Crossfit – Not So Bad

There is a lot of conflicting information in the rehab and strength and conditioning world. Look no further than the message boards on any popular blog or facebook page and you will see disagreement. Sometimes it’s even hard to find conclusive information in the research. And for people who don’t spend their lives immersed in this field, it’s downright confusing. I’m here to tell that if you’ve ever given advice to someone, you were probably wrong.

While the healthy debate of ideas in our field is essential to growth, problems arise when conflicting information leaves people confused. It doesn’t help us reach a larger audience, get more people exercising, and positively influence our clients, athletes, and patients. I’m sick and tired of hearing people say “but my trainer said you *have* to do this…”

Let’s look at crossfit. The first thing we were wrong about. Everyone said crossfit was a travesty. “Look at that horrible form!” “The olympic lifts are supposed to be 1 rep!” …I’ve heard all the arguments and I’ve made most of them myself. For years the biggest buzz question was “what do you think of crossfit?” And now I’m giving in. Look what’s happened now: crossfit has put more barbells in peoples hands than powerlifting and olympic lifting ever did. Weightlifting, training, and physical exertion have never been more mainstream. Everyone in the industry has benefited from crossfit: it’s helped spread the gospel of training. I’d bet that you have more friends and family squatting than you did 5 years ago… and it’s not all because of you. One quick little disclaimer- I’m not condoning poor and dangerous form, and I suggest you have a solid training base before attempting crossfit.

[img cred]

What we failed to think about when we stuck up our noses to crossfit was the problems it was addressing head on- not enough people resistance train or even know how to, and commercial gyms have trouble keeping people’s interest. Crossfit was the solution- a group and camaraderie based resistance training and cardio workout with a low barrier to entry and low business startup cost. The rest was history. If we had looked at the bigger picture, and not our ego’s, the strength and therapy world might have embraced crossfit sooner. Sure it’s not what we would suggest for all of our clients, but are there any universal workouts that are OK for everyone?

I have watched the fitness and therapy industry turn into an ego-driven and opinionated battlefield. Our practices are driven by us as individuals making decisions on what our clients and patients should do, and we’re usually right- which is why we still have jobs (phew). This success contributes to our confirmation bias that we are always doing the right thing. Sometimes we forget, all training works. While we strive to be science and evidence based in our practices and clinical decision making, there is a lot of wiggle room in the application of our basic principles. What it is important for us to recognize is that our single decision is not the only right one. There will never be one perfect workout, one perfect answer, or one solution. And that’s what makes it fun.

So if you want to overhead press, static stretch, olympic lift, do cuff exercises, cue knees out on squats, false grip bench, foam roll for an hour everyday, deadlift in running shoes, do crunches off the rafters like Rocky Balboa, or do an entire workout consisting of nothing but muscle-ups, go for it. Just remember that your right way to find success in fitness is not the only right way.


Sign up below to receive free content that will change the game on your approach to injury prevention and recovery.