of skills, building incrementally from the basics. Then the WOD tells you to go out and do 3 rounds of 5 clean and jerks, handstand pushups and integral calculus problems (I'm exaggerating, yes. But only slightly.) You're encouraged to develop a strong handstand, and then are told to do no exercises involving handstands for weeks at a time.


Which is why you scale the movements to your current ability level. Handstand pushups could be subbed with shoulder presses if you cannot do any kind of handstand. If you can do them against a wall, scale the pushup by using foam blocks under your head. Or even just work on getting into handstand position and count each handstand as a rep. Clean and jerk can be subbed with squat cleans and push jerks. Or make it a skills day and work on your clean and jerk technique.

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Dave_Wise » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:54 pm UTC

It is a reasonable conditioning routine but has a pitiful strength training component

That isn't remotely true, though. They do good strength training exercises (i.e. not isolation exercises) nearly ever day, and they have heavy days, to the extent that they regularly perform singles (which I tend to substitute 3 or 5 rep maxes for, as I remember reading very early on in my training career that singles are for advanced athletes.)
s completely inflexible towards the needs of people beyond cardiovascular conditioning

Not true either- it just provides a much more general kind of adaptation than either a pure heavy lifting routine, a fluffer gym routine or a marathon runner's training.
develops primarily the ability to do crossfit well, which isn't a tremendously useful skill.

I've seen nothing to suggest this. In fact, there's a wealth of evidence that suggests crosffit's kind of fitness is actually more functional the three types of usual training described above.
don't know how to take constructive criticism
If it's the kind of constructive criticism you've given, I'm not fucking surprised.
and work hard to alienate anyone with an original idea or more knowledge than they have (not hard).

I have to admit I'm a mite puzzled by this claim. Crossfit are much more original than the rest of the fitness community, and their knowledge is based on actual experience and observation, which is a much sounder basis for knowledge than internalising a series of flawed assumptions. Which seems to be how the rest of the fitness community acquires its 'knowledge'.





What I really need to know is how I do crossfit without access to the internet. Any ideas, people?
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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Nath » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:35 am UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:That isn't remotely true, though. They do good strength training exercises (i.e. not isolation exercises) nearly ever day, and they have heavy days, to the extent that they regularly perform singles (which I tend to substitute 3 or 5 rep maxes for, as I remember reading very early on in my training career that singles are for advanced athletes.)

They choose good exercises, but program them more or less at random. This will produce some strength increases for a complete beginner, but will only get you so far.

There are many ways to combine strength training with other kinds of training. Doing random exercises is not the optimal way to do this.

Dave_Wise wrote:
don't know how to take constructive criticism
If it's the kind of constructive criticism you've given, I'm not fucking surprised.
and work hard to alienate anyone with an original idea or more knowledge than they have (not hard).

I have to admit I'm a mite puzzled by this claim. Crossfit are much more original than the rest of the fitness community, and their knowledge is based on actual experience and observation, which is a much sounder basis for knowledge than internalising a series of flawed assumptions. Which seems to be how the rest of the fitness community acquires its 'knowledge'.

Crossfit has a history of trying to silence dissenting opinions, e.g. by banning people asking inconvenient questions from their forums. It has a cult-like reputation for a reason. Here are some examples of the sort of silly drama I'm talking about:
http://robbwolf.com/2009/11/24/the-black-box-summit-or-how-i-got-fired-from-the-crossfit-nutrition-certification/
http://www.cathletics.com/wod/index.php?show=wod&dailyID=1016
http://greyskullarticles.blogspot.com/2009/10/recently-ive-received-lot-of-emails.html
(Mark Rippetoe also left Crossfit a while ago, apparently over the certification standards.)

There are worse programs out there than Crossfit, but there are many reasons to be suspicious of their claims.

Dave_Wise wrote:What I really need to know is how I do crossfit without access to the internet. Any ideas, people?

Print out the previous week's WODs when you have access to the Internet, and do those?

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Dave_Wise » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:18 am UTC

There are many ways to combine strength training with other kinds of training. Doing random exercises is not the optimal way to do this.

OK, so what is? I'm not trying to be awkward or unpleasant, it's just that I can't think of any other routines that have a much better approach. It has always worried me that they combine different training modalities with quite such gay abandon, but I've always assumed that's part of the approach. And I've always been a bit concerned that exercises are often practiced once, and then left untouched for months.

It does worry me that there's been a parting of ways between them and Mark Rippetoe.

I've always assumed that people being banned from the crossift forums was just a matter of their immature whining, as is usually the case on internet fora, but it now seems that might not quite be the case.
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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Nath » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:47 am UTC

Well, some Crossfit affiliates (some of which are now former Crossfit affiliates) have their own WODs, some of which are better thought out than the ones on the CF home page. Here's one from Rippetoe's gym (though I don't think he wrote it). It's basically two Starting Strength workouts and two conditioning workouts a week. Another option is Wendler's 5/3/1. It's a highly customizable 4-week barbell training cycle, and allows you to program a reasonable amount of conditioning or sports training without screwing up your strength work (though you will progress slower than with the above linear progression workout).

