This is a great article written by Dewey Neilson originally posted on his website this article does a great job at exposing crossfit for the damage it is doing to actual health and fitness behind its face of promoting competition and camaraderie. I will be placing an article discussing crossfit soon to share my own thoughts on this new fitness trend, but till then this will do.

What Crossfit is and isn't 

To start, this is not a bash on Crossfit. This is not a personal attack on Greg Glassman, Crossfit coaches or anybody who participates in Crossfit. This is simply my view of what Crossfit is and isn’t. With that said, I will bet my bottom dollar that I will personally be attacked by the Crossfit community and most likely see a drop in numbers on my oh-so-important-Facebook-Friends-list. I am in the business of making people fitter and healthier. Understand that this is what people pay me for. People come to me to learn how to move better, eat better, lose fat, gain muscle, fix muscular imbalances, avoid/prevent injuries and get better at their sport. I choose training modalities that support these goals and tackle these goals in this order of importance:

  1. Avoid injuries during the training process/DO NO HARM (If this is not every strength coaches #1 rule, they are do a disservice to the industry)
  2. Reduce the risk of injury in sport or life
  3. Attain the clients goal, be it fat loss, muscle gain, sports performance, etc.
I hope that gives you a clear and simple overview of how I go about this whole fitness and health thing.

What Crossfit is and isn’t…..

I’m sure there are good Crossfit facilities and coaches but I’m sorry, when you associate you’re name and reputation with non-sensical training and irresponsible coaches, how good are you really? When coaches are able to post horrendous videos on Youtube under the banner of Crossfit, the good coaches are instantly thrown into this category. If Crossfit ever had a goal of promoting intelligent fitness, videos like this don’t cut it.

(Yes we understand this is not a power clean in the video. It is a strong-man lift called the continental lift. Even if it looked good, its still not an exercise that should be prescribed for general fitness or athletes….. they are not strong-man competitors)

This video blew up on Facebook recently and I made a comment about what I think Crossfit is. Here is what I said: “This is another example that Crossfit is not a thought-out progressive exercise system, it is an extreme sport done with strength training tools.That’s what it is. No different than MMA, motocross, etc. It’s not a system meant to safely improve health, strength or work capacity for general pop or athletes. If I had a mid 40′s house wife that wanted to lose body fat, I wouldn’t ask here to go get punched in the face by our fighters. It’s scary that these folks can get certified over a weekend, open a gym and start coaching humans.”

What do I mean by a progressive exercise system? Simple. Not everyone is capable or ready for just anything. They must progress into performing specific tasks. Everything should be scaleable. Simple to complex movements. Lighter weight to heavier weight. Slower tempos to faster tempos. Common sense stuff. But this is exactly what Crossfit lacks. There is no progression. Everybody does the same exercise, with the same load, for the same reps with absolutely no respect to form and technique. Get it up with any means necessary. But I’m sorry for the common sense here….. If Jane Doe can’t front squat 115 lbs for 1 rep, then she can’t front squat 115 lbs for 20 reps. Now, before the Crossfit community starts calling me a pussy and sending me death threats, I can comfortably say I am not. I love extreme sports. I own a BJJ/MMA gym, I grew up skateboarding and I am a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I have always loved the rush that extreme sports give me. But I keep my love of extreme sports to myself and I would never push them upon a client that is simply looking to get in better shape.

With classic Crossfit quotes like “If you are afraid to fall off the rings and break your neck, we don’t want you in our ranks”, it should be obvious that this was not a system (technically it’s not a system at all) dedicated to making people healthier. This is where things get bad with Crossfit.

  1. CF coaches have no idea it’s an extreme sport.
  2. CF participants have no idea it’s an extreme sport.
  3. People wanting to safely get in shape and are thinking about trying Crossfit have no idea it’s and extreme sport.
So the folks from category #3 see the bodies (because many of them are great) of the folks from categories #1 & #2 and think, “I want to look like that”. Since #1 & #2 don’t recognize the reality that crossfit IS actually an extreme sport, they go ahead and encourage #3 to join Crossfit. Unfortunately for #3, the lack of this understanding of what Crossfit is from #1 & #2 typically gets them a case of rhabdomyolysis, a bilateral shoulder dislocation, a blown achilles tendon, 3 herniated discs, etc, etc, etc, and they NEVER got the body they wanted because they have now spent more time recovering from non-sense injuries than they have spent actually training. In Crossfit, only the mutants survive. Just like MMA, only the Randy Coutures survive. Ever wonder why you don’t see more 45-50 year old MMA athletes?? It’s because that shits rough. It’s an extreme sport and only the mutants age gracefully through years of extreme sports. They are the exception, not the rule.

If you love to participate in Crossfit, more power to you. Just understand what it is so that you don’t push it upon someone that shouldn’t be doing it. Hey, I love Jiu-Jitsu and it’s not the safest thing to participate in….. but I know the boundaries of who should and shouldn’t do it.

To any of the good Crossfit gyms and coaches out there (because I’m sure they exist), why, PLEASE ASK YOURSELF THIS, why in the world would you associate your name, your lively hood and your character by standing behind this banner?


This was the video referenced earlier in the article

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