Crossfit entered the fitness realm with the claim of “forging elite fitness.” Since then, they have been playing catch up with what we in the strength community already knew:
To win, you have to have focused training outside of traditional “Crossfit.”
An individual training traditional Crossfit style to compete in The Games (their version of a World Championship), or even Regionals, is several years removed — possibly several generations. Unfortunately, the potential to compete is implied by every Crossfit gym across the world.
Crossfit Before and After photos suggest that you will go from scrawny to jacked, and ready to compete in no time.
Additionally, even with specialized training, you really have no idea what you are actually training for. This takes a large part of strategy out of the competitive training cycle and relies too much on blind chance. It’s nonsensical and arbitrary.
In competition, you hope to do the things that you have prepared for. With the polar opposites of some of the disciplines, you are going to be relatively, to highly, unprepared for some events.
As Crossfit grows, they continually abandon the hard stance on not using equipment.
They recently adopted the use of a reverse hyper and GHR (Glute Ham Raise). Some gyms have even added the bench press, which have been powerlifting tools for many years. This indicates they have become aware of the need for special exercises to fill the gaps in their training.
They program for the masses without taking this into consideration.
Historically and traditionally, Olympic lifters spend months in preparatory phases with only a barbell, or in some cases, just a technique stick. Focusing only on special exercises before ever loading up a barbell. Crossfit gyms will have you believe you should “RX it” asap.
Additionally, they throw adults with no previous training into gymnastics with complex moves.
Those with a gymnastics base, a highly specialized activity, will find some success in Crossfit. An adult breaking into Crossfit with a solid strength base could have every component except gymnastics. That in itself could prevent one winning at the highest level.
If one favors strength endurance in Crossfit but lacks gymnastics, they could potentially win a world championship one year and not make Regionals the next. Without early gymnastics, it comes down to luck of the draw based on what the promoters choose for events.
They seem to be coming around to what the strength community has always known.
There is a science and practice of properly applied training protocols. Especially if your sport is a multi-disciplined and engages the use of many strength qualities.
There are other sports that have defined the parameters of their expectations and training protocols. Sports that are more effective, more efficient, and get a lot less attention. Strongman and Highland Games to name a couple.
So what did Crossfit do better than these other sports or powerlifting? Marketing. Before their sport gained a true identity or became well defined. Before they even seemed to know how to program a workout, they marketed, and created, a culture around Crossfit that is unmatched.
I have trained only one Crossfit athlete and thru the use of our methods that athlete competed in the Crossfit Games.
The Crossfit Games are an extremely well run, first rate event. I’d love to see the brand take a more balanced approach and standardize the event to enable athletes to have a proper preparatory cycle.