What is CrossFit?

What is CrossFit? CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.

The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.

The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.

Thousands of athletes worldwide have followed our workouts posted daily on this site and distinguished themselves in combat, the streets, the ring, stadiums, gyms and homes.

CrossFit also publishes the CrossFit Journal, designed to support the CrossFit community detailing the theory, techniques, and practiced by our coaches in our gym, in essence bringing your garage or gym into ours, making you a part of the CrossFit family.


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Foundations

(Download Foundations .PDF for easy printing)

Foundations

An overview of the CrossFit methodology and philosophy.

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. We have designed our program to elicit as broad an adaptation response as possible. CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

The CrossFit Program was developed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks. Our athletes are trained to perform successfully at multiple, diverse, and randomized physical challenges. This fitness is demanded of military and police personnel, firefighters, and many sports requiring total or complete physical prowess. CrossFit has proven effective in these arenas.

Aside from the breadth or totality of fitness the CrossFit Program seeks, our program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximizing neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training and practice with functional movements, and the development of successful diet strategies.

Our athletes are trained to bike, run, swim, and row at short, middle, and long distances guaranteeing exposure and competency in each of the three main metabolic pathways.

We train our athletes in gymnastics from rudimentary to advanced movements garnering great capacity at controlling the body both dynamically and statically while maximizing strength to weight ratio and flexibility. We also place a heavy emphasis on Olympic Weightlifting having seen this sport’s unique ability to develop an athletes’ explosive power, control of external objects, and mastery of critical motor recruitment patterns. And finally we encourage and assist our athletes to explore a variety of sports as a vehicle to express and apply their fitness.


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What’s the CrossFit method?

The CrossFit method is to establish a hierarchy of effort and concern that builds as follows:

Functional Movement High Intensity Constantly Varied

  • Diet – lays the molecular foundations for fitness and health.
  • Metabolic Conditioning – builds capacity in each of three metabolic pathways, beginning with aerobic, then lactic acid, and then phosphocreatine pathways.
  • Gymnastics – establishes functional capacity for body control and range of motion.
  • Weightlifting and throwing – develop ability to control external objects and produce power.
  • Sport – applies fitness in competitive atmosphere with more randomized movements and skill mastery.

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Is this for me?

Photo courtesy of Lorenia

Sorda like the Partridge Family but they can TOTALLY take the Brady Bunch.

Absolutely! Your needs and the Olympic athlete’s differ by degree not kind. Increased power, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination, agility, balance, and coordination are each important to the world’s best athletes and to our grandparents. The amazing truth is that the very same methods that elicit optimal response in the Olympic or professional athlete will optimize the same response in the elderly. Of course, we can’t load your grandmother with the same squatting weight that we’d assign an Olympic skier, but they both need to squat. In fact, squatting is essential to maintaining functional independence and improving fitness. Squatting is just one example of a movement that is universally valuable and essential yet rarely taught to any but the most advanced of athletes. This is a tragedy. Through painstakingly thorough coaching and incremental load assignment CrossFit has been able to teach anyone who can care for themselves to perform safely and with maximum efficacy the same movements typically utilized by professional coaches in elite and certainly exclusive environments.


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Examples of CrossFit exercises

  • Biking, running, swimming, and rowing in an endless variety of drills.
  • The clean & jerk, snatch, squat, deadlift, push-press, bench-press, and power-clean.
  • Jumping, medicine ball throws and catches, pull-ups, dips, push-ups, handstands, presses to handstand, pirouettes, kips, cartwheels, muscle-ups, sit-ups, scales, and holds.
  • We make regular use of bikes, the track, rowing shells and ergometers, Olympic weight sets, rings, parallel bars, free exercise mat, horizontal bar, plyometrics boxes, medicine balls, and jump rope.

There isn’t a strength and conditioning program anywhere that works with a greater diversity of tools, modalities, and drill.

Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up (TGU)

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Do I have time for all of this?

It is a common sentiment to feel that because of the obligations of career and family that you don’t have the time to become as fit as you might like. Here’s the good news: world class, age group strength and conditioning is obtainable through an hour a day six days per week of training. It turns out that the intensity of training that optimizes physical conditioning is not sustainable past forty-five minutes to an hour. Athletes that train for hours a day are developing skill or training for sports that include adaptations inconsistent with elite strength and conditioning. Past one hour, more is not better!


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Diet

The CrossFit dietary prescription is as follows:

Paleolithic Food Pyramid

  • Protein should be lean and varied and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.

  • Carbohydrates should be predominantly low-glycemic and account for about 40% of your total caloric load.

  • Fat should be predominantly monounsaturated and account for about 30% of your total caloric load.

  • Calories should be set at between .7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass depending on your activity level. The .7 figure is for moderate daily workout loads and the 1.0 figure is for the hardcore athlete.

What should I eat?

In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That’s about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all circumspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition.

The Caveman or Paleolithic Model for Nutrition

Modern diets are ill suited for our genetic composition. Evolution has not kept pace with advances in agriculture and food processing resulting in a plague of health problems for modern man. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and psychological dysfunction have all been scientifically linked to a diet too high in refined or processed carbohydrate. Search “google” or “Alta Vista” for Paleolithic nutrition, or diet. The return is extensive, compelling, and fascinating. The Caveman model is perfectly consistent with the CrossFit prescription.

What Foods should I avoid?

Excessive consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates is the primary culprit in nutritionally caused health problems. High glycemic carbohydrates are those that raise blood sugar too rapidly. They include rice, bread, candy, potato, sweets, sodas, and most processed carbohydrates. Processing can include bleaching, baking, grinding, and refining. Processing of carbohydrates greatly increases their glycemic index, a measure of their propensity to elevate blood sugar.

What is the Problem with High-Glycemic Carbohydrates?

The problem with high-glycemic carbohydrates is that they give an inordinate insulin response. Insulin is an essential hormone for life, yet acute, chronic elevation of insulin leads to hyperinsulinism, which has been positively linked to obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood dysfunction and a Pandora’s box of disease and disability. Research “hyperinsulinism” on the Internet. There’s a gold mine of information pertinent to your health available there. The CrossFit prescription is a low-glycemic diet and consequently severely blunts the insulin response

Caloric Restriction and Longevity

Current research strongly supports the link between caloric restriction and an increased life expectancy. The incidence of cancers and heart disease sharply decline with a diet that is carefully limited in controlling caloric intake. “Caloric Restriction” is another fruitful area for Internet search. The CrossFit prescription is consistent with this research.The CrossFit prescription allows a reduced caloric intake and yet still provides ample nutrition for rigorous activity


Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

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