Hallmarks of Fitness

05 Nov

BUT WHAT IS CROSSFIT?

Here are the three guiding principles, or hallmarks, of our Gold Standard of Fitness

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CrossFit Fitness Standard: ONE

There are ten recognised general physical skills. They are: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. A regime develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these ten skills. Importantly, improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body. By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.

CrossFit Fitness Standard: TWO

The essence of this model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable. Picture a hat filled with an infinite number of physical challenges where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform feats randomly drawn from the hat. This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks in relation to other individuals. The implication here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar tasks, tasks combined in infinitely varying combinations. In practice this encourages the athlete to put aside any set notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied.

CrossFit Fitness Standard: THREE

There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway. The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities, those that last less than about ten seconds. The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes. The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes. Total fitness, the fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops, requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” that we do at CrossFit. Favoring one or two to the exclusion of the others and not recognizing the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training.

As an over riding principle, Crossfit views the needs of an Olympic athlete and our grandparents as differing by degree not kind. One is looking for functional dominance the other for functional competence. Competence and dominance manifest through identical physiological mechanisms.

We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programmes.

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