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby recurve boy » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:11 am UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:
develops primarily the ability to do crossfit well, which isn't a tremendously useful skill.

I've seen nothing to suggest this. In fact, there's a wealth of evidence that suggests crosffit's kind of fitness is actually more functional the three types of usual training described above.


It's like everything else though. If you have a box with a good coach and good people, there is no problem. If you find a box that is ultra-competitive and the coach does not quite know what they are doing, maybe you have a problem.

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Dave_Wise » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:51 pm UTC

More bitching: it's really difficult to keep motivating myself to carry on doing crossfit when every workout brings me to the verge of vomitting.
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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby psyck0 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:
It is a reasonable conditioning routine but has a pitiful strength training component

That isn't remotely true, though. They do good strength training exercises (i.e. not isolation exercises) nearly ever day, and they have heavy days, to the extent that they regularly perform singles (which I tend to substitute 3 or 5 rep maxes for, as I remember reading very early on in my training career that singles are for advanced athletes.)

And they tend to do them to exhaustion, at rapid pace, HIIT-style. NOT strength training.

s completely inflexible towards the needs of people beyond cardiovascular conditioning

Not true either- it just provides a much more general kind of adaptation than either a pure heavy lifting routine, a fluffer gym routine or a marathon runner's training.

Exactly. It works fine if you don't want anything in particular, but if you're actually training for something, crossfit is not going to be great. Often it will be bad, because it doesn't have enough strength work for competitive athletes.

don't know how to take constructive criticism
If it's the kind of constructive criticism you've given, I'm not fucking surprised.
OOOOH BUUUUURN WAY TO GET THAT SHOT IN DUDE.
In addition to the total douchebaggary Nath mentions, they ALSO do shit like edit in endorsements of quacks to articles written by famous and well-respected experts: http://www.startingstrength.com/resources/forum/showthread.php?t=15872

That said, if you fit in the group of people who aren't training but are just looking to exercise and get more fit, crossfit can work for you. You could a) print off a list of workouts from the past few months and go through them in the order they were presented, and update your list every time you get an internet connection, b) join a crossfit gym (although it is too easy to get certified and many gyms are run by idiot trainers who know absolutely nothing about their job) or c) do HIIT, which is what crossfit is based on, and make up your own routines (not recommended unless you've been training for over a year and actually know what you are doing).

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Dave_Wise » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

n addition to the total douchebaggary Nath mentions, they ALSO do shit like edit in endorsements of quacks to articles written by famous and well-respected experts:

OK, now that's a valid criticism. And I've developed a real loathing of this 'zone diet' thing they keep harping on about.

But the thing is, it's that general kind of fitness that interests me- not because I'm not training for anything in particular, but because I like to do lots of different things. I like karate, yes, but equally I like white water kayaking. I want to be strong enough to lift heavy things, but I've never seen that as an end in itself. I enjoy climbing, swimming and all sorts of other activities, I regularly perform manual labour, and the nightlife in my home town occasionally makes running away from the police a necessity. I don't want to do any sort of training that seriously compromises either activity at the expense of any other. Especially the one involving paid work, and the one involving the police.

The main thing that bothers me, though, is the constant use of this little word 'elite'. I've known a couple of former elite athletes in my time, and their training does not even vaguely resemble what crossfit does. They typically do a LOT of skill training with a few weight training sessions and maybe a bit of extra conditioning. But the main difference between what they do and what crossfit does is periodisation. They have different training schedules at different times of year, and they very rarely perform circuits difficult enough to make them vomit. Whether they should or not I don't feel qualified to answer, though. And having said all that, the results do speak volumes: most time-served crossfitters have lean, muscular physiques and regularly perform exercise routines that to the rest of us look like miracles.

Edit: I am now attempting to resolve this conflict in my soul by reading this article:
http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_arti ... t_crossfit
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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby recurve boy » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:24 am UTC

Dave_Wise wrote:OK, now that's a valid criticism. And I've developed a real loathing of this 'zone diet' thing they keep harping on about.

So ignore their advice on Zone! I also think it is bullshit.


Article wrote:Yes ... but only if the benefits it offers are the ones you seek. As long as its goals match your goals, I recommend it.


Your complaint about vomitting is a little weird. Most people simply stop pushing so hard when they realise that it leaves them in a bad state.

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Re: My crossfit complaint

Postby Dave_Wise » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:16 am UTC

I think I decide in favour of crossfit. The ability to do lots of different things competently is in line with my 'athletic' ambitions.
Your complaint about vomitting is a little weird. Most people simply stop pushing so hard when they realise that it leaves them in a bad state.

Yes, but do I strike you otherwise as a normal, sensible or remotely sane person?
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