That’s not CrossFit…


One of the most interesting criticisms levelled at CrossFit, is that “no one actually trains like says anymore.”

This is often in reference to people like Rich Froning and other top athletes regularly working out multiple times per day, vs a typical day of programming from the HQ website, that may only have one exercise, such as Overhead Squats 3-3-3-3-3, or Run 5km, for example, to complete on a given day.

Along the same lines is another similar criticism, “most CrossFitters don’t do CrossFit anymore, they do other stuff as well.”  Similar to the first example, it refers to everything from high volume weightlifting programs, to aerobic base work, to detailed periodisation of the training year.  The supposed random nature of CrossFit apparently doesn’t include this sort of stuff.

The whole reason I got into CrossFit in the first place was it’s brilliant simplicity.

They didn’t feel the need to make the basic complicated, to mess around with rep tempo, and rest periods, and exercise order, among many other things.

But assuming that this means they don’t care about the details, is where the average fitness coach (especially the ones trying to earn a name for themselves, or worse, their special training system…..) gets it wrong.

The big mistake is trying to define CrossFit from the outside with no experience of it.  ”Dotcom” is not CrossFit, it is just one example of a programming cycle.  It is aimed to encompass as much variability as possible, to be highly functional (drawn from gymnastics, weightlifting and monostructural activities), and to be intense enough to challenge the fittest athletes.

It assumes a training cycle of 3 days on, 1 off, which is their recommendation for those pursuing fitness with any dedication.  But of course there lots of people who respond to a different frequency, some who need more rest, and of course some who simply don’t have time in their lives for that much training.  We program multiple aspects of fitness into a training session to allow them to make decent progress on a less frequent training cycle.

But even Coach Glassman said, “There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the athletes’ efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these skills or just play…” No mention in that quote, of only doing one thing and one thing only in a day.   He didn’t even say you absolutely COULDN’T train twice per day.  But for some reason, as soon as you do, or if you spend 3months on a strength bias, it’s not CrossFit anymore…..:)

Another attacked CrossFit definition is "constantly varied, functional movement executed at relatively high intensity"

Apparently, if you don't literally pick workouts from a hat, stray from just squat, deadlift, and press, and aren't coming close to vomiting every time you workout, it's also not CrossFit.......

Constantly varied, means variety, not random and unplanned.

Functional is a mis-used term in fitness, but if we just stick to exercises that make us actually fitter, we should be fine.

And the key to the last part is the word RELATIVE.  You only push the intensity to the level that challenges YOU, that helps YOU improve, and that is proportionate to the difficulty and/or intent of the workout.  If it's Turkish Get ups, you will naturally move slower than if it's sled pushes.  If it's an active rest day, a skills day or a prescribed percentage of max, then you will move with less intensity.  Again, the term relative is often overlooked in the race to attack safety and due diligence.

Ultimately, CrossFit is not a style of training, it’s a philosophy that unifies a lot of different training theories, under the umbrella of good old fashioned, caring coaching and a dedicated, motivating and supportive community.

Essentially none of it is CrossFit and all of it is CrossFit…… how’s that for leaving it vague…?:)


Hang Power Snatch + Power Snatch (+OH Squat)

Strict Pullups

E2M x 10, building



10 Goblet Walking Lunge

30m Waiters Walk e/arm

AMRAP in 7 mins


Hang Snatch + Snatch

E2M x 10, building


10 Power Snatch 45/30kg

10 Strict Pullups

50 Double unders

3 rounds

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